General description: The Hamburger Rocks are small dark colored hoodoos with hamburger-like shapes within the Navajo sandstone. The white colored slope they are perched on accentuates the rocks. The route is unmarked and carrying a topographic map is recommended. The hike is extremely hot in summer; carry adequate water. Water can usually be found at the Muley Tanks about 200 yards (180 m) north of Hamburger Rocks but would need to be purified. Use caution in narrow canyons during the flash flood season (July-September).
Total round trip distance is 9 miles (14.5 km) from Halls Creek overlook or 12 miles (19.3 km) from The Post parking area. The hike can be done as a long day hike or an overnight backpacking trip. Backcountry permits are required for all overnight trips and can be obtained at the visitor center.
Location of trailheads:
1. Halls Creek Overlook is located on a spur road 4 miles (6.4 km) west of the Notom-Bullfrog Road. The road is rough and sometimes requires four-wheel drive. The Notom-Bullfrog Road is hard-packed dirt and is usually passable to passenger cars. Total distance from Highway 24 is 57.6 miles (92.7 km).
2. The Post parking area is located at the end of a short spur road 3 miles (4.8 km) south of the Notom-Bullfrog and Burr Trail Roads junction. Total distance from Highway 24 is approximately 37 miles (59.5 km).
Maps: USGS 7.5 Minute Series: The Post and Deer Point. Available at the visitor center.
Best seasons for hike: Spring and fall.
For more information: Contact Capitol Reef National Park (435) 425-4111.
Halls Creek Overlook provides the best access to Hamburger Rocks. From this spectacular viewpoint, a steep trail descends 800 feet (244 m) over 1.2 miles (1.9 km) to the Halls Creek drainage. Pay attention to landmarks as the sign marking the point where this route climbs out of the canyon would be easy to walk past on your return trip. The remainder of the route is unmarked but not difficult to follow; simply walk up (north) the canyon following the wash bottom. In approximately 2 miles (3.2 km), Hamburger Rocks will be visible low on the Fold on the left (west) side of the Halls Creek drainage. Stay in the wash until the rocks are right above you, and then hike up the Fold (less than 0.25 miles or 0.4 km) to their location. On USGS topographic maps, Hamburger Rocks are located just south of the Muley Tanks, which are marked. Return to your vehicle via the same route for a total round trip of 9 miles (14.5 km).
From The Post parking area, follow the Halls Creek drainage south. You will pass the narrow cut into Lower Muley Twist Canyon after 5 miles (8.0 km). Hamburger Rocks are approximately one mile beyond (south) this point. A sign indicates the Muley Tanks on the right (west) and above the wash at the base of the Fold. Hamburger Rocks are located low on the Fold about 200 yards (180 m) south of this point. Return via the same route for a total round trip of 12 miles (19.5 km).
A trail guide in PDF format is available here.
Did You Know?
Desert bighorn sheep, once common in the Capitol Reef area, were reintroduced in 1996 and 1997, and have since thrived here. Visitors have reported seeing them in Capitol Gorge, Grand Wash, and along the Fremont River corridor.