Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area

Posted On
Apr 15, 2016

In 1869, Major John Wesley Powell, on expedition down the Green River, looked in awe at this magnificent country and pronounced “We name it Flaming Gorge.” Today the brilliant red cliffs are scenic attractions for thousands of visitors annually.

Located in Northeastern Utah and Wyoming, Flaming Gorge NRA encompasses 1,384,132 acres of National Forest - 1,287,909 in Utah and 96,223 in Wyoming – with elevations ranging from 6,000 to over 13,500 feet. Managed by the Ashley National Forest and including the section of the Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam, this rugged wildland stretches from Wyoming high deserts, where herds of antelope play along the lakeshore, to the high alpine forested slopes of Utah's Uinta Mountains. A diverse land of scenic beauty, Flaming Gorge lends itself to many memorable outdoor adventures.  The heart of the National Recreation Area is a 91-mile-long reservoir, created by the Flaming Gorge Dam with more than 360 miles of shoreline, boat ramps, full-service lodges and marinas.  

The NRA encompasses majestic Kings Peak (highest in Utah), Flaming Gorge-Uintas National Scenic Byway and The Green River Corridor, a world-class blue-ribbon fishery. Topographical diversity and intensive land management has served to protect the visual quality of the forest. The existing vegetation patterns and the geological formations further add to the aesthetic value. Boundaries also include the fascinating Sheep Creek Geological Area and the High Uinta Wilderness.

Activities abound - Hiking & backpacking, ATV & Off-Roading, canoeing, SUP & kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking with hundreds of mile of trails developed and currently in the works, rock climbing, river running, scenic byways and wildlife viewing.

But here, fishing is king.  Flaming Gorge Reservoir has a history as one of the west’s greatest fisheries. From the world record German Browns caught throughout the 70’s and early 80’s to the Utah state record lake trout, rainbow and brown, the Gorge is known for holding big fish. In addition to trout species, this reservoir holds numerous trophy fish, including, kokanee salmon, tiger trout, smallmouth & largemouth bass, carp, channel catfish and burbot.

The Green below Flaming Gorge Dam is one of the most renowned trout fisheries in the world. The water from the dam is regulated to maintain an optimum temperature and flow that has created this world-famous blue ribbon trout fishery. Its crystal clear, emerald waters support a large population of trout, with rainbows more common just below the dam and browns dominating downstream.  The browns are wild, produced by natural reproduction, and grown quickly in the fertile water. The average fish is 15-17 inches long. The record, a 29-pound brown, was caught in 1996.

Camping sites are plentiful with 43 campgrounds and over 700 individual and 27 group sites, all spread over nearly 91 water-miles plus countless mountain retreats.  There is also the opportunity to set up “primitive” camping for those wishing a more secluded adventure, or river camps for those extending their adventures for more than a day.

Close at hand are the quaint communities of Manila and Dutch John that offer accommodations, boat launching, rentals, gear, guides and outfitters and all necessary services for visitors. FlamingGorgeCountry.com