Lucerne Valley Marina
Cedar Springs Marina
Flaming Gorge Dam
WHEN I ASK OTHER BOATERS if they’ve ver heard of the spectacular cruising round Flaming Gorge, most give me a quizzical look. The results of my unsci- entific poll? If you like to experience
hidden gems the masses haven’t yet discovered, mostly
frequented by pleasure boaters, fishermen, and watersports enthusiasts from surrounding states, then Flaming
Gorge Reservoir in Utah fits the bill nicely.
For most of us, our first glimpse of America’s waterways happens
when we’re touring the country by land. One of the initial reasons my
wife Lisa and I downsized to a trailerable Ranger Tug R27 was so we
could visit cruising destinations unreachable by bigger boats. It was
while doing research for our cruise to Lake Powell in 2011 that we
began to read and hear about the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The more
photos we saw, blogs we read, and online research we did, the more
convinced we were that here was a cruising ground not to be missed.
The Flaming Gorge was created in 1964 with the completion of
the 550-foot Flaming Gorge Dam, which spans the Green River in
northeastern Utah. Water was allowed to flood the canyons and valleys, 91 miles to the north-northwest, up to Green River, Wyoming.
The dam was built in order to create hydroelectricity and provide
water storage for the Colorado River Storage Project. The bonus was a
recreational paradise for boaters. The Flaming Gorge Reservoir offers
dramatic canyon walls and rock buttes, similar to the vast scenic
charms of Lake Powell but on a smaller scale, providing a more intimate cruising experience.
We trailered our boat 1,530 miles from our home in Michigan
before we saw the waters of the Gorge. When trailering long distances,
we try to limit our driving, and we were able to break this trip up into
three 450-mile days with a shorter 180-mile day for our arrival and
launch. At the end of each day, we’d retire from a long day’s drive
and pull into an RV park. We’d make reservations once we knew
roughly where we’d land that night. Staying on our boat overnight on
dry land while towing our boat to a designated cruising area is what
we call “boater-homing.” We use Kismet like an RV and stay in RV
parks, state parks, national parks, and on rare occasions, a Wal-Mart
or casino parking lot.
Call it what you will, it makes good sense to us. We have our own
bed to sleep in and have everything we need right in the cabin, along
with a galley for meal prep, and it’s a lot less expensive than a motel.
There are a few challenges. RV parks often haven’t had much experience with trailered boats showing up looking for a “pull-through,” but