Capitol Reef National Park Itinerary

Posted: May 31, 2024 | Author: Nikita Posvolskii | Read Time: 4 minutes

Two hikers overlooking a mountain landscapeCapitol Reef National Park is a stunning and peaceful place, featuring cliffs, canyons, domes and bridges within the almost 100-mile-long Waterpocket Fold, a geologic monocline. Another advantage of this park is the far fewer crowds to deal with. It is so remote that the nearest traffic light is 78 miles away, making this place perfect for stargazing.

Here is a 2-day weekend itinerary to use when traveling to the beautiful Capitol Reef National Park:

To have time to visit all the places in the itinerary you should travel on Friday evening, spend two nights in Torrey, a little town next to the park, and travel home on Sunday evening.


A great place to stay while traveling to the Capitol Reef National Park is Torrey. It is the closest town to the park with many options of places to stay, from fancy hotels to RV parks and tiny home Air bnb’s. Make a choice based on your budget and preferences.

Day 1


After spending the night in Torrey and having breakfast in The Wild Rabbit Cafe, a local cafe with affordable prices and yummy sandwiches, you will head off to do the Grand Wash hike. It's a comparatively easy 4.8-mile hike, which shouldn’t take more than 2 hours. The Grand Wash is a long canyon similar to the Narrows of Zion. While the full canyon trek is lengthy, you have the flexibility to choose your turnaround point. The highlight lies approximately a mile from the start, where the canyon narrows, offering the most captivating scenery.

Another hike you can do on the same day is Cassidy Arch. This hike is moderately difficult, and a tourist favorite in Capitol Reef National Park. The trail is 3.4 miles and usually takes about 2-3 hours to complete. Conveniently situated off Scenic Drive, the Cassidy Arch hike features stunning scenery, views over the Grand Wash and the chance to stand on Cassidy Arch. Whether admiring the arch from a distance or strolling across for a truly distinctive photo opportunity, this hike promises an unforgettable experience in Capitol Reef National Park.


Devote the afternoon hours to traversing Scenic Drive. Afterward, you can drive to Capitol Gorge Road. Driving for 2.3 miles along a gravel road, this route winds through a beautiful canyon. Capitol Gorge Road ends at Capitol Gorge, where you can walk a 1.5-mile round-trip hike to see the Pioneer Register. Afterward, return to Fruits and have lunch at the Gifford Homestead for delicious pies.


After eating tasty pies, go sightseeing along Highway 24. Don’t forget to see the petroglyph panel, and hike Hickman Bridge. It’s only 1.8 miles round trip, but the views are amazing. End the day watching the sunset on Panorama or Sunset Point. After that, return to Torrey and have dinner in Chak Balam, a Mexican Restaurant.

Day 2

Your last day in Capitol Reef National Park will be full of hikes. Take your time to experience as many as possible before returning home.

Chimney Rocks is a 3.6-mile hike, which takes 2-4 hours to complete. It’s great for people who are searching for a relatively short hike that isn’t too challenging, but at the same time offers great views over the park.

Rim Overlook is 4.6 miles in length and requires 2 -3 hours. People are fond of this hike for its jaw-dropping views of Fruita and Capitol Reef National Park. It is an incredible view as you get to look right along Scenic Drive and the waterpocket fold.

Navajo Knobs is a 9.5-mile hike and takes 4-7 hours to complete. Rim Overlook is included in this hike. From the Navajo Knobs, you have a 360° view of the area. People who completed this hike say it’s one of the best viewpoints in Capitol Reef National Park.

After this amazing day full of hikes, it’s time to go home. Remember that these are just recommendations, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to complete everything in this itinerary. It’s your vacation and you should spend it the way you want.

Southern Utah University students are very lucky to study at the University of the Parks. Indeed SUU is surrounded by beautiful places and parks, Capitol Reef National Park included. Even though it is not as close to SUU as some of the other parks surrounding Cedar City, at only 2 hours and 42 minutes away, it is a great travel destination for T-Birds.

Tags: Outdoor Recreation Student Outdoors

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