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Jordanelle Reservoir is one of the newest reservoirs in Utah. The Jordanelle Dam was constructed on the Provo River by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1992, and the reservoir filled to capacity in 1995. Its construction caused a few headaches - highway US 40 had to be moved, and two towns were flooded. Both Hailstone and Keetley, Utah were completely submerged by the construction of the Jordanelle Dam. The reservoir's benefits include water for irrigation, municipal, and industrial use, public recreation, fish and wildlife preservation, and flood control.
The Jordanelle Reservoir is located along highway US 40 between Heber City and Park City, home of the annual Sundance Film Festival. The reservoir has created a population boom in a once dying area, and is definitely the recreation mecca in this part of Utah. The relocation and expansion of US 40 also revitalized the local ski resort, boosting winter tourism to the area.
The Jordanelle Dam is owned by the Bureau of Reclamation, and operated by the Central Utah Water Conservancy District. The Jordanelle Reservoir functions as a holding station for two other major bodies of water - Utah Lake and Strawberry Reservoir. The reservoir's stored water is delivered to Salt Lake County and northern Utah County by way of the Provo River and a series of aqueducts. Jordanelle Reservoir's shoreline is publicly owned with unrestricted public access. The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation, under an agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation, manages the reservoir's recreation and public use.
Although Jordanelle Reservoir plays a critical role in the area's water storage and delivery, it is also an immensely popular recreational destination. Jordanelle State Park opened its gates in 1995 and allowed "official" access to the reservoir. Until this time, fishing was not permitted. Amazingly, when it did open, over 60,000 Rainbow Trout were caught in just the first week! Today, there are still plenty of Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Brown Trout and Cutthroat Trout to go around. To keep these species well stocked in the reservoir, there is a limit on the number of fish that can be caught. Check with local authorities for the current limits.
Since the reservoir is over 3,000 acres, there is plenty of room for boating, water skiing, sailing and swimming. Hailstone Recreation Site (named after the submerged town) is the main entrance to Jordanelle Reservoir, and has a very nice beach for swimming and picnicking. There is a modern playground, two boat launches, and a marina. The marina rents boats and sells tackle for the fishermen in your group. There is an RV-accessible campground at Hailstone, and many of the sites have both electric and water.
Rock Cliff Recreation Site is the second recreation area at Jordanelle Reservoir. It features a nature center and a campground (no reservations). The Perimeter Trail connects Rock Cliff State Park to Hailstone State Park; it is open to hiking, biking, horses, and ATVs. Additional recreation in the area consists of several hiking/biking trails, ATV trails, and cross-country skiing trails. Soldier Hollow is the former Olympic venue that is now used as a golf course in the spring/summer and a cross-country skiing, tubing, and snowshoeing course in fall/winter. The Heber Valley has much to offer, and Jordanelle Reservoir is close to just about all of it.
Jordanelle Reservoir is quite frankly a gorgeous reservoir. At depths over 200 feet, the water is cool and inviting on a hot summer day. The mountain peaks in the distance create a serene backdrop for fishing or sunbathing. The pleasant campgrounds are the perfect spots to set up for a week or so and just relax. The reservoir is so inviting, you'll want to join the local population boom!
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