Flaming Gorge, Utah is a beautifully rustic slab of land, sprawling over two states (Utah and Wyoming), and featuring a multitude of recreational activities. First time visitors will quickly realize why so many of their fellow campers have returned numerous times. Not only is the scenery world class, but there are accommodations for every class of camper: lake front cabins, RV parks with amenities, and a plethora of rustic paradise spots for boondockers looking for some peace and quiet. A word of caution: while motorhome and full sized towable visitors will find plenty of easy access and well maintained roads, there are also a seemingly endless series of trails and tracks best left to those in Jeeps or smaller trailers with suspensions built for jouncing.
Roughly at the point where Colorado, Utah and Wyoming meet is the town of Dutch John, home of Dutch John resort. Dutch John offers just about every outdoorsy activity you could yearn for plus some and is situated next to the large (sixty-five square miles of surface area!) Flaming Gorge dam and reservoir. The surface of the reservoir stays cool year-round, and is known for world class fishing, as well as a refreshing place to go for a dip after a long day on the trails.
The resort provides a wide range of rental opportunities, including fishing boats, jet skis, house boats, and even fishing equipment. While rentals on site can lighten your load en route, they can be pricey for those looking for daily use. Luckily, three full-service marinas on the banks of the reservoir keep prices somewhat competitive and also provide courtesy launch ramps for those with their own boat.
Choices of campsites range from campgrounds with all the amenities and organized activities, to isolated private coves for those with solar power and generators. While you can’t throw a rock without hitting an RV park in the central southern parts of Flaming Gorge, reservations during busy times are recommended. Most of these offer nightly passes in the $50 range, and typically allow grilling and controlled camp fires.
For those looking for a more rustic (and less expensive) experience, you can head towards the Uinta mountain range, which lies along the eastern region of the Gorge and provides rougher terrain and opportunities for free-range camping. Once again, make sure your vehicle and/or towable is up to the task.
Dramatic changes in elevation (up and down), as well as jagged rocks seem to be the biggest challenge. A word of caution: We have heard that attempting to navigate a typical 5th wheel along the eastern rim can be a hair-raising experience for the novice camper. For those outfitted for off-road travel, you will be well rewarded. Even at its worst, the topography in most places provides frequent flat patches of rock for camping. Some areas are known for brambles that can make for some uncomfortable hiking, but you’ll quickly learn to identify which areas to avoid.