Flaming Gorge Reservoir is the largest reservoir in Wyoming, but the dam is in Utah. The reservoir (lake portion) is mostly in WY flooding a large section of high desert north from the UT line to Green River WY. On the Utah border, the high desert gives way to the Uinta Mountains and various gorges that meander down to the dam. The Uinta mountains are unique in that they are a range in the rocky mountains that run east to west instead of north to south There is a distinct difference in the two areas of the reservoir.
We found a National Forest Service campground on the lake, almost on the state line in the Lucerne Valley. We are here for the last week before it closes for the winter and are sharing the campground with less than 30 other campers (they have about 300 sites) and lots of Pronghorn and I mean lots.
This is really a great campground, approx. 300 sites and a large marina, popular summer get away. The bay that reaches west to Manila, UT flooded the small town of Linwood when the reservoir was flooded. It was situated on the Henry Fork of the Green River and right on the state line of Utah and Wyoming. It is said that a school was built on the line and the children from Wyoming went to the north section of the room and children from Utah went to the south side of the room…
We have visited and been around various reservoirs, but this is the first time I really have thought about what was here before. Flooded towns, communities or just old cabins on the river. And the gorge… The dam is 550 feet high and the deepest point in the lake it over 400 ft. Looking at the red canyon and the flaming gorge (or what is left of them) really made me think. What did it look like when John Wesley Powell first explored the area?? And was it accessible except via running the river??
Now we can drive to these various overlooks, campgrounds and lodges, but could you even see it before?? Or were there roads that followed or reached the river that were flooded with the rest?? Hard to imagine, the dam was completed in 1964 so not really that long ago. Just makes me wonder what lies beneath the surface and what it would look like with a couple hundred tall walls instead of the remaining walls.
Dam lake and bridge
You also have to consider the wild life. This use to be a fast-flowing river whose water levels changed with the seasons and usually froze in the winter. Fish and land animals depended on this water. When it was dammed not only did the land animals habitat change, but the fish were now in a complete different environment from swift moving shallow river to lazy very deep lake.
The lake now has salmon. Not sure where they came from or how (I thought they were saltwater) but they live here and even swim up river on Sheep Creek to spawn and die after 4 years. We were here just in time to see the spawning. They are kokanee salmon, landlocked sockeye and if lucky after 4 years of life they turn a brilliant red (heads seem to remain gray) and swim upstream to lay eggs/fertilize eggs and die. Short life cycle, but I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t be nice to know when to expect to die…
Also saw some big horn sheep just out of town.
We happen to be here for the beginning of leaf color changes for the fall. Some are brilliant yellows and reds, while others are still green. Really hoping to get to see some good aspen groves changing color. We drove thru a large grove on the way south to Vernal and Dinosaur National Monument, but they were not changing at all. Heading around to the east of the Rockies next week, hope we are not too late.
Nice place for Randy’s birthday and our 28th anniversary, live is really good and we are grateful for each and every moment. Living gratitude!!!
Peace and love