This recreation area in southwestern Wyoming and eastern Utah comprises some 201,000 acres of scenic land, which surrounds Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
The reservoir, fed by the waters of the Green River, is 91 miles long with approximately 375 miles of shoreline ranging from low flats to cliffs more than 1,500 feet high.
Flaming Gorge has become nationally known as the "fishing hot spot" of America. The reservoir offers quality trout fishing year 'round. A fishing license from either Wyoming or Utah is required, and a special-use stamp is available for fishing both states.
Huge boat launching ramps, located close to campgrounds, are provided at convenient access points along both sides of the reservoir. Boat rentals, marina supplies and food are available at Buckboard Crossing and Lucerne Valley. Kaleidoscopic better defines the awesome coloration of this desert/reservoir area, for it is truly a land of living color with the many rock formations sculptured through the centuries by wind and water, changing colors and perspective with the varying sun.
One of the most awe-inspiring scenes in the region is Firehole Canyon, south of Rock Springs off US Highway 191. The canyon features chimneys and pinnacles reflecting in the blue water of the reservoir.
Red Canyon Vista and Visitor Center
A major attraction in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is the Red Canyon Vista and Visitor Center. Tourists may travel around the recreation area on a loop road. Highways, WYO 530, US 191 and Utah State Highway 44, connect to offer a complete loop from Interstate 80. The Red Canyon Vista and Visitor Center can be found a short distance from the highway on a spur road. Red Canyon is situated seven miles south of the Wyoming border, but the geographic center of the new 160 mile loop drive is in Wyoming. Travelers may approach the belt tour from either WYO 530 south of Green River, from US 191 west of Rock Springs, or from WYO 414 southeast of Fort Bridger.
History of the Area
Petroglyphs have been found, giving evidence that American Indians lived in, or passed through, the area hundreds of years before the first Europeans arrived. To these natives, the Green River was known as the Seeds-ka-dee-a, the Crow Indian word meaning prairie hen.
Prior to 1848, part of the Flaming Gorge area in Wyoming belonged to Mexico, but was annexed to the United States after the Mexican War. Other parts of the area have been claimed, at one time or another, by France, Spain, Britain, Mexico, the early state of California and the Mormon state of Deseret. John Wesley Powell, a one-armed Army major and professor, mapped the area initially and named Flaming Gorge and other land features on his way down the Green and Colorado Rivers in 1869 and 1871.
The entire region is fascinating to both the amateur and serious geologist. The sedimentary rock formations of the Flaming Gorge area resemble layers of a cake, one stratum upon another. The formations accumulated from silt and mud on the bottom of a great fresh-water lake, which occupied much of what is now Wyoming during the early Tertiary period, some 40 million years ago. Fossils of flora and fauna from these prehistoric times are frequently found in the area.