Flaming Gorge

-- Last Updated: Aug-14-09 9:00 PM EST --

Hi. Looking for information about kayaking the southern part, probably out of Sheep Creek, and camping along the shore.

Any recommendations, including weather and wind conditions and best times of year to go, are much appreciated.

Also, is it safe to leave a car at Sheep Creek boat ramp for several days, or are there better places to launch and do so?

Many thanks!


I paddled around it 4 yrs ago
Don’t know how secure your vehicle would be at Sheep Creek. I parked my truck and trailer at Lucerne (I think that was its name), in a chainlink fenced area run by the concessioners. It was locked at night and there was a reasonable fee to park there. You can also park in the regular NPS long-term parking lot, which was free back then.

Flaming Gorge feels like two very different pieces, northern and southern. The southern is more picturesque, with its canyons and colorful rock (not just red sandstone, but also some incredibly striking horizontally-striped black-and-white cliffs). The water is clean and cold. The southern portion does have one long stretch of high vertical walls on both sides where there is NO camping possible, and even getting out to pee would be difficult if not impossible. A little like the Moki Wall in Lake Powell.

The northern portion is mostly low hills with sagebrush and potentially strong winds. I noticed that a section of the east side had some severely undercut cliffs, confirming what someone had told me: you don’t want to be on that side when crazy west winds are whipping up the waves.

I went almost exactly 4 years ago, and there were a handful of idiots, all of them in the southern section. (The northern section was all fishing boats.) One big family group ruined what would have been a beautiful, perfect, peaceful night in a gorgeous setting. On another night, people were shooting fireworks in the big rock amphitheatre–can’t really blame them because it make a perfect echo of every sound. At least the fireworks pretty much ended by about 10 pm. There were also people running what must be the biggest-engined motorboats I have ever seen in a pleasure boat. Incredibly loud, and when they ran one of those in the narrow sections, it sounded like two boats for every one of them, literally. I still have not seen boats like those anywhere else, including in the ocean.

Weather when I went wasn’t all that great. The “monsoons” were running late that year, and for the first part of the trip I had t-storms in the afternoon almost every day. Daytime temps were HOT, and most nights I could hardly stand to have the sleeping bag over me. But I think it can also be below freezing at night at this time of year.

Most paddlers don’t seem to know about Flaming Gorge, so you won’t see many there. I saw two canoists and no kayakers. It’s a pretty place, though, and you should see the size of the fish there!

check out the trip reports here on this site, i did your same trip and parked at sheep…

Its safe as anywhere so get over the worry.

Yeah head north on the west side…some good flat camps near an indian flint nap sight. I found a dozen arrowheads on the shore. Plenty of good side trips in and around from there.