Flaming Gorge Country in northeastern Utah is famous for outdoor activities and scenic drives. With its 91-mile long lake, canyons cut by the meandering Green River, and the majestic High Uinta Wilderness, the diverse landscape here is first rate. Anglers try for trophy rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout; hikers enjoy over a hundred miles of scenic trails. Boaters will find uncrowded waters, and rafters can take exciting whitewater adventures as well as mellow family float trips. And with more than 600 campsites, you always have a place to stay. The best place to begin your visit is at the Flaming Gorge Dam Visitor Center. The large parking lot can accommodate all sizes of RVs, and the picnic area couldn’t be prettier.
The visitor center is on the small size, but it’s big on providing information and interpretive displays. An entire wall walks you through the construction of the Flaming Gorge Dam. This concrete thin arch structure has a maximum height of 502 feet and a crest length of 1,285 feet. The first bucket of concrete was poured on September 18, 1960, and the first power was generated three years later. The Dam was officially dedicated on August 17, 1964 and was built by the Bureau of Reclamation to provide water storage and hydroelectric power. The water storage helps agriculture producers downstream during times of drought and helps minimize flooding during extremely wet years. Guided tours provide a free and fascinating look deep inside the Dam and power plant.
Once back outdoors, take the Dam Point Trail that begins on the north side of the parking lot. Following along the water through juniper-pinion vegetation, this easy stroll is filled with great scenic views. Before you hit the road again, take advantage of the covered picnic tables and restrooms. Even if your stop is brief, it’s easy to see why Flaming Gorge is one of the most visited recreational sites in the United States.
IF YOU GO:
Flaming Gorge Dam Visitor Center
5995 Flaming Gorge Dam
Dutch John, Utah 84023
Open daily, year-round. Free guided tours of the dam are offered seasonally. For more information, call 435-885-3135 or visit http://www.flaminggorgecountry.com/Flaming-Gorge-Dam-Visitor-Center
From Vernal Utah, travel north about 45 miles on US Hwy 191. The dam is located 43 miles north of Vernal, Utah. From Vernal take State Highway 44 to highway 373, head north to the dam. From I-80 in Rock Springs Wyoming, travel about 70 miles south on US Hwy 191.
In addition to writing about her travels, Denise Seith is also a treasure hunter and loves a good latté. She and her husband own an online gold prospecting and metal detecting equipment store found at GoldRushTradingPost.com