Better by Byway

Flaming Gorge-Green River scenic route.

Kris Millgate Jul 1, 2017

If your idea of getting away also includes getting away from traffic, take the scenic route to the Gorge and the Green. Flaming Gorge-Green River Basin Scenic Byway starts near Rock Springs, Wyoming, and heads south on U.S. Highway 191, offering 100 miles of splendid views all the way to Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

Development is scarce on this byway so start with a full belly and a full tank of gas. And bring a jacket. Weather rushes in quickly in this remote basin where time seems to stand still and you may endure all four seasons, plus wind, on a summer road trip.

The drive takes you from one corner of the Cowboy State into another corner of the Beehive State within the open country of sagebrush flats and red rock plateaus. Watch for pronghorn antelope, mule deer and wild horses. Viewing horses may require a turn toward Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop, but pronghorn and deer are often within sight of the highway. In fact, they may be trying to cross the road, so stay alert.

Be sure to use some of the turnouts as viewpoints — especially the ones on the west side of the road where the canyon cocoons the Green River above Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Sit on the hood of your car or the tailgate of your truck with a pair of binoculars and glass the desert canopy. It’s amazing how much wildlife runs and flies by when you take time to stop moving.

Sunset drives are best for this byway. Start three to four hours before dusk. That puts you at Flaming Gorge Reservoir when it’s glowing in the brilliance of last light as the coyotes yip good night.

Photographer's Note

All wildlife and viewpoints were photographed directly from turnouts and stops right on the Route 191 Scenic Byway.

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