Capitol Reef – Utah


Burr Trail Switchbacks overlook | Rental Jeep on the Cathedral Valley Loop | Lower South Desert


Date of Visit: July 3-5, 2015 & July 14-15, 2021

How we got there: Took the long way from Mexican Hat, Utah via Hwy 261, 276, Lake Powell Ferry and Burr Trail. This remote route has some incredible scenery including the Moki Dugway and the Burr Trail switchbacks (2015).
Drove from Monticello, UT with stops in Bears Ears along the way.

Lodging: Rim Rock Inn (2015), Fruita Campground (2021).


  • Cathedral Valley Loop Road – Rent a jeep from Thousand Lakes RV Park and drive this 62 mile all-day off-road trail. Highlights include fording a stream, Lower and Upper South Desert Overlooks, Cathedral Valley, Gypsum Sinkhole and the Temples of the Sun and Moon.
  • Goosenecks Overlook – Short trail leads to dramatic overviews of a twisty canyon.
  • Capitol Gorge Hike – Take the Scenic Drive to its end to find this 2-mile round trip hike with minimal elevation. Winds through a narrow canyon and leads to a short climb up to small trapped pools of water aka “waterpockets,” aka “tanks”.
  • Fruita Historic District – Orchards, homestead and barn tell the story of former settlement in the area.
  • Camping
  • Hickman Bridge

Tips: Staying close to the easily accessible portions of the park along Utah 24 won’t reveal the truly grand nature of this park. Go off the beaten path and get off-road.

Next time: Chimney Rock/Lower Spring Canyon or Navajo Knobs. Hike Lower Muley Twist Canyon.