Capitol Reef National Park Itinerary
Prehistoric Fremont rock art, a scenic drive through U-pick orchards, hikes to natural arches and a waterfall for those hot summer afternoons. This itinerary will show you some of our favorite highlights of this uncrowded national park. Read more...
- Brimhall Natural Bridge (Strenuous)
- Capitol Gorge
- Chimney Rock (Moderate)
- Cohab Canyon (Moderate)
- Cassidy Arch Trail (Easy)
- Cottonwood Wash (Strenuous)
- Frying Pan Trail (Moderate)
- Golden Throne (Moderate)
- Grand Wash (Easy)
- Halls Creek Narrows (Technical)
- Headquarters Canyon (Easy)
- Hickman Bridge (Easy)
- Lower Muley Twist Canyon
- Rim Overlook Navajo Knobs (Strenuous)
- Sheets Gulch (Technical)
- Sulphur Creek (Moderate)
- Surprise Canyon (Easy)
Things to Do
Capitol Reef National Park
Travel Bureau Information
Capitol Reef Country Travel Council
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3 Days, 2 Nights
Travel to Capitol Reef and check in to your accommodations.
Drive into the park and stop at the National Park Visitor Center to get an overview of the area.
On your way in when you pass Torrey stop for lunch.
Drive the Scenic Drive
This good paved road extends for 10 mi/16 km into a very beautiful area of the park. Optional spurs will take you beyond the pavement into Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge; weather permitting, these spurs can be driven using ordinary passenger cars. An entrance fee of $5 per vehicle is charged for the Scenic Drive.
(3.5 miles, easy)
Ready to see a fascinating arch? Named after the famous Butch Cassidy, Cassidy Arch is located in the central portion of Capitol Reef National Park, specifically just within the western walls of Grand Wash, beside the Scenic Drive. It's best to hike it in the morning or late afternoon since summer temperatures can reach triple digits. Be sure and pack water. From Capitol Reef Visitor Center, Drive southward along the Scenic Drive 3.5 mi/5.6 km to Grand Wash Road. Turn left on to Grand Wash Road and drive to the trailhead at road's end.
Return up the Scenic Drive to the Visitor Center and then drive back to your accommodations.
Eat Dinner. Click here to see Restaurants in the area.
(2 miles roundtrip, moderate)
This is a fun, moderately challenging hike to a beautiful, huge natural bridge. The trailhead is located along Hwy 24 at a signed turnoff about two miles east of the Visitor Center. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. The hike is rated as moderate because the trail is fairly steep in a few spots. For most of the hike you will be exposed to full sun so wear sunscreen and a hat. We recommend doing this hike in the morning, the earlier the better, when air temperatures are more pleasant. Afternoons can be very hot.
Eat lunch at the park near the Visitor Center. (Obtain box lunches from a restaurant, or stop by a grocery store in Torrey and pick up picnic supplies and water.) Share the area with the deer that sometimes stroll through the park.
View the rock art along Hwy 24
If you like Indian Petroglyphs, this is the place to be. Drive into the park and stop at the "Petroglyph Pullout" on Utah Hwy 24, 1.5 mi/2.4 km east of the Visitor Center. View rock art left by the prehistoric Fremont people who lived in this area from about 700 to 1300 AD. From the parking area, a short path leads to the base of the Wingate Sandstone cliff. A telephoto lens comes in handy here if you want to get close-up photographs. The rock art is very fragile and is for viewing only.
Another pathway leads east along the base of the cliff for about 500 feet, providing more images.
Fremont River waterfall
The Fremont River flows toward the east, parallel to Hwy 24. It tumbles over an impressive waterfall near the park's east boundary, about 7 mi/11.2 km east of the visitor center. The small parking lot on the North side of the highway is easy to miss so be watching for it. Wind your way down a sandy path that leads to a pool at the base of the river. The waterfall is beautiful and photogenic.
Take the long way home.
Pack your bags and check out of your accommodations.
Drive All American Road Hwy 12 along the eastern side of Boulder Mountain, stopping at the viewpoints to gaze down over Capitol Reef National Park. Continue on Hwy 12 through extremely scenic sections of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, through a corner of Bryce Canyon National Park and then through beautiful Red Canyon.
Lunch along the way.