Capitol Reef National Park

Adventurers traveling to Utah will find a beautiful, rugged oasis in Capitol Reef National Park. This red rock landscape is not as busy as other areas in Utah, such as Bryce Canyon and Zion, but it offers an incredible variety of outdoor adventures. The vast desert landscape will be the backdrop for adventures like hiking, sightseeing, driving, and other fun activities. Spending a few days enjoying the beauty of Capitol Reef National Park will give travelers a new appreciation for this gorgeous area of Utah.

Unforgettable Hiking Adventures

When traveling to southern Utah, hiking is on most visitor’s bucket lists. There is something special about lacing up a pair of boots and traversing the red rock trails of the Utah desert. Those traveling to Capitol Reef will find many different hiking trails with beautiful views, exciting challenges, and once in a lifetime adventures. While these are the three most popular trails, Capitol Reef has many more hiking excursions for guests to enjoy.

Sulphur Creek

This relatively easy hike is perfect for hikers of nearly every age and skill level. This is the most popular trail in the area thanks to the low level of difficulty and the amazing views along the trail. This trail does require a bit of logistical planning since it is a one-way hike. Hikers will just need to have a bike, vehicle, or be able to catch a shuttle at the end of the hike. Or, hikers can travel three miles along the road back to the trailhead. This leisurely hike features waterfalls, breathtaking descents, and a 600-foot gorge. Hikers of all experience levels will enjoy a hike along Sulphur Creek.

Hickman Bridge Trail

The Hickman Bridge trailhead can also be used to access Navajo Knobs, as well as a few other trails. The trail to Hickman Bridge forks right and will lead hikers on a short but exciting hike. The hike to Hickman Bridge is less than two miles long, which means most hikers can complete the journey in about an hour and a half. The destination of this hike, Hickman Bridge, is a beautiful arching formation which was created by water flow over millions of years. The bridge stands 125 feet high and 133 feet long, making all who stand below it marvel at its massive size and incredible structure.

Navajo Knobs

Another popular trail in Capitol Reef, Navajo Knobs is an out and back trail that is more strenuous than the previous two trails listed. This trail is around nine miles long and has some difficult terrain that requires some hiking experience. Though this is a popular hike in the park, the foot traffic is moderate, and hikers are much more likely to have a serene, uninterrupted hike on this trail than on any trails in other Utah parks. The sweeping, panoramic views of the landscape during the entire hike make this journey one of the most beautiful hikes in southern Utah.

Unforgettable Sights

Whether hiking or driving, there are many incredible sights to be seen while in the Capitol Reef area. The breathtaking landscape that has been formed over millions of years has a huge variety of features, both natural and man-made, that make every inch of the land a true wonder to explore.


Carved into the cliff sides thousands of years ago, the petroglyphs of Capitol Reef are pieces of history that are frozen in time. The many native groups that called this area home left their mark across the landscape. Petroglyphs, which are carvings in the rocks, depict the Native people’s everyday lives and important events. Looking for these incredible artworks while in Capitol Reef will give visitors a new respect for the deep history of the area.

Thousand Lake Mountain

Visitors who are looking for a picture-perfect view shouldn’t miss Thousand Lake Mountain. Despite the name, guests won’t find countless lakes in this scenic area. They will, however, find a variety of views that are accessible by vehicle. No hiking is required. Visitors can take in the panoramic views, with the most popular vantage point being Deep Creek Desert. From here, guests can see for miles into Capitol Reef National Park as they stand among the towering pines.

The Temples

By taking a rugged vehicle up to the Cathedral Valley Trail, visitors can take in an unforgettable view of Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon. These massive formations shoot up from the desert floor along a gorgeous, sweeping landscape. The temples will give visitors an appreciation for the unbelievable power of mother nature and provide incredible photo opportunities.

Other Exciting Activities

In addition to sightseeing and hiking, Capitol Reef also has opportunities for visitors to enjoy other unique and exciting activities. Whether guests want to learn more about the area or just enjoy a leisurely activity, they will find the perfect way to spend their time in Capitol Reef.

Scenic Drives

The easiest, most complete way to see the scenic spots of Capitol Reef is with a scenic drive. Capitol Reef Scenic Drive is a great way to spend some time driving and experience the most beautiful parts of the area. The 25-mile-long route has many overlook areas, so visitors can stop and marvel at the landscape without having to do any strenuous hiking. This route gives guests a complete view of the area and many opportunities to capture breathtaking photos.

Fruit Picking

There is nothing that connects people to the land like picking and eating the fruits and vegetables provided by mother nature. During the picking season, visitors can pick from the many fruit trees that grow in the old Mormon town of Fruita. Depending on the time of year, the fruits include apples, cherries, apricots, and pears. Visitors can leave the money for what they pick in a donation box at the U-Pick areas and take a little piece of Capitol Reef home with them.

Historical Sights

In and near Capitol Reef Park there are many well-preserved historical sights. From schoolhouses to cabins and even entire towns, the history of the people of Capitol Reef runs deep. Those who are interested in the area and how it came to be will be delighted to find the historic areas of this land are available to explore.

Take in the Beauty of Capitol Reef National Park

Every moment spent in Capitol Reef National Park will bring guests closer to nature and provide the opportunity to make a lifetime of memories. Guests can hike, drive, or explore individual areas of Capitol Reef National Park during their stay. Whether staying on the beaten path or venturing out into less traveled areas, Capitol Reef National Park will be an unforgettable adventure.