Hyrum State Park


Early Settlers

Mormon settlers founded the area of Hyrum, which is located in Cache Valley. Hyrum is named after the brother of the founder of the Mormon Church. Before the dam was built in 1939, Mormon settlers had to dig a nine-mile canal from the Little Bear River for farm irrigation in Hyrum.

Years before the Mormon settlers arrived in the valley, General William H. Ashley stopped near what is now the edge of Hyrum Reservoir and cached $150,000 worth of furs, mostly beaver, in the winter of 1825-26. They were stored in a cave dug in a clay bank until they were retrieved the following summer. This history resulted in the French-Canadian name of Cache Valley and Cache County.

To further your history knowledge of Cache Valley visit American West Heritage Center

Dam Construction (1934)

Hyrum Dam and Reservoir are located on the Little Bear River just south of Hyrum City. The dam is a rolled earth and rockfill structure containing 352,000 cubic yards of earth fill, 62,000 cubic yards of rockfill, and 13,000 cubic yards of riprap and gravel blanket, for a total of about 430,000 cubic yards of material. The construction period was 1934 to 1935. The date of closure (first storage) was April 1, 1935, and the first water was made available in July 1935. 

For more information on the construction of the dam visit US Bureau of Reclamation

State Park Designation (1959)

After being a popular recreation destination for nearly 25 years the recently created Division of Utah State Parks that was established in 1957 sought for stewardship of the area to protect and maintain this community resource. In 1959 Utah state parks doubled from three to six, one of which was Hyrum State Park, originally called Hyrum Lake State Park. The name of the park was shortened to Hyrum State Park as that is what it is commonly referred to. Hyrum State Park was the first park opened with natural recreation being its primary focus. Other State Parks had only been designated for either historical significance or natural preservation. Park Rangers are the stewards of state parks and carry out the division’s mission.

To this day Utah State Parks Mission Statement is: “To enhance the quality of life of Utahns and visitors by preserving and providing natural, cultural, and recreational resources for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.”

In the 1950’s prior to being designated a State Park Cache Valley residents discarded old vehicles on the north end of the reservoir to mitigate erosion. The frames of those old cars can still be seen when the water recedes in the fall. In the 1970’s Hyrum State Park expanded, opening up what is referred to as the Beach Area. This area was meant to diversify recreation opportunities in the park. Many upgrades have happened since the park was first established, such as adding more docks, cabins, power and water hook-ups in the campground, etc. Recreation trends change and Park Rangers try to accommodate all types of users with minimal recreational conflict.

To learn more about the history of Hyrum State Park, please set up an interview with your local Park Ranger.

Additional Resources