Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park photo by TomKli via Shutterstock.

Capitol Reef National Park, situated in Utah, boasts a striking waterpocket foldβ€”a nearly 100-mile long warp in the Earth’s crust. Its cliffs, domes, and canyons offer a colorful display of geological wonders.

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βœ… Fast Facts

State(s): Utah
Area: 241,904 acres (978.95 sq km) – 29th largest national park of 63
Highest Elevation: Billings Pass – 8,960 ft (2,731 m)
Lowest Elevation: Hall’s Creek – 3,877 ft (1181.71 m)
Date Established: December 18, 1971
Annual Visitors: 1,227,608 visitors in 2022
Nearest Town: Torrey, Utah

β›° Recommended Day Hikes

Park Tracker considers a “day hike” to be a hike under 10 miles. Below we provide our top five recommendations inside the park, along with AllTrails links to the hikes.

  1. Hickman Bridge (1.8 mi, Moderate) – Features a natural arch and historic Fremont culture petroglyphs.
  2. Cassidy Arch (3.4 mi, Strenuous) – A steep climb to a dramatic arch named after the outlaw Butch Cassidy.
  3. Grand Wash (4.5 mi, Easy) – A narrow canyon trail that can be accessed from either end for a shorter hike.
  4. Chimney Rock Loop (3.6 mi, Moderate) – Offers views of Waterpocket Fold and Chimney Rock.
  5. Capitol Gorge (2 mi, Easy) – Passes through narrow canyon walls with pioneer inscriptions.

πŸ§—πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Popular Activities in Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef is about more than just hiking. See below for some of the best non-hiking activities to do in Capitol Reef National Park.

  1. Scenic drives on Waterpocket Fold
  2. Fruit picking in historic orchards when in season
  3. Joining ranger-led evening programs
  4. Rock climbing on the Wingate sandstone cliffs
  5. Photography, especially of the park’s unique geology

πŸ›ŽοΈ Where to Stay Near Capitol Reef National Park

While there are ample camping and vacation rental options near most US national parks, I personally highly prefer staying at Hilton-branded properties when traveling to national parks. As such, below are the five closest Hilton properties to Capitol Reef National Park.

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πŸ” What to Eat Near Capitol Reef National Park

After hiking and exploring Capitol Reef National Park, odds are high you’re going to be hungry. Here are five of the best restaurant options within and near the park.

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