Although Flaming Gorge Reservoir is a well-known fishing spot, the recreational possibilities do not stop there. Its clear waters, lush forests, diverse trails and campgrounds draw nature lovers and sportsmen alike.
Flaming Gorge straddles the Wyoming and Utah border, and the lake stretches for 91 miles with 375 miles of shoreline. Flaming Gorge Lake is enclosed by brightly colored canyon walls surrounded by the forested hills of Ashley National Forest. Petroglyphs are visible on many of the rock walls, and suggest that the Fremont Indians hunted game here. Wildlife still abounds – osprey nests are easily spotted on the rocky pinnacles, and bald eagles are often seen overhead. Antelope frequent the Lucerne area, and the campground (Antelope Flat) is aptly named.
The elevation of 6040 feet keeps summer temperatures at a moderate 80 degrees. For those who have considered a houseboat vacation at Lake Powell but don’t enjoy 100+ temperatures, Flaming Gorge is a perfect alternative. There are five full-service marinas on the lake, and houseboat rentals (Lucerne Valley Marina) cost considerably less. Floating cabins and small boat rentals are available here as well. Rafting is a popular activity, beginning on the Green River, just below the Flaming Gorge Dam, and ending at Little Hole or Browns Park. The 7-mile stretch of moderate whitewater does not require permits or commercial guides, and rental rafts are available.
The Red Canyon Vista and Visitor Center (off Highway 44) sits high on the canyon, offering amazing views of “the Gorge” 1400 feet below and the distant Uintah Mountains. The Canyon Rim Trail is a 9-mile roundtrip hike that begins at the Visitor Center and runs the edge of the canyon, with great lookouts over the Gorge. Bighorn sheep are often seen in Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, and from there a scenic drive through pine and aspen forests leads to beautiful Spirit Lake, high in the Uinta Mountains. The canyon itself is a remarkable geological display. Fossils of flora and fauna from prehistoric times are frequently found in the area.
The Flaming Gorge Dam, completed in 1964, has a visitor center with exhibits, video programs, and guided tours that are offered May through September at no charge. Camping is available nearby, with our favorites being the Firefighters Memorial Campground and the Cedar Springs Campground, both in nearby Dutch John. Scenic boat tours depart from Cedar Springs and Buckboard Marinas. For those with their own boat, Hideout Boat-in Campground (named for Butch Cassidy’s hiding spot) is a popular campground. A trail from Carter Creek on Dowd Mountain off Forest Road 94 leads to Hideout, and though it is scenic, it is a strenuous, 10-mile roundtrip hike.
For a taste of how remote this area once was, visit the Swett Ranch. The homestead was begun in 1909 by Oscar Swett, who worked the 397-acre ranch for 58 years. He and his wife raised nine children there. The ranch has a house, several cabins, workshops, sheds, and the horse-drawn equipment used to work the ranch. The Forest Service has preserved and maintained the ranch since 1970. Guided tours are offered Thursday through Monday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There is a 7-mile loop for hiking, and it is a relatively easy trail since a downhill path begins just past the ranch.
When you are ready to begin planning your custom trip to Flaming Gorge, contact us and we’ll make it happen!