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Secrets of the Gorge

The Roads Less Traveled

Dowd Mountain

Scenic drive, awesome overlook with picnic sites & restrooms, great hiking/biking loop trail and a source of outlaw tales…

Located about 12 miles south of Manila off Utah Hwy 44, Dowd Mountain is often overlooked as visitors rush to more well-known Flaming Gorge locations. USFS road #094 is a maintained dirt/gravel road from the highway climbing gently for about 8 miles to one of Flaming Gorge’s best overlooks – with views of both Utah and Wyoming portions of the lake. Rich in wildlife, the main road has several spurs that beckon for further exploration and lead to great dispersed camping sites.

The mountain also features one of the best intermediate hiking/mountain biking loop trails in Flaming Gorge. The 11 mile trail is a mixture of single and double-track with an exciting roller coaster downhill finish.

The mountain is named for Cleophas Dowd, one of the earliest settlers in the then very remote area of Flaming Gorge. While written history on Dowd is difficult to find, he is reported to have moved to the area to escape a shady past and carried a gun with several notches on it. He raised the finest horses in the area, on the mountain that now bears his name. In fact, these horses were so good, that they were reputed to be the stead of choice for Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch Gang. (Outlaws always seek a faster horse than the posse!) Dowd’s Ranch is said to be a secret part of the Outlaw Trail and some stories have the Sundance Kid working for a time on Dowd’s Ranch. Known as a hard man, he was murdered by his own ranchhand in 1898. It is said that the Sundance Kid wanted to ride in revenge but Butch talked him out of it. His grave site is located along the Sheep Creek Geologic Loop, near his former ranch.

Camping on the Green River

Experience an overnight rafting/fishing adventure!

The Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam is justly famous for world-class flyfishing, rafting & daily guided fishing trips, but there is more to offer for those who seek adventure. 19 river campsites exist starting from about 1 mile below Little Hole to 1 mile below Red Creek. Six of these sites are available for reservations on the National Campground Reservation System (, while the remainder are on a first-come first-serve basis (there is a sign-up board at Little Hole for these sites). These sites include a table, firepit, and tent pads. Packing in a port-o-potty is required.   Most anglers never get to see the wonderful evening caddis hatches on the river that are common in the summer months. Most of our fishing guide outfitters offer such a guided overnight fishing adventure.

Henry's Fork Wetlands

Waterfowl Birding Area, Picnic Site & Trail...

This new Waterfowl and Wetland Enhancement Project is located on the Utah/Wyoming border where historic Henrys Fork flows into the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. It is intended to improve nesting and migration habitat for ducks and other waterfowl. The project includes some 27 acres of ponds, 51 acres of shallow wetlands and 300 more acres of riparian habitat along the Fork only 3 miles from Manila. A short nature trail with interpretive signs helps visitors explore the area. Read more about this great birding area in our Attractions section where you can download a brochure on the Wetlands.

Free Fishing along the National Scenic Byway

Red Canyon Lodge Lakes ...                                            

Red Canyon Lodge offers more than just scenic lodging and dining to Flaming Gorge visitors. They also have a host of on-site recreation, including free fishing for all visitors! Right in front of the restaurant is a Free Kid’s Fishing Pond, available to any children 12 and under. Across the road from the Lodge is West Greens Lake, a scenic byway interpretive site with paved parking, picnic sites and a short nature trail. This private lake is managed by Red Canyon Lodge and is privately stocked with feisty Brook & Tiger Trout. In 2003, the Lodge worked with the Utah DWR Habitat Council to install a fully accessible fishing pier into the lake. Since West Greens Lake and Kids Pond are private waters, no state fishing license is required! The Lodge offers these -catch and release only- stocked lakes to all visitors at no charge. (Note: East Greens Lake in front of the Lodge Cabins is also well stocked with large Kamloops Rainbow Trout and is catch & release only, but is $5/day for non-cabin guests)

Solitude in the High Uintas

Good backpacking with no crowds…                      

Yep, sounds hard to believe that there are easily accessible backcountry lakes in the High Uintas that aren’t overrun with boy scouts in July and August. While that scenario is common in some places, the eastern end of the Uinta Mountain range in Flaming Gorge provides a whole different picture. Destinations like Daggett Lake, Wyman Lakes and Teepee Lakes offer great fishing, short hikes of less than 10 miles and, often, a great deal of summer solitude! Trailheads to these areas are located off the Spirit Lake Scenic Backway (don’t forget to try fishing all those mountain streams you pass along the way)

Fall Kokanee Salmon Run

Brilliant Red Salmon at a highway bridge...

Beginning around mid-August and continuing through October is an annual spawning run of Kokanee Salmon out of Lake Flaming Gorge. Visitors can easily stop and view these magnificent huge salmon at the Sheep Creek viewing area, just a few miles south of Manila on UT Hwy 44. Large adult salmon, turned fiery red, return to Sheep Creek (where they were born) each fall, to spawn and die. A paved parking area with restrooms, signs and viewing bridge is a featured fall stop along the Flaming Gorge – Uintas National Scenic Byway. Call the US Forest Service NRA headquarters office in Manila for information on when the spawning run has begun each year. (435) 784-3445

Utah Bonefish in Flaming Gorge??

Yes, carp are ugly but great flyfishing...

A new flyfishing trend has been emerging in recent years. Stalking lake shorelines for cruising carp may seem odd, but can be a real fishing adventure. Carp are large and hard-fighting prey that many compare to saltwater flats gamefish (ok, a poor man’s version…). Areas like Jug Hollow, north of Dutch John, are a good place to start. Carp like cruising the shallow waters of weedy estuaries and bays in Lake Flaming Gorge. Warning: these can be high-powered fish and a 7 to 8 weight flyrod is recommended.

Little Mountain

Big Game Haven...

Information & roadway signs to Little Mountain are hard to come by, but its reputation is immense. Located about 40 miles south of Rock Springs, Wyoming off US Hwy 191 and along the eastern side of Lake Flaming Gorge, sportsmen consider this area to be one of the best big game hunting spots in the west. Millions of dollars have been spent on habitat restoration in this remote area. The varied habitat of Little Mountain supports thriving herds of trophy Mule deer and Rocky Mountain elk. It is also home to sensitive populations of native cutthroat trout. If you are into wildlife watching, this special place is worthy of your exploration.


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