Mapping and dating of surficial deposits in the Bear Lake drainage basin were undertaken to provide a geologic context for interpretation of cores taken from deposits beneath Bear Lake, which sometimes receives water and sediment from the glaciated Bear River and sometimes only from the small drainage basin of Bear Lake itself. Analyses of core sediments by others are directed at (1) constructing a high-resolution climate record for the Bear Lake area during the late Pleistocene and Holocene, and (2) investigating the sources and weathering history of sediments in the drainage basin. Surficial deposits in the upper Bear River and Bear Lake drainage basins are different in their overall compositions, although they do overlap. In the upper Bear River drainage, Quaternary deposits derived from glaciation of the Uinta Range contain abundant detritus weathered from Precambrian quartzite, whereas unglaciated tributaries downstream mainly contribute finer sediment weathered from much younger, more friable sedimentary rocks. In contrast, carbonate rocks capped by a carapace of Tertiary sediments dominate the Bear Lake drainage basin.