Escape to Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
Made of spectacular red canyon walls and arid green forest, the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area spreads across the Southwest corner of Wyoming. The area covers 207,363 acres of scenic landscape and wilderness. The area’s most popular destination is the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, measuring 91 miles long. The second most popular destination is the Green River, separated only from the reservoir by the towering wall of the Flaming Gorge Dam. Both the reservoir and the river provide a plethora of water activities to choose from. So, whether you enjoy spending your time slowly trolling across a large lake or wading in a blue ribbon river to catch the trout of a lifetime, plan your next escape to this colorful corner of Wyoming.
Both the Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Green River are a fisherman’s haven. The reservoir is filled with 30+ pound lake trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon and smallmouth bass. There are several access points to launch a boat on the lake — one of the most popular being Buckboard Marina — located just 25 miles south of Green River. In 1988, a record lake trout (51 lb 8 oz) was caught at Flaming Gorge, and we like to think there may even be bigger fish to yet be caught.
In addition to fishing on the lake, the Green River is famous for its abundantly clear water and endless trout supply. On any given day you will see a fleet of drift boats and rubber rafts floating down the Green River. To purchase a fishing license, stop at Ace Hardware in Rock Springs just before heading south to get to the national recreation area.
Next, tour the Flaming Gorge Dam. The dam separates the reservoir from the river and is one of the largest in the West. It rises more than 500 feet above Green River and provides water storage in addition to hydroelectric power. There is a visitor center located on top of the dam, which provides daily tours down into the dam to view the hydroelectric power plant.
Rent a houseboat and stay for a few days on the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The lake is so vast that you can carve your little piece of paradise and never bump up against another boat. Choose a houseboat that sleeps six people or bring a bigger group and opt for the 12-person houseboat.
In addition to fishing, touring the dam and renting a houseboat, you can go jet skiing, water skiing, swimming, hiking or rafting. There are five full-service marinas along the reservoir to store and launch boats. The lake water remains cool year round, creating a refreshing temperature for water sports.
Camping is one of the most popular activities in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. There are several different campsites available offering scenic views of the lake, river and beautiful canyon walls. It’s a good idea to book a campground at least a month in advance of your trip, especially during holidays and the busy summer season. Reserve your campsite at www.recreation.gov.
Buckboard Marina, located on the northwest shore of Flaming Gorge Reservoir, is one such site offering 66 single-family campsites. Several of the sites provide electrical hookups and most all offer a picnic table, campfire ring and grill. Each site has access to flushable toilets, drinking water and showers.
From I-80 in southern Wyoming, take exit 99 in Rock Springs and head south on highway 191. The Flaming Gorge Dam is located approximately 70 miles from Rock Springs. Or you can always go South out of Green River on Hwy 530.