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Capitol Reef National Park

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Overview

Rising out of the arid desert of southern Utah, Capitol Reef National Park is sure to capture the imagination. Formed through millions of years of geologic processes, the park highlights spectacular sandstone formations, living cryptobiotic soils, and a textbook example of a massive monocline. The Waterpocket Fold is now home to specialized desert plant and animal species in addition to the desert landscapes that are protected within the park. Skyscraping spires, winding canyons, colorful cliffs, and massive domes and arches all make Capitol Reef a one of a kind destination.

To learn more about Capitol Reef, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Center:
The visitor center is open 8 am to 4:30 pm daily, and is closed on some major holidays. Extended hours exist from the spring through the fall, and more information about seasonal operations can be found here.

Visiting Tips

Capitol Reef is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Even with Capitol Reef's arid climate, inclement weather sometimes causes road closures. For updated weather information, current closures, and up to date information on the park, visit the park's website.

Fees & Passes:
To learn more about park fees, click here.

Camping & Lodging

There is one developed campground and two primitive campgrounds maintained within the Capitol Reef National Park. It is not possible to make reservations for the Fruita Campground, so you'll want to come early as it usually fills by early to mid-afternoon in the spring and the fall. All camping areas in Capitol Reef fill on a first come, first served basis. While each campground is open year-round, it is best to check road reports, as road closures can make reaching a campground impossible.

  • Fruita Campground: Open year round. Potable water is available.
  • Cathedral Valley Campground: Open year round. No potable water available.
  • Cedar Mesa Campground: Open year round. No potable water available.

Backcountry camping is also available. A permit must be obtained from the visitor center during normal business hours. More information on camping in the park, can be found here.

Food & Drink

There are no restaurants or lodges that operate within the park. The Gifford House Store and Museum sells fresh baked goods such as cinnamon rolls, breads, and pies, in addition to ice cream, canned good, chips, and other novelties. Other packaged snacks are also available at the visitor center. There are many dining options available outside of the park. More information about dining in the nearby areas can be found here.

Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

Guided Tours:
There are a variety of ranger-led walking tours, evening programs, and astronomy programs. Check at the visitor center or at Capitol Reef's event calendar for more specific information. All programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

REI Adventures:
REI offers over 30 National Park trips, each led by an expert guide capable of taking you off the beaten path. Adventurers are often treated to hidden gems and aspects of the parks that most visitors never see.

Check out REI Adventures' national park offerings here.

Other Activities

Capitol Reef National Park is located near excellent areas for a variety of outdoor activities. When not exploring the park on foot, there are ample opportunities for other non-motorized activities around the park, such as trail running, mountain biking, and rock climbing. There are also many areas where motorized activities such as dirt biking, rock crawling, and ATV riding are popular as well.

Maps & Guidebooks

The definitive guidebook is "Capitol Reef National Park - The Complete Hiking and Touring Guide", by Rick Stinchfield. All proceeds benefit Capitol Reef Natural History Association.

A variety of guidebooks, pamphlets, and brochures are available at the parks website to help plan your trip.

Gems in Capitol Reef National Park - 8

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Gems

gem Favorite Hickman Land bridge as seen near the bifurcation in the trail.

Hickman Natural Bridge

(35) Loa, UT
gem Favorite Reaching the top and a full view of Cassidy Arch.

Cassidy Arch

(21) Loa, UT
gem Favorite Frolicking through Fruita's famous orchards beside the Fremont River Trail.

Fruita Orchards

(20) Loa, UT
gem Favorite The far right end of the overlook.

Strike Valley Overlook

(7) Escalante, UT
gem Favorite Panorama Point, Capital Reef.

Mummy Cliff from Panorama Point

(9) Loa, UT
gem Favorite No Photos

Halls Creek Narrows

(2) Escalante, UT
gem Favorite You just can't beat Capitol Reef, named after the dome ("Capitol Dome"), which resembles the Capitol building.

Capitol Dome

(13) Loa, UT
gem Favorite Walk along the gorge to truly experience the towering sandstone walls.

Pioneer Register

(7) Loa, UT

Recommended Routes in Capitol Reef National Park - 18

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Recommended Routes

Favorite Reaching the top and a full view of Cassidy Arch.
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

Cassidy Arch

3.2 mi 5.1 km 734' Up 223.63 m Up 732' Down 223.21 m Down

Loa, UT
Explore in 3D
Favorite Hickman Land bridge as seen near the bifurcation in the trail.
Intermediate Intermediate

Hickman Bridge

1.8 mi 2.9 km 393' Up 119.7 m Up 393' Down 119.69 m Down

Loa, UT
Explore in 3D
Favorite Mummy Cliff from Navajo Nobs
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

Navajo Knobs Out and Back

9.2 mi 14.8 km 1,888' Up 575.4 m Up 1,888' Down 575.38 m Down

Loa, UT
Explore in 3D
Favorite I find the boulder wedged in here adds to the interest.
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

Sulphur Creek

5.8 mi 9.3 km 515' Up 156.86 m Up 1,063' Down 324.08 m Down

Loa, UT
Explore in 3D
Favorite Fruita from Rim Overlook
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

Rim Overlook Trail

4.4 mi 7.1 km 1,007' Up 306.88 m Up 1,007' Down 306.87 m Down

Loa, UT
Explore in 3D
Favorite I find the boulder wedged in here adds to the interest.
Difficult Difficult

Capitol Reef Extravaganza

25.1 mi 40.4 km 4,835' Up 1473.86 m Up 4,834' Down 1473.46 m Down

Loa, UT
Explore in 3D
Favorite Hiker's enjoying the Capitol Gorge Trail. Photo credit: NPS/Jacob Frank.
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

Capitol Gorge Trail

4.7 mi 7.5 km 222' Up 67.65 m Up 222' Down 67.56 m Down

Loa, UT
Explore in 3D
Favorite Waterpocket Fold and The Castle from Sunset Point Trail
Easy Easy

Goosenecks Point and Sunset Point

0.9 mi 1.5 km 99' Up 30.13 m Up 102' Down 31.03 m Down

Loa, UT
Explore in 3D
Favorite Grand Wash Narrows
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

Grand Wash Narrows from Highway 24

2.4 mi 3.9 km 273' Up 83.35 m Up 274' Down 83.48 m Down

Loa, UT
Explore in 3D

Capitol Reef National Park Hiking

  • 103 Miles 165 Kilometers of Trail
  • 18 Recommended Routes
  • 8 Gems Gems
  • 7 Easy Trails Easy Trails
  • 39 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
  • 10 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Share what you know about this area!

Areas Within Capitol Reef National Park

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Trails in Capitol Reef National Park - 38

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Trails

1.4 mi 2.2 km #1Cassidy Arch Trail
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT 16 
2.4 mi 3.8 km #2Grand Wash Trail
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate
Loa, UT
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate
Loa, UT 30 
3.1 mi 4.9 km #3Chimney Rock Trail
Intermediate Intermediate
Loa, UT
Intermediate Intermediate
Loa, UT 21 
0.5 mi 0.7 km #4Strike Valley Overlook Trail
Intermediate Intermediate
Loa, UT
Intermediate Intermediate
Loa, UT
2.8 mi 4.5 km #5Frying Pan Trail
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT 16 
1.6 mi 2.5 km #6Cohab Canyon Trail
Intermediate Intermediate
Loa, UT
Intermediate Intermediate
Loa, UT 17 
1.4 mi 2.2 km #7Fremont River Trail
Intermediate Intermediate
Loa, UT
Intermediate Intermediate
Loa, UT 14 
1.8 mi 3.0 km #8Golden Throne Trail
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT 10 
8.0 mi 12.9 km #9Upper Muley Twist Canyon Trail
Difficult Difficult
Escalante, UT
Difficult Difficult
Escalante, UT
3.4 mi 5.4 km #10Cottonwood Wash
Difficult Difficult
Loa, UT
Difficult Difficult
Loa, UT

Photos of Capitol Reef National Park - 325

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Photos

Capitol Reef National Park
Feb 19, 2016 near Loa, UT
Burr Trail Road, Capitol Reef
Feb 19, 2016 near Escalante, UT
Post hike to Strike Valley Overlook. Hiking back through the canyon wash access road to the vehicle.
Apr 20, 2016 near Loa, UT
Reaching the top and a full view of Cassidy Arch.
Apr 24, 2016 near Loa, UT
Overlooking Fruita from the Cohab Canyon Trail.
Sep 2, 2016 near Loa, UT
Headed back from the Lower South Desert Overlook. Photo credit: NPS/Travis Lovell.
Sep 6, 2016 near Loa, UT
Cassidy Arch in front of the beautiful Grand Wash
Nov 1, 2019 near Loa, UT
I find the boulder wedged in here adds to the interest.
Jan 14, 2020 near Loa, UT
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