6.9 miles (plus 8.9 miles by car or bicycle)
3 3/4 hours
220 ft. loss
boat ramp parking area (start): 5,780 ft.
Little Hole: 5,560 ft.
Very popular, well maintained trail. Because of its popularity
with fishermen the Little Hole Trail has been designated
as a National Recreation Trail.
Spring, summer, fall. There is snow on the trail during
the winter months. For current conditions call the Flaming
Gorge Ranger District, Ashley National Forest, at (801)
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, near Vernal
Little Hole trail is an exceedingly scenic walk that winds
through the bottom of Red Canyon on the north shore of
the Green River. The canyons brilliant colors so
impressed John Wesley Powell on his expedition down the
Green River in 1869 that he named it the Flaming Gorge.
A century later, in 1964, the Flaming Gorge Dam submerged
most of Powells spectacular canyon with water, but
a small section of it, Red Canyon, still remains below
the dam to remind us of how the Flaming Gorge got its
In the past thirty years,
since the creation of the Flaming Gorge National Recreation
Area, the Forest Service has developed Red Canyon as a
premier sport fishing area, and you are likely to encounter
dozens of fishermen along the Little Hole trail. If you
crave solitude this is the wrong hike, but, for me, watching
the fly fishermen ply their skill is an added bonus. Few
rivers offer a more perfect setting for fishing than the
Green, and Red Canyon is kept abundantly stocked with
rainbow and brown trout. Trout as large as 22 pounds have
been caught here.
This hike can be done in
either direction. The west-to-east route described here
is best if you are hiking in the afternoon, as the sun
will then be at your back. If, however, you are planning
a morning hike, you can avoid having the sun in your face
by starting at Little Hole rather than the dam.
the boat ramp parking lot below Flaming Gorge Dam a sign
will direct you to a small footpath, about 0.2 mile long,
that descends to the boat ramp. You will find the Little
Hole trailhead just beyond the boat ramp on the downstream
side. The scenery starts almost immediately, as the red
shale and sandstone cliffs of the Mancos Formation soar
on either side of the river to a height of about 600 feet.
For the next four miles the elevation of the canyon rim
steadily increases, finally reaching a height of 1000
feet above the water.
A series of small rapids
breaks the monotony of the clear water, with whimsical
names like Rollercoaster, Skinny Dip, and Mother-in-Law.
The rapids are usually not particularly hazardous, but
it is fun to watch the boaters negotiate them. After the
first two miles there is a noticeable decline in the number
of fishermen, but their numbers begin to pick up again
along the last two miles of the trail. Finally, after
six miles, the river emerges from Red Canyon and widens
somewhat as it approaches Little Hole.
provided by David
Day of utahtrails.com. Click here to order his book
Favorite Hiking Trails.