- EAT + SLEEP
- TRAVEL TOOLS
Flaming Gorge Country checks all the boxes for outdoorsy types: unprecedented beauty, few crowds, big fish and lots of trails. Centered on the massive Flaming Gorge Reservoir (which stretches across 42,000 acres on the Wyoming-Utah border), this rugged landscape continues to be one of the West’s great hidden gems. And it is aptly named — the fiery-colored buttes and canyon walls that decorate this corner of Wyoming are a sight to behold.
With so many things to do and sights to see, we recommend the following three-day itinerary to get you started.
Begin your journey in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where you can visit the Rock Springs Historical Museum to learn about the area’s past. Proceed west out of Rock Springs on I-80, then swing south on U.S. Highway 191. As you drive through open plains covered in sagebrush, look closely for herds of antelope.
Roughly 13 miles south of the interstate, turn right onto Little Firehole Road/Firehole Canyon and drive into the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. The road ends on the reservoir where you will find a boat ramp, Firehole Canyon Campground and spectacular views of North and South Chimney Rocks. Watch the sun cast golden light upon the buttes then brace yourself for an evening of spectacular stargazing.
You may be inclined to stay put for Day 2, and who could blame you? The Firehole Canyon section of Lake Flaming Gorge is scenic, and the boating and fishing opportunities can sustain many outdoorsy types for days on end.
At Dutch John, you’ve almost reached the reservoir’s dam, and your options for recreation are numerous, particularly if you are an avid angler. Within the deep waters of Flaming Gorge Reservoir, record-size lake and brown trout can be caught, and the stretch of water along the Green River downstream of the dam is legendary — both for its goliath-sized trout and its scenic beauty. Within the immediate vicinity of Dutch John, the recreation area offers 12 different campgrounds and an assortment of private lodges.
For your final day, swing along the south end of the reservoir on State Highway 40. Be sure to stop at the Red Canyon Visitors Center to take in one of the area’s most breathtaking vantage points of the canyon and the shimmering lake below.
Just five minutes south of the town of Manila, you’ll find the Sheep Creek Geological Loop, featuring the Uinta Fault which runs for more than 100 miles along the north slope of the Uinta Mountains and is clearly visible in the extremely twisted rock layers along the upper part of the loop. When you're done driving the 13-mile loop, head back over the Wyoming border to complete your journey in Green River. Watch kayakers play in the town’s whitewater park, or go for a bike ride along the city’s greenbelt pathway.
To help guide you on your trip, here is a map of the Flaming Gorge and surrounding areas, or the Flaming Gorge Scenic Byway map.
Visit www.FlamingGorgeCountry.com for more information about recreation in the area.