Flaming Gorge Nat’l Recreation Area

We drove out eastbound on Hwy. 80 in hopes to hit cooler temps and take in Flaming Gorge. First stop was at the Rock Springs KOA in Wyoming. We wanted to do some recon at and around the Flaming Gorge Reservoir before setting up camp inside the area (after all, it was about a 3 hour round trip drive, not counting all the stops we made). The loop starts at Hwy. 191 at the west end of Rock Springs and pops out at Green River. The scenery was spectacular, even though it was kind of intermittently overcast and cloudy and the temps were mild (70’s). And the bonus, we got to see a few critters, both in AND out of the water.

Home, at the Rock Springs KOA.

Home, at the Rock Springs KOA.

Welcome, to Flaming Gorge!

Welcome, to Flaming Gorge!

Just one of many points overlooking the many valleys of Flaming Gorge.

Just one of many points overlooking the many valleys of Flaming Gorge.

Not quite hoodoos, but there are a few rock "chimneys" around here.

Not quite hoodoos, but there are a few rock “chimneys” around here.

And through it all flows the Green River. I wonder, is that the same Green River as made famous in song by the incomparable CCR?

And through it all flows the Green River. I wonder, is that the same Green River as made famous in song by the incomparable CCR?

Wile E. Coyote, hunting down that elusive roadrunner...

Wile E. Coyote, hunting down that elusive roadrunner…

Looks like a buck convention!

Looks like a buck convention!

$2, up close. (Get it, two bucks?! Hardeeharhar...

$2, up close. (Get it, two bucks?! Hardeeharhar…)

"You looking' at me? What? You looking at ME?!

“You looking’ at me? What? You looking at ME?!

Looky who just popped into view!

Looky who just popped into view!

The fishes here are really hungry...

The fishes here are really hungry…

Bambi taking a break, not too worried about the dumb tourists. "What, you've never seen a deer before?!?!"

Bambi taking a break, not too worried about the dumb tourists. “What, you’ve never seen a deer before?!?!”

Kinda why they named it Flaming Gorge, don't you think?

Kinda why they named it Flaming Gorge, don’t you think?

Looking down toward the bridge near the dam.

Looking down toward the bridge near the dam.

Sheep Creek Bay, from the Sheep Creek overlook.

Sheep Creek Bay, from the Sheep Creek overlook.

Recon completed, we relocated to a National Park campground we found called Mann’s Campground. There were numerous small campgrounds scattered mostly at the southern end (Utah side) of the Gorge, no hookups dry camping but numbered sites and most had pit toilets on site. The feds still charge fees for these campgrounds, and with our Nat’l Parks access pass ($80 per year gets you into the NP’s free) it cost a whopping $6 per night for our home at Mann’s. No extra charge for all the chipmunks running rampant or the stinging harvester ants either! The weather was great the 3 days we stayed here, our solar panels providing all the power we needed without use of the generator. The big bonus was we only had 2 neighbors in the campground, well scattered at that.

Home, at Mann's Campground.

Home, at Mann’s Campground.

Our backyard "creek" at Mann's C.G.

Our backyard “creek” at Mann’s C.G.

Mann's C.G. at a distance...

Mann’s C.G. at a distance…

We got into camp kinda late, so we just chilled for the rest of the day. The next morning it was “up and at ‘em” and off to check out the Flaming Gorge Dam & visitor center, then on to explore the Dinosaur National Monument which takes space in both Colorado and Utah. It was about a 45 minute drive to get to the Utah half of the park where, in the town of Jensen, UT you access the Quarry Visitor’s Center and Exhibit Hall. The discovery and excavation of the dinosaur bones started in 1909 and at the Exhibit Hall you can see lots o’ bones exposed in the rock face.

Just a stopover at the Dam and Visitor Center to see what kind of baitfish they keep on display…holy moly!

Just a stopover at the Dam and Visitor Center to see what kind of baitfish they keep on display…holy moly!

The Exhibit Hall at Dinosaur Nat'l Monument.

The Exhibit Hall at Dinosaur Nat’l Monument.

You can even touch a real bone!

You can even touch a real bone!

"Oh, the thigh bone is connected to the hip bone…"

“Oh, the thigh bone is connected to the hip bone…”

Look at 'dem bones!

Look at ‘dem bones!

Cub Creek Rd. is about 12 miles of roadway meandering through various rock formations and points of interest. It ends at the Josie Morris Cabin. She settled here around 1914 and the cabin standing now she built around 1935. She was alleged to be an associate of Butch Cassidy and an accused cattle rustler.

Some of the many petroglyphs along Cub Creek Rd.

Some of the many petroglyphs along Cub Creek Rd.

These little guys are everywhere here, kinda ties into all the petroglyphs of lizards I guess...

These little guys are everywhere here, kinda ties into all the petroglyphs of lizards I guess…

One angle of Split Mountain where the river actually went through a mountain instead of around it.

One angle of Split Mountain where the river actually went through a mountain instead of around it.

Is it live, or is it petroglyph? OK, this one's live.

Is it live, or is it petroglyph? OK, this one’s live.

The Chew Ranch is one of the oldest in the area, established in the 1880's. It is not park property.

The Chew Ranch is one of the oldest in the area, established in the 1880’s. It is not park property.

They call this "Turtle Rock"

They call this “Turtle Rock”

This one is "Elephant Toes Butte"

This one is “Elephant Toes Butte”

These petroglyphs were done by the Fremont people over 1,000 years ago. Boy did them folks like to take notes...

These petroglyphs were done by the Fremont people over 1,000 years ago. Boy did them folks like to take notes…

Yep, there's lots of them there lizards depicted all over the place.

Yep, there’s lots of them there lizards depicted all over the place.

Hey, there goes another one!

Hey, there goes another one!

They must have been racing lizards for sport back then, eh?

They must have been racing lizards for sport back then, eh?

Josie Morris' cabin

Josie Morris’ cabin

Besides all the niceties on the sign, she also allegedly had time to rustle cattle.

Besides all the niceties on the sign, she also allegedly had time to rustle cattle.

Home, sweet home circa 1935.

Home, sweet home circa 1935.

What, no fireplace insert?!

What, no fireplace insert?!

Heading back out and E/B on Hwy. 40 we came to the town of Dinosaur, CO. Harper’s Corner Rd. took us up about 32 miles to Harper’s Corner, which has a scenic view overlooking the Green River just before it meets the Yampa River and a 2 mile hiking trail down into the canyon. Unfortunately for us, we had Woody with us and the park does not allow dogs on the trails. Oh well, there will be other trails to conquer…There are no fossil bones to be seen on this road, it is all about the scenery with several lookout points as you re-enter Dinosaur Nat’l Monument. We finished the day with some good food and good beer at the Vernal Brewing Co. in Vernal, UT, then returned home to plan the next day’s adventure.

A view from Harper's Corner Rd.

A view from Harper’s Corner Rd.

More from Harper's Corner Rd.

More from Harper’s Corner Rd.

Our next adventure…KAYAKING! We loaded up our trusty Sea Eagle inflatable kayak and hit the water of the Flaming Gorge reservoir. We put in at the Sheep Creek Bay boat ramp, then proceeded to cruise over by Beehive Point near Dowd Mountain and Hideout Canyon. It was a bee-you-tee-full day weather-wise, not too windy, and the water was cool, not cold. We definitely got a “fish-eye view” of the very nice scenery…

"Prepare to set sail, Matey! Hoist the main sail!"

“Prepare to set sail, Matey! Hoist the main sail!”

A shot across the water...

A shot across the water…

Very cool shorelines!

Very cool shorelines!

And off we go, yeah we had to take a gratuitous selfie!

And off we go, yeah we had to take a gratuitous selfie!

Mini grottos all over...

Mini grottos all over…

Is this a good spot to beach it for lunch?

Is this a good spot to beach it for lunch?

Very sheer cliffs...

Very sheer cliffs…

After lunch, we decided to drive the Sheep Creek Geological Loop (also known as the Sheep Creek Loop Scenic Backway). HOLY COW! Very spectacular sights to say the least. And the loop accesses the Spirit Lake Scenic Backway. These are all state maintained dirt roads where high clearance vehicles are not necessary but if they get muddy 4-wheel drive would be nice. We headed off to Spirit Lake and quickly found ourselves going from about 75 degrees and partly sunny to 56 degrees, rainy, and snow still on the ground. Topping that off, part of Spirit Lake was still iced over! There is a small campground and lodge at the lake, but it did not look like it was operational as yet and I would not try to drive the bus there even if I wanted to.

Tower Rock on the Sheep Creek Loop. Uh-oh, I feel another stupid selfie coming on...

Tower Rock on the Sheep Creek Loop. Uh-oh, I feel another stupid selfie coming on…

Some of this stuff is pretty large!

Some of this stuff is pretty large!

Big Spring and Sheep Creek Cave. You have to get permission from the rangers to explore the cave, they have to unlock the grate to let you in.

Big Spring and Sheep Creek Cave. You have to get permission from the rangers to explore the cave, they have to unlock the grate to let you in.

The big hole on the right is the cave, I presume...

The big hole on the right is the cave, I presume…

Oh no, here it is! Selfie with Tower Rock photo-bombing us...

Oh no, here it is! Selfie with Tower Rock photo-bombing us…

Critters critters everywhere!

Critters critters everywhere! On our way to Spirit Lake.

She wasn't too distracted by us.

She wasn’t too distracted by us.

As the temps drop on our way to Spirit Lake...

As the temps drop on our way to Spirit Lake…

SNOW!

SNOW!

And, as usual, we ALWAYS dress for the occasion (and weather)!

And, as usual, we ALWAYS dress for the occasion (and weather)!

Well, back to the bus we went to prepare for another moving day. Our target is Bear Lake in Utah/Idaho. We will see…

About rvrrat520

Recreational wanderers just livin' the dream while we can still get vertical.
This entry was posted in Flaming Gorge Nat'l Rec Area, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Flaming Gorge Nat’l Recreation Area

  1. Tami Soler says:

    This area is more to my liking with the large rock formations coupled with trees and more vegetation. I wished I could have joined you for the kayaking. That looked like fun!

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