Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
On Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is administered as part of the Ashley National Forest. Flaming Gorge itself is an area along the Green River (south of the city of Green River) that supposedly John Wesley Powell is supposed to have named when his rafting expedition passed through this area of spectacular red-rock cliffs back in 1869. In 1964, work on the Flaming Gorge Dam on the Green River was completed and the canyon upstream started filling with water. Today, the Flaming Gorge Reservoir has about 370 miles of shoreline as it runs 91 miles upstream from the face of the Flaming Gorge Dam. And that shoreline varies from big flats beside the water to shoreline cliffs that rise up to 1,500' high. Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area (about 207,363 acres) surrounds and allows public access to the Flaming Gorge Reservoir (42,020 acres, when full).
This is the northeast corner of Utah, southwest corner of Wyoming. This is a large water oasis in the heart of dry, high-altitude red-rock desert countryside with incredible scenery and many recreational opportunities. 43 campgrounds with more than 700 individual and 27 group sites. That doesn't include the opportunities for more privacy that come with "primitive" camping...
The biggest visitor center on the property is probably the Red Canyon Vista and Visitor Center on the south side of the lake in Utah. It's on a spur road heading north off of Utah Highway 44 and offers a great overlook down through one of the narrow red-rock canyons rising above the reservoir. But if you just want to get to the water, there's five full-service marinas available on the Utah half of Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. The Utah record lake trout (51 lb. 8 oz.) was pulled from Flaming Gorge. The fishing for kokanee salmon, smallmouth bass, brown trout and rainbow trout is also excellent.
From Interstate 80 at Green River, take Wyoming Highway 530 south to Manila, Utah. Go left on Utah Highway 44 to US Highway 191. Go left and head for Interstate 80 about 5 miles east of Green River: the Flaming Gorge-Green River Basin Scenic Byway of Wyoming and Utah.
On the Green River below the Flaming Gorge Dam is some of Utah's finest trout-fishing and whitewater rafting water. You'll need a Utah license for the fishing but for the rafting: no permits or commercial guides needed. You can rent whatever you want close by, get it in the water and then just have at it... Good luck and have fun!
Sheep Creek Bay on Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area area map