Hiking in Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef A paramount of color and exuberating tints enhance the mind as hikers explore the wonders of Capitol Reef National Park. Fifteen day hikes are located along Utah Highway 24. Some involve an easy stroll on level surfaces to steep climbs up uneven terrain. Natural stone arches to historic inscriptions are only a few of the sites along the interweaving trails. Trails are marked by cairns (small piles of rocks).

Twisting gorges and slot canyons characterize Capitol Reef backcountry offering spectacular viewpoints of the park. The southern section of the park includes the popular hikes of Upper and Lower Muley Twist Canyons and Halls Creek. Trails. Area Map.

Capitol Reef Trails

Trails Miles/km Avg. Time Difficulty Description
Capitol Gorge 2 mi Easy
Sunset Point .7 mi Cliff, domes, dramatic in late day
Goosenecks .2 mi Easy Sulphur Creek Canyon, rock formation
Grand Wash 4.5 mi Easy Canyon walls
Cohab Canyon 3.5 mi Moderate Hidden Canyon
Hickman Bridge 2 mi   Moderate Natural Bridge
Chimney Rock 3.5 mi Strenuous Panoramas
Cassidy Arch 3.5 mi Strenuous Arch
Fremont Gorge 4.5 mi Strenuous Johnson Mesa, Fremont River
Fremont River 2.5 mi Strenuous Orchards
Park Avenue 1 mi 30-60 min Moderate Canyon, Courthouse Towers
Frying Pan 6 mi Strenuous Capitol Reef escrapment
Golden Throne 4 mi Strenuous Golden Throne base, gorge
Navajo Knobs 9 mi Strenuous Panoramic view
Old Wagon 3.5 mi Strenuous Panoramic View
Rim Overlook 4.5 mi Strenuous Orchards
Lower Muley Twist 23.4 mi Overnight Strenuous Canyons, Mormon historic site
Upper Muley Twist 9-15 mi Overnight Strenuous Arches, overlooks
Hall Creek Narrows Trail 22 mi Overnight Strenuous Narrows, water hiking
Spring Canyon 61.5 mi 2-3 days Strenuous Thousand Lake Island
Sheets Gulch 12 mi 7-8 hours Strenuous Scenic, unchartered
Burro Wash 8 mi 6-7 hours Strenuous Waterpocket Fold overlook, unchartered
Cottonwood Wash 6 mi 3-4 hours Strenuous Narrows, hiking in water, may require swimming
Hamburger Rock 9-12 mi Overnight Strenuous Hoodoos
Brimhall Bridge 4.6 mi 2-3 hours Strenuous Overlook

General Tips:

  1. Always carry a topographical map.
  2. Carry plenty of water as temperatures hit over 100 degrees on summer day. Filter or purify any water before drinking to kill Giardia.
  3. For all overnight trips, backcountry permits are required. Permits are available at any park visitor center at no cost.
  4. Do not enter a narrow gorge or slot canyon if storms are threatening and never camp in wash bottoms.
  5. To preserve natural habitat, hike along existing roads and trails. Avoid walking on crypto biotic crust.
  6. Disturbing, defacing or collecting items of any natural features, historic sites or archaeological sites is strictly prohibited.
  7. Pack out all trash. Burning or burying toilet paper is prohibited.
  8. Pets are not allowed along trails. Do not leave them unattended. Pets must be leashed at all times.
  9. Camp a ½ mile from roads or trails (out of sight and sound of the trail). Do not camp near flowing water, historical sites or junctions.
  10. Fires are prohibited along trails and backcountry; use of fuel-burning stoves is mandatory.
  11. For disposal of human waste, bury 6 inches in soil and at least 100 feet away from water sources.
  12. Overnight groups are limited to no more than 12.
  13. Off-road and ATV use is strictly prohibited.
  14. Mountain biking is permitted only on designated roads, and is not on any trail or anywhere off-road.
  15. Firearms, hunting and trapping are prohibited.
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