Utah Lake near Lehi, Utah
Utah Lake is unique in that it is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the West and yet it lies in an arid area that receives only about 15 inches of rainfall a year. The mouth of the Provo River, where it empties into Utah Lake, was undoubtedly a very popular camping place for the early inhabitants of Utah Valley.
In fall 1776, the Dominguez – Escalante party traversed Spanish Fork Canyon and on September 21, climbed a small hill near its mouth and looked down upon the large lake situated in a vast valley. One member of that party, Bernardo Y. Pacheco, reported to his king, “This place is the most pleasant, beautiful and fertile in all New Spain.” From the time of Escalante’s exploration until the early part of the nineteenth century, no accurate records revealing further travel to Utah Lake are available.