This Blue River in Utah Looks Like It’s From a Dream

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A paddle resting on a paddle board in aquamarine waters

Do you ever see a picture online and think it’s too good to be true? That’s what many visitors to the Blue River in Utah are trying to find out.

The cerulean waters have caught many people’s attention over social media, and now visitors are embarking upon adventures of their own to experience the beauty they saw online.

But is this gorgeous blue river a dream or a reality? Let’s find out!

What Is the Blue River in Utah?

The Blue River in Utah is actually a canal, not a river. It’s a drainage ditch that looks like a dreamy river with iridescent light blue water.

Because of the water’s color, many assume it’s a gorgeous place to swim and paddle. In reality, it’s not for recreation at all. It carries wastewater. The minerals it carries away give it that stunning blue color.

That color started attracting people to a river that was not a river. Today, it has become somewhat of a tourist spot. While it’s pretty understandable to want to capture the stunning scenery, is it worth the trip when it might not be legal to visit?

Traveler’s Tip: Instead of swimming in the Blue River, check out this geothermal Blue Lake in Utah that is perfect for scuba!

Where Is the Blue River Located?

The Blue River is in western Utah, just east of the Bonneville Salt Flats. The Flats are a unique landscape within Utah’s desert, drawing tourists worldwide due to its expansive white salt crust.

With people visiting this rare landscape, it’s easy to see why you’d want to experience unique beauty. While Blue River does offer photographic moments like the Salt Flats, it’s not a river, and it’s not a place for tourists.

A photographer sets up his tripod in the expanse of white salt at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
Bonnevile Salt Flats

What Are Potash Canals?

What we like to call the Blue River in Utah is an artificial canal system for industrial purposes. These systems are the Potash Canals.

Intrepid Potash, a local company, leases and manages the canals, along with many nearby ponds, to extract minerals from the brine. 

Is the Blue River Water Toxic?

While the water in Blue River isn’t said to be toxic, its purpose is not for recreation. The water is a brine mixture from the nearby Salt Flats flowing to Potash mineral ponds.

The beauty of the water may attract you, but knowing a bit more about what the water is should deter you from wanting to jump in.

Can You Swim in the River?

Some will still want to experience a swim or a paddle in the crystal blue water of the Blue River in Utah. It may not be toxic, but we’d still think twice about swimming here.

It’s not appropriate for boating, paddling, or swimming because these waters were never for recreational purposes. Because of this, there could be unknown hazards due to unstable ground in the water and the berms that surround the canals. 

Additionally, can you swim in a river or a canal that doesn’t have water? A local Utah news channel has stated that Potash drained the Blue River Canals since the initial images surfaced on social media.

Can You Get a Ticket for Swimming in Utah’s Blue River?

Another reason for not swimming in the Blue River is that many canals are not on public lands. Part of the canals are on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, but parts are also on private property. You will come across several “No Trespassing” signs.

Because this is not a place for recreational use, there is no parking, and no trails lead to Blue River. The only parking options are on the side of a major interstate, which is illegal and dangerous.

So while you may not get a ticket for swimming in the canal, it is still possible because you could be on private property, and the Utah Highway Patrol can give you a ticket for illegal parking. Think twice before you head off to witness this blue beauty.

This Dreamy River in Utah Is Not What You Think

This river isn’t a river, and it may no longer contain the water that caused this commotion in the first place. However, because of the surreal beauty of the surrounding white sands and the aquamarine water (that may or may not be there) leading into the mountains, does it matter?

Isn’t a mystery of beauty, natural or not, worth checking out? That’s something you’ll have to choose. But one thing is for sure, the dreamy Blue River in Utah is not what you think.

Do you think visiting Blue River is worth the risk?

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