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The top 5 hiking trails in Flaming Gorge you have to experience

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When it comes to enjoying the outdoors, few things are as enjoyable as hiking in Utah. Between the five national parks, countless canyons and many state parks, it’s easy to find a trail near you. But one of Utah’s best kept secrets is chock full of views and trails waiting for you to experience.

Welcome to Flaming Gorge.

It’s easy to find a trail for every skill level with trails that vary from, short, leisurely hikes, to lengthy, rugged multi-day backpacking excursions. 

To help you plan your next visit to Flaming Gorge, consider adding these five hikes in Flaming Gorge to your itinerary.

Little Hole Trail

Little Hole Trail is a classic family favorite that is sure to please . A seven-mile course that runs along the banks of the Green River below the Flaming Gorge Dam, this trail is popular for a reason. It’s easy to follow with very little elevation gain and is perfect for all experience levels—including kids.

On this hike, the highlight is the river. Not only will you see fisherman catching from the blue-ribbon section of river that holds nearly 14,000 fish per mile, but you’ll also see otters, ospreys, and many other types of wildlife along the banks and overhead.

Spend an hour, or spend all day, this trail is satisfying no matter how far you choose to go.

Canyon Rim Trail

If it’s your first time to the Flaming Gorge area, or if you haven’t hiked the Canyon Rim Trail, this trail is a must. A moderate and gentle trail, Canyon Rim is 4.5 miles one-way and can be done by almost anyone. 

On Canyon Rim Trail, the highlight is the geology and the wildlife. The sleek red cliffs of Red Canyon encompassing and standing in contrast to the royal blue water of the reservoir are stunning. 

Bighorn sheep scaling the canyon walls and birds riding the thermals above the canyon are common sights, making Canyon Rim a hike you won’t forget.

Dowd Mountain Trail

Looking for a little exercise? Check out the Dowd Mountain Trail. This scenic, 10-mile round trip begins at a subalpine plateau and descends to the shores of the reservoir, 1,600 feet below. 

During the course of the Dowd Mountain trail, you’ll see expansive landscapes, you’ll pass through fields of wildflowers and sage, and you’ll end with views of crimson rock surrounding the water. When you arrive, feel free to take a dip in the reservoir. It’s a great way to stay cool on a warm day — especially before the long ascent to the trailhead.

Bear Canyon Bootleg Trail

Hikes in Flaming Gorge are best done at sunrise and sunset, and the Bear Canyon trail might be the ideal place for that golden hour. In fact, the Bear Canyon trail has some of the best views at sunset. The gorge got its name because of the red rock that looks like a gorge set aflame in burning sunset. 

Bear Canyon is an easy trail that can be done quickly. It is open to bikes and is only about three miles round trip over mostly flat terrain, making it an attractive trail for the whole family to enjoy.

A relatively smooth dirt road will take you through forests and meadows, all while providing some of the best eye candy of the reservoir. 

Tamarack Lake Trail

With all the great trails at your disposal around Flaming Gorge, the Tamarack Lake Trail is a great, easy introduction to the area. Completed in two hours or less, this leisurely hike will take you over a well-maintained 2.8-mile loop through a forest of pines near Jessen Lake. 

Views of mountain peaks reflecting in the lake are breathtakingly beautiful. As a bonus, there’s good fishing at both Tamarack and Jessen Lakes, so be sure to bring your gear.

Flaming Gorge really has it all. Cliffs, gorges, creeks, and lakes are all a hike away and are probably waiting for you with the promise of solitude and respite from the world.

Whether it be hiking, fishing, mountain biking, bird watching, or trail running, you’ll soon understand why Flaming Gorge is the hidden gem of Utah outdoors. Plan your visit to Flaming Gorge today.