Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area – “Firehole Canyon” campground
Wyoming * http://www.wyomingtourism.org/overview/Flaming-Gorge-Recreation-Area/32475
* Elevation: 6,300 ft. * Open Seasonally May 12 – September 18 * $14 per day – Single * $28 per day – double * Maximum Stay Permitted (days): 16 * 7 water spigots * hot showers * pay phone * 40 sites * Swimming * Boating * Fishing * Camping * Hiking *
We weren’t sure what we were in store for since we wandered off I-80 from Rock Springs forest road located from Highway 191 south at 1:00 am in search for a affordable camping location with showers. Morning demonstrated a most fabulous hidden and unpopulated camping spot that I’ll be sure to visit again, many times. I’m not even sure where I found this special little gem in my GIS/Topographic map collections, as its not highly advertised. This however is the closest National campground to I-80 south of Green River. Also the first of many outlets into the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. Its a bit of a jaunt off the interstate trail, but not unbearable, even at 1:00 am. At 1:00 am, we rolled in, did the courtesy drop-payment pole, and quickly found a campsite. There were only about 2-4 other camps staying there out of the 40 spots they have available. Not bad for a thursday night in the heart of summer, with a lake. Campsites overlook the Green River and the chimney rock formations in the horizon. Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area consists of 201,000+ acreas of land surrounding the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The Reservoir which is fed by the Green River is 91 miles long with over 375 miles of shoreline ranging from low flats to cliffs more than 1,500 feet high. The River and Reservoir are a very popular fishing destination amongst Americans as it offers trout fishing year round. Plenty of boat ramps located close to all the campgrounds make fishing very easy. The area has alot of history as well as alot of petroglyphs can be found in the region from Native Americans who lived in or passed through the area hundreds of years before European contact. The Crow named the Green River “Seeds-ka-dee-a” which means “prairie hen”. Prior to 1848 this area belonged to Mexico but was annexed to the U.S. after the Mexican War. Other areas of the park were once posessed by France, Spain, Britain, Mexico, and the early state of California and the Mormon state of Deseret. The area was combed and explored by Major John Wesley Powell who mapped the area initially and gave it the name “Flaming Gorge” during his expeditions down the Green and Colorado Rivers in 1869 and 1871. The area is speckled with amazing geological formations from pinnacles to chimneys, various stratum layers, and formations accumulated from silt and mud as early as 40 million years ago. The area is also populated with many floral and faunal fossils from the prehistoric times. The campground is on the north end of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Firehole Canyon with a single loop on a sagebrush covered flat above the reservoir in the shadow of the North and South Chimney Rock landmarks. Each campsite is clustered next to another with a shared ramada and side-by-side parking, picnic tables, fire pits/grills, and some scattered Russian Olive trees. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 7/1/09-7/2/09.
- DIRECTIONS: In Rock Springs, WY, at intersection of Business Loop I80 (Dewar Dr.) and I80, take I80 west 2.8 miles to exit 99 (US Rt. 191 south). Turn left onto Rt. 191 and go 13.9 miles to Firehole Can. sign (County Rt. 33). Turn right at sign onto Rt. 33 and go 9.9 miles to Firehole sign. Turn right at sign and go 0.5 miles to campground.
Art Gallery of Time
“Major John Wesley Powell named the Flaming Gorge and tributaries such as Little Firehole Canyon for the brilliant red sandstone exposed in the canyon walls. Embarking from what is now Green River, Wyoming in specially designed river dory boats, Powell completed two voyages down the Green and Colorado Rivers through the Grand Canyon. The first in 1869, was largely exploratory. The second, in 1871, collected scientific data and produced the first maps of the upper Colorado drainage system. Powell’s works formed the basis for much of what geologists now know about the region. The Green River through Flaming Gorge is a classic example of a superimposed stream – it flows across the eastern end of the Uinta Mountains, rather than draining away from the mountains, Geologists believe that when the last major regional erosion cycle began several million years ago, an extensive landscape nearly level with the present crest of the Uintas dominated southern Wyoming. As erosion removed softer rock, the river level was gradually lowered, cutting a precipitous canyon into the resistant core of the Uintas. The result is the spectacular Red Canyon of the Green River, which chronicles earth history. Rocks in the very near area are young, only about 49 million years old. Travelling down tributary canyons, such as Little Firehole, and continuing downstream towards Flaming Gorge dam, older rock formations contains a wide variety of fossils, ranging from dinosaurs to primitive sea life. Near Flaming Gorge Dam, the dark red sandstones and shales of the pre-Cambrian Uinta core form the near vertical canyon walls. These rocks are nearly 1.1 billion years old.” [marker along the highway outside of Flaming Gorge firehole campground]