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Capitol Reef National Park is located in south-central Utah. It is 100 miles (160 km) long but fairly narrow. The park, established in 1971, preserves 378 mi² (979 km²) and is open all year, although May through September are the most popular months. Called "Wayne Wonderland" in the 1920s by local boosters Ephraim P. Pectol and Joseph S. Hickman, Capitol Reef National Park protects colorful canyons, ridges, buttes, and monoliths. About 75 miles (120 km) of the long up-thrust called the Waterpocket Fold, extending like a rugged spine from Thousand Lake Mountain southward to Lake Powell, is preserved within the park boundary. Capitol Reef is the name of an especially rugged and spectacular part of the Waterpocket Fold near the Fremont River. The area was named for a line of white domes and cliffs of Navajo Sandstone, each of which looks somewhat like the United States Capitol building, that run from the Fremont River to Pleasant Creek on the Waterpocket Fold. The local word reef referred to any rocky barrier to travel.

I was really pleased with the trail, it is easy to navigate and clearly marked. Spent a good hour and a half going through. The trail had very light traffic that I almost had the trail to myself. The Arch located near the turnaround is very beautiful!

hiking
3 days ago

We had a great time walking crossed the beautiful ridge line up to the arch. Great trail!

Nice easy to follow trail to an amazing arch. Be sure to watch for two small bridges at sign number 13 just off the trail where it gets close to the sandy river bottom. Kids will have a great time in the sand and walking under the bridges. A short break may even make the difference of getting all the way to Hickman Bridge. The trail continues under the bridge and loops back to the same trail near the Bridge.

hiking
1 month ago

Great mid distance hike with a great view of Fruita. In seasons other that winter it's a green oasis in the middle of the desert. This hike also features a view of Hickman Arch from above. The trails winds in and out of several canyons and climbs steadily. If you are not used to the 5,300-6,300 ft elevation it can be a difficult hike. Be sure to keep an eye out for Deseret Bighorn Sheep. They are in the area. Also saw wild turkeys near the trailhead on the road.

hiking
1 month ago

This is an amazing trail that continues past the Rim Overlook trail. The sign at the junctions says 2.2 miles one way to the end. As mentioned in the previous review there are a lot of ups and down on slick rock. And the view from the top of the knob is spectacular. Not for those who may be afraid of heights. And if you are lucky you may see Deseret Bighorn Sheep like we did. Because of the time of year (February) we didn't have to deal with the heat. We also always start early in the morning for the same reason. Because we live at 4,200 feet and hike about the same number of miles every week we were able to complete the hike in 3.5 hours. So if you don't meet that criteria, plan for a much longer hike.

Capitol Reef is easily Utah's most underrated National Park, which is a shame because it's gorgeous! We hiked the Chimney Rock Loop Trail in December on our way to Bryce and the views out over the park were amazing. It's a bit steep in places going up but trust me when I say it's worth it when you get to the top.

See more of my hiking/travel adventures on Instagram @schaefer.cara :)

backpacking
3 months ago

Pretty rough incline! you gain about 1000ft. in 1.5 miles, but it is sooo worth it. the views the entire way are amazing, and the arch itself is stunning.

In mid November this trail was clear of snow and it was gorgeous out, though I think it may have snowed in the day since I was there. the drive through Grand Wash to get to the trail head is rough, so be sure your car tires can take a bit of rough roads.

As always, bring plenty of water and snacks. this trail isn't technically difficult, but this is still the desert, and that incline is killer.

Great trail! Beautiful views the whole way. One of my favorite trails in the area!