• Strike Valley and the Waterpocket Fold

    Capitol Reef

    National Park Utah

Plan Your Visit

Cottonwood leaves turning gold in the fall

Cottonwoods in fall colors along Sulphur Creek

NPS Photo

Hiking, backpacking, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and walking through the orchards are favorite activities at Capitol Reef National Park. Below are some suggested ways to spend your time. If you have:


An Hour or Two:

  • Stop at the visitor center and watch the park movie.
  • Pick some delicious fruit when in season.
  • Take a short hike, such as Hickman Bridge (caution: rockfall hazard).
  • Tour the Scenic Drive (approximately 90 minutes round trip).
  • Visit the petroglyph panel, historic schoolhouse, or the Gifford House Store and Museum to enjoy fresh baked pie when in season!

One Day:

  • Take a longer hike, such as Cohab Canyon.
  • Join a ranger-guided walk, talk, evening program or astronomy program.
  • Borrow a Family Fun Pack and learn about the park through family-oriented games and activities.
  • Become a Junior Ranger, booklets at the visitor center.
  • Tour Cathedral Valley or the Waterpocket District. Check at the visitor center for current road conditions.

Several Days:

  • Combine several day trip options.
  • Hike the shorter trails and routes along the Waterpocket District or Cathedral Valley roads.
  • Enjoy the stars in the park's pristine night sky.
  • Backpack into remote areas of the park and experience solitude and quiet. Check for current weather, road, and trail conditions at the visitor center. A free backcountry permit is required for overnight backcountry use.

Did You Know?

Researchers collecting samples near a stream

With its wide variety of microhabitats, Capitol Reef National Park’s cold desert ecosystem supports an extraordinarily diverse combination of plant and animal species, fostering opportunities for education, research, and a deeper connection to the natural world.