Kayaking Flaming Gorge

Sheep Creek, Flaming Gorge, UT

In the Summer of 2008, we decided to take a family vacation to Flaming Gorge. The two older kids had other things to do, so it was my wife and I, and our three other sons. Some of us had been to Flaming Gorge for scouting trips, but we had never kayaked there. A few years ago I made a wooden kayak from a kit. The company that made the kit is called Pygmy out of Port Townsend, Washington. I made the Arctic Tern 14, which is a fourteen foot  touring boat. I was amazed at how much faster and agile it was than plastic boats. We also have a plastic tandem and a couple singles. The plastic boats are all recreational kayaks.

Pygmy Arctic Tern 14
The Arctic Tern at Flaming Gorge

We spent three days camping, kayaking, and swimming at the Sheep Creek area of Flaming Gorge. Earlier I had read some kayaking trip reports about this area and it sounded like a good place to paddle. We found a pretty rustic campground (no water, but pit toilets) a couple miles from the boat ramp at Sheep Creek.

At Willow Campground

For our best day of paddling we put in at the Sheep Creek marina and paddled around Kingfisher Island. We stopped several times to swim, picnic, and do some cliff jumping. The water was beautiful, clear, and not too cold at this time of year.

Paddling around Kingfisher Island
Taking a swimming break

Cliff jumping
Scared to jump
The road between our campground and Flaming Gorge

We had a very enjoyable three days. Car camping as pretty cushy as you can pack all kinds of good food, have large tents, and comfortable (i.e. heavy) sleeping pads. One night we drove into Manila and had dinner at the only diner in town. It was pretty disappointing.

This was a great place to paddle. The motorized boat traffic was pretty minimal, the red cliff scenery was spectacular, and there were great camping options all around. We would like to return and do a multi-day kayaking trip.


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