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5 cold-weather activities Utahns love in Flaming Gorge

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When it comes to adventure, Utah does it better than almost anywhere else. With mountain ranges, deserts, lakes, reservoirs, red rock landscapes, and more, Utah has almost anything you could want for some time outside.

If you’re looking to get out this winter and enjoy some fun activities with the family, Flaming Gorge should be at the top of your list. Aside from breathtaking landscapes, scenery, wildlife, and hundreds of miles of untapped wilderness, Flaming Gorge has a major advantage over other outdoor areas: It’s quiet!

A healthy distance from the crowds of some more well-traveled Utah locales, Flaming Gorge keeps to itself, making it one of the best-kept secrets for winter fun.

Here are five activities you’ll love this winter at Flaming Gorge.

Snowshoeing

If the intensity of skiing or snowboarding isn’t your thing, consider getting out in the thick of it by snowshoeing. It’s a great way to enjoy the scenery and still get a good workout in.

According to the University of California’s Berkeley Wellness site, “Snowshoeing can provide a good aerobic workout, often more strenuous than walking. Walking in snowshoes at 3 miles per hour burns about 350 calories in an hour (a little more than regular walking at that pace); snowshoeing at a brisker pace should increase this to about 500 calories.”

Some studies, Berkeley Wellness states, have even found snowshoeing to burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour!

Flaming Gorge has some of the best views and wildlife in the state to enjoy while snowshoeing. From herds of elk to solitary moose, and other large mammals, set against the backdrop of trees, the gorge, and reservoir, snowshoeing in Flaming Gorge will be one of the most memorable activities you do all winter.

Cross-country skiing

Winter is a beautiful season, but it does disrupt fitness and recreation routines due to shorter days, cold temperatures, and inclement weather.

However, If you’re looking for something active to do that moves at a faster pace than snowshoeing, look no further than cross-country skiing at Flaming Gorge.

Exploding in popularity in recent years, The Daily Skiier notes that from 2013-2016, there was over a 40% increase in nordic skiers in the United States, with that rate continuing to climb into 2020.

Most of the trails in Flaming Gorge are easily accessible, just off the Uintas National Scenic Byway. Many of the most popular trails are groomed regularly, leaving no excuse for not enjoying the trails, wildlife, and scenery Flaming Gorge has to offer.

Plan your snowshoeing or cross-country ski trip by downloading the Flaming Gorge Cross-country Ski Trail Map here, and by getting a copy of the Winter Recreation Guide here.

Ice fishing

If you’re into fishing, then you already know how great a spot Flaming Gorge is, even year-round. Stuffed with trout, salmon, catfish, and bass, Flaming Gorge is an excellent spot to get your ice-fishing game on.

While you’re at it, feel free to compete in one of the many ice fishing tournaments that take place each winter. The annual Burbot Bash is an especially popular tournament packed with contests, presentations, and prize money.

If river fishing is more your thing, the Green River is fishable every day of the year, as are most fishing guide services.

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean your fishing has to end, and Flaming Gorge has some of the best winter fishing in the state.

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Snowmobiling

Did you know that Flaming Gorge has over 250 miles of groomed and ungroomed trails, ranging from 7,300 to 10,000 feet in elevation? From mountain passes to alpine meadows, to backcountry trails, Flaming Gorge is a snowmobiler’s dream.

Check out some of the best snowmobiling trails in the area here.

Whether you choose to snowmobile, snowshoe, or cross-country ski through Flaming Gorge’s diverse scenery, you’re in for an unforgettable winter adventure.

See some dinosaur bones

While being out in the snow is fun, it’s always nice to warm up and spend some time inside with the family.

Offering free entrance during the off-season, Dinosaur National Monument is a great place to take the family for a little break. Showcasing the most abundant collection for Jurassic period dinosaur bones in the world, the monument is sure to please children and adults alike.

Dinosaur remnants can also be viewed at the Utah Field House of Natural History in Vernal, as well as the WWCC Natural History Museum in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

With so many activities available in an unexplored mass of land, don’t wait until summer to visiting Flaming Gorge. Check out their Winter Recreation and Trail Guide to start planning your trip today.