Winter in Flaming Gorge Country
Top Ways to Experience the Season
Flaming Gorge Country’s natural beauty and its summer hiking, biking, boating and world-class fishing can't be beat. But what you might not know is that when the reservoir ices over and snow blankets the buttes, the high desert landscape completely transforms and a whole new adventure awaits.
Experience it for yourself with this two-day winter weekend itinerary in Flaming Gorge Country, complete with a scenic drive, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and, of course, ice fishing!
Friday Night: Settling In
The best places to set up your base are in Rock Springs or Green River, the closest towns in Wyoming to Lake Flaming Gorge. They offer a range of lodging and dining options, and you can pick up any supplies you need, like fishing gear, there, too. Check into your accommodations, and sit back, relax, and get some rest in preparation for a weekend of Flaming Gorge Country adventure.
Saturday Morning: Scenic Flaming Gorge Drive
Your Flaming Gorge weekend begins with a scenic morning drive along the western side of the gorge. From Green River, take WY-530 South to UT-44 East and then drive north on US-191 to Rock Springs. Along the way, you can soak in the views at some of the region’s most scenic places. Be sure to stop at the Lucerne Valley Marina, the Sheep Creek Overlook, the Dowd Mountain Overlook, the Red Canyon Visitor’s Center (arguably the most beautiful spot on the entire route), and Little Fire Hole Canyon.
This 75-mile drive takes about 3 hours if you drive straight or all morning if you spend some time at these scenic vistas. Be on the lookout for deer, elk, moose, foxes, coyotes, eagles and hawks, all commonly seen along these highways.
There are plenty of year-round scenic drives around Sweetwater County and the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, but be sure to check road conditions before setting out to explore!
Saturday Afternoon: Cross-Country Skiing or Snowshoeing
The afternoon is all about playing in the snow. When you arrive at Flaming Gorge Resort, enjoy a leisurely lunch and then head to the resort’s store for cross-country ski rentals. Once you’re all geared up, it’s time to hit the trails. Consider the resort’s Bear Canyon Bootleg Trail, a scenic 3-mile loop that goes to the Bear Canyon Overlook and back, or try one of the many other local cross-country ski/snowshoeing trails.
If you’d rather snowshoe, head to Red Canyon Lodge, 6 miles west on UT-44, where you can rent snowshoes and try the picturesque Canyon Rim Trail. Either way, you’ll have another opportunity to see winter wildlife. From the herds of elk to solitary moose, large mammals are common sites along the snowy trails.
After you’d had your fun in the snow, you should still have time to see the spectacular Flaming Gorge Dam (just 4 miles east of Flaming Gorge Resort) before the sun sets. Then continue along US-191 to Interstate 80 and return to Rock Springs or Green River for dinner and a perhaps a drink.
If you have your own cross-country skis or snowshoes, head back to the Wyoming side of the reservoir for the most secluded trails and the best opportunities to encounter wildlife.
Sunday: Ice Fishing
Now that you’ve taken in the views and tromped through the snow, you’re ready for the weekend’s main attraction: ice fishing. From mid-December to Mid-March, the Flaming Gorge Reservoir offers some of the best ice fishing anywhere. You’ll find record-breaking lake trout, rainbow trout, kokanee salmon and smallmouth bass, as well as burbot in the lake.
For the best fishing on the reservoir, we recommend three places:
- On the Green River arm of the gorge, set up your gear near Firehole Canyon Campground, reachable from the end of FR-106 off US-191.
- On the Blacks Fork arm, fish Halfway Hollow at the end of FR-050 off WY-530.
- In the Confluence area, at the end of FR-012, also off WY-530.
Plan to spend a chilly yet relaxing day on the scenic lake punctuated by the thrill of reeling in some potentially big catches. To make the most of your adventure, read our guide to world-class ice fishing in Sweetwater County
Be safe! Dress warm, bring water and supplies, and always tell someone where you're fishing. Be sure to check out the Wyoming Game and Fish Department website for local ice fishing regulations before you go.
When the sun sets and you’ve taken stock of the day’s catch, it’s time to head home or back to your hotel. Or you can keep the fun going with some night fishing. Burbot are most active for the first few hours after dark. Either way, you should have some Flaming Gorge fishing stories and memories from the weekend to last you until your next visit.
Check out our calendar of events before your next visit to see if you can compete in one of our local ice fishing contests!