Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is located in the northeast corner of Utah and the southwest corner of Wyoming with over 43 campgrounds offering primitive sites to full hookup campgrounds. The area has a nearly 91 mile reservoir with plenty of recreational activities to please everyone. Fishing and boating are a big draw in the area along with camping and hiking in the summer and a host of winter activities such as skiing, snow shoeing, and ice fishing.
Red Canyon Visitor Center and Overlook
The Red Canyon gets its name from the color of the rock when the sun sets on the gorge. The Visitors Center sits prominently on the edge of the gorge with outstanding views to the reservoir below.
Red Canyon Lodge
The Red Canyon Lodge with cabins is close to the Red Canyon Visitors Center and has its own small lake, Greens Lakes. It is a beautiful area and the cabins look quaint and cozy.
Canyon Rim Campground
This campground is run by the Ashley National Forest and is within close proximity to the Red Canyon Lodge and the Red Canyon Visitor Center. It sits along the gorge at about 7,400 feet and is dry camping with no dump station. It is a beautiful setting with great access to the Canyon Rim Trail and stunning overlook areas. The tent sites have the best views! This campground had been our original intended place to stay until we evaluated the roads and decided Lucerne Campground would be easier access with a big rig. BUT we love this campground and do want to stay here sometime in the future.
Swett Ranch is a historical homestead of Oscar and Emma (and their 9 children) at Flaming Gorge with summer tours available. The Swett family began homesteading their ranch in 1909 and continued for 58 years using minimal technology. They depended only on horse and people power. The surrounding scenery is breathtaking and the drive in (off the main road by only a few miles) is stunning.
Flaming Gorge Dam
The Flaming Gorge Dam on the Green River opened in 1964 and creates the 91 mile Flaming Gorge Reservoir which extends from Wyoming to Utah. The cold water dumping into the Green River has created a 28 mile “Blue Ribbon Trout Fishery”. The reservoir is also known for its fisheries. The dam has a Visitor Center and guided tours along with a lovely day use area and picnic tables.
John Jarvie Historic Site
John Jarvie was a Scotsman who came to America and built a ranch and a trading post in 1880 along the Green River. He stored and sold goods to all who traveled in this area including Indians, fur trappers, and outlaws. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are known to have frequented this area. During its peak the ranch had a trading post, post office, cemetery, and river ferry. Jarvie was robbed and murdered in 1909. Today the ranch is a historic site with a museum and many of the original buildings which can be toured.
Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area
This area, also known as the Sheep Creek Geological Loop in Flaming Gorge, is about a 13 mile drive though some stunning scenery with geological formations along the Uinta Fault which runs about 100 miles. It is also an area where the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep reside along with miscellaneous other wildlife. We only saw wild turkeys and lots of birds. There are a number of turnoffs along the road as you climb the mountain offering extensive views.
Ute Mountain Fire Lookout
Ute Lookout is on the National Historic Lookout Register and was built in the mid 1930s and is still in use today. The tower is open to the public on several days of the week in the summer. The tower stands 30 feet above the ground, has living quarters, and has a 360 degree view of the Uinta Mountains. As a side note, the Uinta Mountains are the only mountain range in the Western Hemisphere that runs east and west.
Spirit Lake Scenic Byway
The Spirit Lake Scenic Byway is a 17 mile dirt road which dead ends at over 10,000 feet at Spirit Lake. It is a fabulous drive and is well maintained during the summer months. There are countless dispersed camping sites along the way along with turn offs to lakes with additional campgrounds. This is one of our favorite areas. It doesn’t get much better than this!
Browne Lake is just off the Scenic Byway by just a few miles and has a campground (Browne Lake Campground) along the edge of the lake. It is gorgeous! It sits at just over 8,000 feet and has canoeing and trout fishing opportunities along with miles and miles of hiking, biking, ATV, and horse trails.
Long Park Reservoir
Long Park Reservoir is another great dispersed camping and fishing area off the Spirit Lake Scenic Byway. It has a variety of choices for parking your rig, a boat launch, peace, solitude, and lots of fish. It sits at about 8,600′ and perfect for a summer getaway.
Now on to my favorite lake. It is paradise and has one of the best dispersed camping sites I have ever seen. Spirit Lake sits at the end of the Scenic Byway at over 10,000 feet. There is a campground at the end of the road along with a closed lodge which is for sale! Along the road before the campground are more crazy and wonderful dispersed camping areas.