Category Archives: Garden City

You might have seen the Bear Lake Monster if…

Did you see something in the water? Could it have been the Bear Lake Monster?

The first report of the Bear Lake Monster came from J.C. Rich in 1868. His article claims that four men, along with six women, were returning home from Fish Haven, traveling north, when halfway to St. Charles they saw something in the water about three miles away.

But descriptions of the monster sightings have varied greatly. You may have noticed strange happenings on the lake yourself. In fact, you may have seen the Bear Lake Monster with your own eyes if:

YOU SAW something that looked like a SERPENT…or an ALLIGATOR…or a WALRUS…or a HORSE…or a PIG!

  • It’s been described as “A serpent like animal, water spurting out of its head, with the capabilities of moving about on land with short muscular legs.”
  • In July, 2010, Salt Lake Magazine quotes that “The creature’s head is alternatively described as a be-tusked walrus or a toothy alligator, both bearing giant eyes, set widely apart.”
  • It has also been described as being “…covered with fur like a seal with a head similar to an alligator.”
  • Or “…with a mane like a horse, large eyes a foot apart and about the size of person’s head.”
  • But it’s also got a head “sloped down to a point, giving it the shape of a monster pig head minus the ears.”

YOU SAW something between 30-feet and 300-feet long.

  • One witness “distinctly saw the sides of a ‘very large animal’ judged to be not less than 90 feet in length.”
  • Another account put the monster “at least ninety feet long – er – at least forty.”
  • Yet another report said the length of the monsters “varied from 30 to 80 feet.”
  • In 1889, the Jake Miles description in the Salt Lake Herald said it “appeared at least 300 feet in length, and for size would discount any antediluvian sea monster that ever rode the main.”

YOU SAW something that was FASTER than a locomotive…or at least a HORSE.

  • They say it is awkward on land but can swim, as one account has it, “faster than a locomotive.”
  • In his story, S. E. Schlosser warns, “But in the water—watch out! It can swim faster than a horse can gallop—makes a mile a minute on a good day.”

YOU SAW something with very SMALL legs…or DOZENS of legs.

  • According to the Idaho State Journal in March, 1972, Mr. S. M. Johnson said “It had short sturdy legs, a serpentine like tail, ears that looked like bunches on the side of a head almost like a horse’s except for extended nostrils and a forked tongue that flicked in and out as it shifted its head along.”
  • Another witness said “Its arms seemed to come out on either side of its head where the ears naturally would be.”
  • Someone else reported that it had “an indeterminate number of legs.”
  • Oh, and one person said “The hind legs were long and bent like that of the kangaroo.”

YOU SAW something with GREEN skin and RED eyes…or with BROWN skin and BLACK eyes.

  • In a 2004 sighting, the Deseret News reported that Brian Hirschi said”…it had “really dark, slimy green skin and deep beet-red eyes.”
  • In an 1889 sighting, the Salt Lake Herald reported that Jake Miles “discerned a long, black, snakey form…the round, fiery eyes, seemingly a foot in diameter, were deep set and well back.”

YOU SAW something EAT A SMALL TREE.

  • In 1870, Marion Thomas observed the following regarding the monster: “A long, thin, blood-red tongue darted out, wrapped itself several times around a huge clump of bushes, and before I could tell it, the snapping of roots was heard, the enormous jaws opened and the bushes disappeared down its hideous throat.”

So did you see something unusual? Something green or brown or fast or long? No matter what you saw, one thing’s for sure—there’s a chance that it was indeed the Bear Lake Monster.


Birth of a monster.

Frankenstein is a monster.

He’s a monster created in a book by Mary Shelley about bringing the dead to life through a gruesome experiment (first published in London, 1818 and France, 1823).

“But is Frankenstein real?” you might ask.

Perhaps you should ask one of a thousand kids trick-or-treating this year who chooses to masquerade as the Frankenstein monster. Or maybe you should measure the level of fright and curiosity generated by the book, the classic movie and numerous spin-offs. You’d have to conclude that whether he ever actually existed in the flesh, he is certainly real—and therefore exists.

About the same time period, across the wild west of North America, another monster story was being told near Bear Lake, on what is now the Utah-Idaho border.

The first record of whites seeing the lake is from 1818 when French-Canadian trappers working for the North West Company followed the Bear River upstream to the valley. Later, between 1825 and 1840, many mountain men, including Jedediah Smith and Jim Bridger, met on the south shore with Native Americans to swap goods and stories. One story that was told was about the legendary lake monster. (Source: Wikipedia)

This is the first known telling of stories about a lake monster in Bear Lake. Of course, the now infamous Bear Lake Monster would produce many more stories in the years to come. The most notable stories were made famous by settler Joseph C. Rich, the first published in 1868 in the Deseret News.

The Indians say there is a monster animal which lives in the Lake that has captured and carried away Indians while in the Lake swimming; but they say it has not been seen by them for many years, not since the buffalo inhabited the valley. They represent it as being of the serpent kind… (published 8-5-1868)

Like Frankenstein, this monster is alive and well today. Whether it actually swam through the depths of Bear Lake a century ago is irrelevant. Some descriptions have it at 40 feet in length, others at 200 feet. It has been reported to be both a brown or green color. The legs are described as just a few smaller legs to legs that covered its entire body. It’s been compared to a serpent, an alligator, a snake, and a walrus.

But it’s not how you picture the Bear Lake Monster, but the fact that you do that makes it exist. This blog is dedicated to telling the stories of the Bear Lake Monster and other fascinating stories surrounding Bear Lake.


“Very large animal…not less than 90 feet in length.”

“…they were attracted by a “peculiar motion or wave in the water” about three miles away. The lake surface was not rough but showed the effects of a light wind, and one in the party claimed he distinctly saw the sides of a “very large animal” judged to be not less than 90 feet in length.”

Coming in the fall of 2012, watch for the official BearLakeMonster.com. Also be sure to follow us on Facebook at: Facebook.com/TheBearLakeMonster.