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Flaming Gorge Reservoir: Complete Guide

Known for its bright-red canyon walls, unmatched fishing opportunities, and wide range of recreational activities, Flaming Gorge Reservoir is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
itiswild.com Flaming Gorge Reservoir Guide
Pastel mountains and green hillsides along the shores of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Source: dreamstime

Flaming Gorge Reservoir is impounded by the Flaming Gorge Dam, completed in 1962 along the Green River. 

Located within the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, this extensive region spans both Utah and Wyoming, with 360 miles of shoreline and over 90 water miles. 

These lands also reside within Ashley National Forest. The region includes mountainous areas in Utah that have canyons and forests, as well as a desert region of Wyoming with low hills and shrubs.

The Red Canyon Visitor Center in Utah is an excellent place to get impressive views of Flaming Gorge. Full facilities are generally open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and observation areas are open year-round. 

The Flaming Gorge Reservoir near the Wyoming Utah border
Source: dreamstime


The region received the name “Flaming Gorge” as Major John Wesley Powell noticed the impressive red color of the Uinta Mountains while boating through the gorge in 1869. 

The US Bureau of Reclamation began planning a dam along the Green River in 1958. The nearby site of Dutch John, located east of the dam in Utah, was established as a location to house the personnel involved in the construction and later operation of the dam after it went into service.

The 42,020-acre reservoir began to fill in December 1962. President John F. Kennedy started the first power generation at the Flaming Gorge Hydroelectric Dam in September 1963. First Lady Claudia ‘Lady Bird’ Johnson attended the dam’s dedication in August 1964.

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Wyoming, United Staes. High quality photo
Source: dreamstime


Shared by Utah and Wyoming, this impressive reservoir reveals some of the most beautiful canyons in the area and offers a variety of year-round recreation activities.


  • Swimming is permitted at Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
  • Tubing is permitted.
  • There are designated swimming beaches at Sunny Cove near Mustang Ridge Campground and Lucerne Swim Beach near Lucerne Campground. 
  • Scuba diving is permitted.


  • Boating and water skiing are permitted at Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
  • Both motorized and sailboats are welcome on the reservoir. 


  • Canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and similar activities are permitted at Flaming Gorge Reservoir, including between the narrow canyons that are 1,000 feet deep. 


  • Fishing is a popular year-round activity at Flaming Gorge.
  • Kokanee salmon and smallmouth bass are popular summertime catches.
  • Rainbow trout and lake trout take the bait much of the year. 
  • Burbots thrive in the fall, winter, and early spring.
  • Winter ice-fishing is permitted.
  • Many alcoves and streams are located in Flaming Gorge for those who enjoy a quiet fishing spot.

Utah State Fishing Records for Flaming Gorge Reservoir:

  • Kokanee salmon (6 lbs. 5 oz., 2015) 
  • White sucker (2 lbs. 8 oz., 1992) 
  • Brown trout (33 lbs. 10 oz., 1977)
  • Lake trout (53 lbs. 15 oz., 2020)
  • Rainbow trout (26 lbs. 2 oz., 1979)

Wyoming State Fishing Records for Flaming Gorge Reservoir:

  • Smallmouth bass (5.94 lbs., 2003)
  • Channel catfish (28.52 lbs., 2017)
  • Kokanee salmon (6.31 lbs., 2015)
  • Brown trout (25 lbs. 13 oz., 1982)
  • Lake trout (50 lbs., 1995). 
Flaming Gorge Reservoir Camping
Source: unsplash



Hiker in Flaming Gorge recreation area
Source: dreamstime

ATV Trails:

Events and Other Activities


  • Bighorn sheep, elk, deer, antelope, and a variety of wildlife are found in the Flaming Gorge area, in both Utah and Wyoming.

Picnic Areas near the Reservoir

Lucerne Marina at flaming Gorge Reservoir
Lucerne Marina – Source: flickr/public domain

Access points

Notable Access Points to Water:

Notable Access Points at Dam Area:

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