My kids and I wanted to learn more about Flaming Gorge Dam. But I was surprised when the tour guide said, “Welcome to the best dam tour in Utah.” It took me a moment to realize his play on words. After all, there were kids present.
If your travel plans take you to Flaming Gorge, here’s what you can expect on the Best Dam Tour in Utah!
Check in at the Visitor Center
The first thing to do is check in at the Flaming Gorge Dam Visitor Center. That’s where the best dam tour departs. They will have you go through a metal detector to make sure you aren’t bringing anything dangerous into the dam.
Before departing on the tour, make sure you have some quarters with you. If not, see if the cashier can exchange some money for you. The quarters are necessary if your kids want to feed the fish hanging out at the bottom of the dam.
There are some educational videos playing in the visitor center. If you’ve got time and interest in them (or you have a few minutes to spend waiting for your tour to depart), check one out.
Part 1: The Top of the Dam
The tour begins at the water level on the backside of Flaming Gorge dam. The tour guide will explain a little about the history of Flaming Gorge and the dam as well. They even talk about the large spidery thing on tracks that’s used to adjust the gates that control how much water goes through the dam.
As you come around to the front side of the dam, you’ll see the electrical wires and an electrical substation that stores and transfers the electricity generated by the dam.
There’s a great view of how deep Flaming Gorge is. If you’re afraid of heights, you may want to stay away from the edge. Once you reach the center of the dam, take a closer look at the gates used to control water level.
Part 2: Inside Flaming Gorge Dam
From the top of Flaming Gorge dam you’ll step into an elevator for the long ride down to the bottom. It’s crazy to think that a large concrete wall is holding back the entire reservoir of water – and you’re standing inside that wall.
Once off the elevator, you get to see the generator room. It’s the spot where all the electricity is made. Just below the generators are the turbines that are moved by the water rushing through the tubes on their way through the dam.
Don’t forget to stop and grab a group photo in the generator room.
The hallway from the elevator to the exit at the bottom has great displays that explain how the hydroelectric dam works and the reach of where the electricity is delivered to power homes and businesses.
Part 3: The View from the Bottom
After you exit the bottom of the dam, follow the walkway to a viewing area. It’s amazing to look up and know that only a cement wall stands between you and a lot of water. It’s an engineering marvel, in my opinion!
The viewing area has a little fish feeder vending machine. This is where you’ll whip out your quarters to buy a handful of pellets. Toss the pellets one at a time or see a flurry of activity by tossing a handful out into the water at once.
The fish in this portion of the Green River are huge. Probably measuring two feet and fat as can be. Sadly, you’re not allowed to fish in this area. Bummer!
Your tour guide will also share a few fun facts with you while at the bottom. Pay attention to how many gallons of water seep through the rock and around the dam every day because of the water pressure pushing against the dam wall. It’s pretty cool to think about – and scary, too.
After the tour of Flaming Gorge dam, you’ll make your way back up the elevator and across the top of the dam, back to the visitor center. You can now officially, and proudly state that you’ve been on the Best Dam Tour in Utah.
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Address: 5995 Flaming Gorge Visitor Center, Dutch John, UT 84023
Parking: There is parking just to the west of the dam. During peak season, it may be full. There is no parking allowed on the street and vehicles are not allowed to stop anywhere on the dam itself.
Cost: The Best Dam Tour is free, but you’ll want to bring some quarters to be able to buy some fish food at the bottom of the dam so you can feed the fish.
Hours: Open daily April 15 – October 15, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.