Five of the best hiking trails that Capitol Reef National Park and its Waterpocket Fold has to offer, ranging from short and easy to long and strenuous.
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park only became one of my most favorite national parks because of its extraordinary hiking trails. Nearly every trail takes advantage of the park’s unique geologic feature of the Waterpocket Fold. The fold is an actual wrinkle in the earth’s crust, creating a massive sandstone extrusion that towers above the surrounding landscape, stretching for dozens of miles. Hikes like Navajo Knobs, Chimney Rock, and the Frying Pan Trails all offer tremendous views of the eroded sandstone landscape. Farther south, a hike like Upper Muley Twist Canyon shows off the best of the fold, bringing hikers through and around narrow canyons before climbing on top of the rim for endless desert views in every direction. The park is also home to many extraordinary slot canyons, such as Grand Wash, Spring Canyon, and many more.
Grand Wash is an easy 2.3 mile hike in Capitol Reef National Park that brings hikers through a deep canyon with imposing narrows roughly halfway through the hike.
Highway 12 in southern Utah is a breathtaking journey past some of southern Utah’s most picturesque features, including Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, and Capitol Reef National Park.
The Capitol Gorge and Tanks hike is an easy 1.1 mile hike in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah through a narrow canyon in the Waterpocket Fold.
The Fremont River Trail is a moderate 1 mile hike in Capitol Reef National Park that brings hikers up a sandstone ridge lining the Fremont River.
The Frying Pan Trail is a moderate 2.8 mile hike connecting Cohab Canyon to Grand Wash in the Waterpocket Fold of Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.
The Navajo Knobs hike is a stunning 5.25 mile moderate trail that ascends the Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.
The Chimney Rock Loop Trail is a 2.4 mile hike that traverses over Mummy Cliff at the base of the Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef National Park.
The Fremont Gorge Overlook Trail is a 2.4 mile moderate hike that brings hikers up to a stunning overlook into the Fremont River Gorge in Capitol Reef National Park.
Sunset Point and the Goosenecks are two easy trails originating from the same point overlooking the Waterpocket Fold of Capitol Reef National Park.
The hike to Cassidy Arch is a 1.8 mile trail that brings hikers to a beautiful natural arch in the Waterpocket Fold of Capitol Reef National Park.
The Upper Muley Twist Canyon Trail is an adventurous 10.5 mile hike that ascends the Waterpocket Fold in southern Capitol Reef National Park.
Cohab Canyon and the Overlooks Trail are two connected trails that total 1.9 miles one way, bringing hikers to a stunning overlook of the Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef National Park.
The Hickman Bridge Trail is an easy 1.2 mile in the base of the Waterpocket Fold to a large natural arch of Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.
Surprise Canyon is an easy remote canyon hike in the Waterpocket Fold of Capitol Reef National Park, though the distance can be extended with scrambling and canyoneering.