The Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is an excellent choice for a lengthy summer vacation because endless outdoor adventures await in this picturesque region. This vast wilderness area spans across the border of Utah and Wyoming, so this destination is far enough north for the daytime temperatures to be comfortable even when the mid summer heat is at a peak. This mountainous region has a deceptively high elevation, so the nights are guaranteed to be comfortably cool too. Because Flaming Gorge is located in such a remote area, it is best to make the most out of the experience and setting up a basecamp is the best way to go for a lengthy stay. There are many developed campgrounds that offer reservations along Highway 191 and Utah State Road 44, while the National Forest dispersed camping is an option as well.
Red Canyon is the main attraction on the Utah side of this vast recreation area and the access points for this deep canyon are easy to spot on SR 44. There are also a few roadside overlooks and picnic areas that will help to become familiar with the high elevation terrain. Information kiosks are located in these places, which provide facts concerning everything from the historic Powell Expedition to identifying the local flora and fauna, so be sure to check out these roadside attractions. The signage for the Red Canyon Welcome Center, lodging and campgrounds is easy to spot and by following this side road pathway, the Red Canyon Rim Trail can be found too.
The pine forest is thick on top of these mountains, so for those who have never seen Red Canyon before, the first view will be a total surprise. The Rim Trail only meanders a short distance along the canyon near the visitor center, but every step will reveal a breathtaking new view. There is protective fencing along the cliff's edge, which makes this area safe for small children, so the entire family can enjoy the experience. The cliff edge views of Red Canyon from the Rim Trail are nothing less than spectacular, so be sure to bring a good camera along for the short trek. There are also a few more scenic overlooks to be found west on SR 44 before crossing the Wyoming State Line, which are simply amazing to see, so be sure to tour this end of the park too.
Wildlife can be spotted everywhere in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area and one of the best places for viewing Bighorn Sheep is near the west end of the canyon, before the road turns north to Wyoming. In this area the slopes going to Red Canyon descend more gradually, so it is easier for big animals to get to the water. Bighorn tend to drink water in the morning or evening hours, which is good to keep in mind. If there is little other traffic, quietly cruising along SR 44 at a leisurely pace is the way to take the Bighorn by surprise too, as can be seen in the photos. Bighorn Sheep are a classic symbol of the wild west and there is nothing better than taking home a trophy photo to share back home! For this reason, the majestic Red Canyon at Flaming Gorge simply must be experienced at least once in a lifetime!
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