Flaming Gorge local info?

Some 15 years ago, I went with my family and took a tour boat of the southern part of the reservoir. I think it was out of the Sheep Creek bay area…?

Vaguely remember there was a really good kayak shop there. They do rental and trips. Can’t seem to find any reference of any shops any more. All the info I can find are more for casual kayakers doing 2 hour lily dipping. Are there still good kayak shop there that I can get my fit but less experienced buddy a decent rental?

Moreover, I’d like to get more specific information on longer trips involving overnight camping out of our kayak. Like, where to set up camp that are quiet and peaceful as a base camp to do 1 or 2 day touring of the “canyons”.

Just as important, where NOT to go to avoid unruly motor boats. Or getting dead-ended in canyons with vertical cliffs with no place to get out.

I paddled around Flaming Gorge 16 years ago. There weren’t any kayak shops or concessions that I remember, and anyway things might have changed since then.

Almost the entire reservoir gets powerboats with big engines. I saw motors the likes of which I had never even seen on other Rocky Mountain motorhead-crazy reservoirs. Powerboats that would fit roaring offshore around, say, Miami. That doesn’t mean you never have peace there—you just can’t count on it.

Campsites were iffy. A two-mile or so stretch (I think it was called The Red Wall) is sheer, high rock walls that are spectacular to see but offer zero places to bail out. Other canyon stretches were equally off-limits to land access.

You had BETTER get maps and study them beforehand. The Fish-n-Map one is good for kayaker scale and gives other water-related info. But it doesn’t have a lot of detail on the shoreline or lands, so you will need another map with topo and vegetation shown.

Also, any notations on water depth vary depending on (DUH) water level, as is typical of western reservoirs.

If I remember correctly, there’re sections of the shore on the main channel that one can easily pull the kayak ashore and set up camp. But that’s guaranteed to be noisy with constant boat traffics.

I’m looking for better potential camping locations than the obvious. Ideally, I’d like to camp in a lesser traveled side channel. Obviously it can’t be sheer walls.

Have you paddled much in canyon country reservoirs?

As stated previously, the water levels fluctuate. This affects suitable camping spots, and especially so in side arms.

You MUST prepare yourself with maps, study, and flexibility. Plan A might become Plan B or Plan C, and the distances to paddle to your next campsite could require longer days than estimated.

Also, expect that the loud boats could be in side canyons, too. I remember going through a sheer-sided, narrow, winding area when two of the giant-motored speedboats came through. They seemed to go there to get the most bang for the buck, decibelwise. It’s like the Harley boys gunning their engines in downtown Golden or Morrison, or when going under the bridge at Coors. Maximum noise generation in those topographies.