Lower Spring Canyon is initially rocky, but not difficult as it descends to the Fremont River. Along the way there are twisting narrows, and the canyon itself is very scenic. Just under 4 miles from the trailhead, an interesting shallow slot begins in a section of sculpted bedrock in the canyon floor. This side trip is worth the effort, and you'll enjoy the up close views of the winding curves of Capitol Reef sandstone. The slot can be negotiated for 500 feet before it ends at an impassable pour-off above a pool and mudhole. At this point, the safest retreat to the main wash is to simply return the way you came. On your way back to the main route, you'll bypass an optional detour on the northern side that has recently been made dangerous by flood damage.
Once you've made your way back to the main wash, you'll continue for about another 3 miles to the wash's end. Be aware that at the end of your journey, the Fremont River must be forded, a task that is usually easy but can be dangerous during times of high water. The best crossing is usually found near a low cliff on the right of the wash, along a path through dense stream-side willows. Cross the river to a sandbar and the easy egress on the opposite side. After the remote solitude of navigating the wash, the parking area and sudden approach to UT 24 can be a striking juxtaposition. Nonetheless, this is a spectacular route.
This content was contributed by author Rick Stinchfield. For a comprehensive hiking guide to Capitol Reef National Park and to see more by Rick, click here