Touring the Byway
6 Days / 5 Nights | Gateway City: Rock Springs, Wyoming
We recommend starting your journey in Rock Springs, a former stopping point for early pioneers and the outlaw gangs who roamed the West. Discover what life was like “in the old days” at the Rock Spring Historical Museum, get a breath of fresh high desert air in Bunning Park, and see one of the largest collections of dinosaur skeletons in the area at Western Wyoming Community College. Spend your first evening relaxing in the pool at a comfortable hotel.
On Day Two, you’ll travel to Green River, the launch site of John Wesley Powell’s Geographic Expedition. Learn of the town’s mining history at the Green River Visitor Center and Sweetwater County Historical Museum, and walk in Powell’s footsteps at the Expedition Island National Historic Landmark before retiring for the night. Begin your drive along the Flaming Gorge Scenic Byway on Day Three as you cross into Utah and make your way to Manilla, a quiet community with breathtaking views of the Ashley National Forest. Follow the signs for the Sheep Creek Scenic Byway, a bonus byway and a 13-mile loop that winds through sandstone cliffs and twisted rock formations.
View the Detailed Itinerary below to see the full route, which is complete with dining, shopping, and lodging recommendations!
The place where Powell launched the Powell Geographic Expedition to complete a scientific and cartographic assessment of much of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Now a nature area, waterfowl and other birds nest in the tall grasses and bushes that grow throughout the habitat. A paved walking path provides 360-degree views of the Green River and the stunning mountain landscape.
In 1909, 16-year old Oscar Swett and his wife moved to a one-room cabin on an isolated, high-country ranch to begin a lifetime of homesteading. Just over 50 years later, his ranch had expanded to include 18 buildings on nearly 400 acres, operated almost exclusively by horse- and person-power. The location, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places is a testament to the self-sufficiency and ingenuity of Utah pioneers, where visitors can take a tour and discover what it took to make a living so removed from civilization.
Travel back in time at this interactive museum that reveals eastern Utah’s geologic past and natural history. Through hands-on exhibits and activities, visitors can learn all about dinosaurs, dig for fossils, and participate in paleontology field programs. Exhibits include fossils, artistic representations of life forms, examples of ancient and recent Native American life in the Uintas, a dinosaur garden with 17 full-size replicas of prehistoric animals, and rocks over 600 million years old.
Towering 502 feet above the Green River, the Flaming Gorge Dam, built to provide water storage and hydroelectric power to the area, created the 91-mile long Flaming Gorge Reservoir. An easy stroll to the edge of the dam provides fantastic riverside views, and exhibits at the Visitor Center include a 3D model of the dam, films that tell the history of Flaming Gorge.
Descend nearly a thousand feet in just over 16 miles and become intimately acquainted with the multicolored parks and valleys formed by erosion in the Green River Valley.