Flaming Gorge-Green River Basin Scenic Byway
- DesignationAll-American Road (2021)
- Intrinsic QualitiesNatural, Recreation
- Length150 miles
The Flaming Gorge – Green River All-American Road rides along high desert ridges with views of fifty miles or more in any direction. The road touches lightly on the landscape as it rolls, dips and twists across a dry, spartan, windswept land alongside the emerald water of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The windshield frames a landscape of muted earth tones against a vibrant blue sky. The corridor’s diversity of wildlife ranging from the fossilized remains of prehistoric animals to today’s herds of antelope and wild horses is reflected in the byway’s theme of “Wildlife Through the Ages.”
Story of the Byway
The Flaming Gorge – Green River All-American Road rides along high ridges with views of fifty miles or more in any direction. US 191 and WY 530 touch lightly on the landscape as they roll, dip and twist across a dry, spartan, impossibly big-sky, and windswept land alongside the emerald water of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, splendid fishing and water recreation resource. The "Wildlife Through the Ages" theme informs the visitor's anticipation of the diversity they will experience as the windshield frames a landscape of muted earth tones against a vibrant blue sky.
A drive across this place encompasses the immense blue sky, brilliant white billowing clouds, multi-colored rock, and vast grasslands. The eastern segment of the byway, US 191, has been described as "a driver's highway" that is "an absolute pleasure to drive."
The byway perfectly showcases the virtues of the Wyoming Basin landscape for travelers. Characteristic features of the basin include hogbacks and cuestas, but it is mostly a series of basins (rock layers that have a bowl shape) broken up by low ridges. Far more striking than the ridges, which rarely rise more than 1,000 feet above the surface, are the deep canyons carved in the landscape by millions of years of erosion by streams and rivers originating in the nearby mountains.
As drivers leave Interstate 80 in their rear-view mirrors, the views are unlike most byway routes in the west in that they are continuously broad, allowing visitors to see everything from the comfort of their car. About 30 miles into the drive, the outline of the Uinta Mountains emerges across, not parallel, to the byway roads. The Uinta Mountain range is the highest of the few east-west trending ranges in the contiguous United States, with peaks ranging from 11,000–13,528 feet.
Today the byway offers some of the finest examples of watchable wildlife in the western United States. Roughly 390 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish can be found in the Green River Basin and surrounding mountains. The integrity and quality of the habitat within the byway corridor contribute to the plentiful wildlife, and the viewshed is virtually unobstructed. Sightings of wild horses, desert elk, and mule deer are common and a delight for byway travelers, but Pronghorn "antelope" outnumber people in Wyoming and are the most visible big game species from the road. Eons ago, however, there was a great inland lake, and when the turbulent waters drained away during the Tertiary period, 40 or 50 million years ago, the mixed sediments remained, forming a stratum known as the Green River Formation, valuable today for wonderfully detailed fish and plant fossils.
Recreational opportunities within the byway corridor are vast and dispersed. The Flaming Gorge Reservoir provides an outstanding resource managed as the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. Boating is popular on the reservoir, where the views of multi-colored canyons and spires set against the changing colors of the water are stunning. Fishing in the Green River and the reservoir is internationally renowned.
The natural landscape of the Flaming Gorge - Green River Basin All-American Road is vast with diverse habitat largely unaffected by human actions, which make recreation plentiful and the experience especially pleasurable. But it is the drive itself across the expansive panorama of land and sky that is awe-inspiring.
The Flaming Gorge – Green River Basin AAR includes two north-south roadways that parallel the Green River and Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. The eastern segment is US Highway 191 beginning at the intersection of Interstate 80 near the City of Rock Springs, WY, extending south 51 miles to the Wyoming-Utah state line. The western segment is WY 530 beginning at the intersection of Interstate 80 near the City of Green River, Wyoming, extending south 45 miles to the point where WY 530 becomes Utah SR 43 at the Wyoming-Utah state line.
Points of Interest
Little Firehole Overlook
Scenic view and info about the vivid colors of the rock formations that surround the Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Big Firehole Canyon
Access to camping and spectacular scenery
National Historic Landmark site and park on the Green River
Pilot Butte - Wild Horse Scenic Tour
Scenic loop through high desert with wild horses
Access to Flaming Gorge Reservoir with full service marina
Henry's Fork Wetlands
Short walking trail, interpretation of area plant and wildlife populations, overlooks, picnic area
Lucerne Valley Marina
Largest marina in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area , in Utah.
High Desert Grasslands
Lake Flaming Gorge Turnouts
Many unmarked turnouts on the east side of Lake offers great views of a high concentration of raptors.
Black's Fork River
Tributary of the Green River.
Camping in Outlaw Country
Starting at Mile Marker 500, cross the bridge over railroad tracks and step back in time—this was part of the famous Overland Stage Trail. Continue to Mile Marker 511, stop at the Little Firehole Overlook, then continue on the Big Firehole Turnout to reach the northern most access to Lake Flaming Gorge. Set up camp and enjoy the lakeside.
After a camp breakfast, drive toward Mile Markers 535-537 into Clay Basin, where you can witness raptors and other birds of prey. A few miles further brings you to Minnie’s Gap, the road that leads to Browns Park—a major way station on the Outlaw Trail. Continue on the byway or head back the way you came.
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