Whenever hiking, climbing, or driving, your safety depends on your good judgment, adequate preparation, and constant awareness. Your safety is your responsibility.
Steep Cliffs and Slick Conditions
Falls from cliffs on trails can result in death. Loose sand or pebbles on stone are very slippery. Be careful of edges when using cameras or binoculars. Never throw or roll rocks. There may be hikers below you.
The desert is an extreme environment. Carry enough water, one gallon per person per day. Drinking water is available at the visitor center, picnic area, and campground. Do not drink untreated water.
Flash floods can be caused by run-off from intense, localized thunderstorms that drop a large amount of rain over a short period of time. They are most common in July, August, and September, but can occur at any time of the year. Check the visitor center for current weather conditions.
Capitol Reef's roads are used by vehicles, bicycles, walkers, and even wildlife. Obey posted speed limits. Unless otherwise posted, the maximum speed limit is 25 mph (radar enforced). Seat belts or child safety seats are required for all occupants in a vehicle and failure to use them is a primary offense in the park.
Don't drink and drive. For your safety, rangers enforce laws against alcohol and drug-related driving offenses, including open container violations.
To protect the park's vegetation, please park in designated or posted areas only.
Check at the visitor center for weather conditions. Even small amounts of precipitation can make roads completely impassable.
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses more fluid than is taken in. Signs of heat exhaustion include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headaches, pale appearance, stomach cramps, and cool clammy skin. If a member of your party begins to experience any of these symptoms, stop your hike immediately. Find a cool, shady area and have the victim rest with his feet up to distribute fluids throughout his body. It is important to drink fluids, but it is also important to eat. While suffering from heat exhaustion, drinking fluids without eating can lead to a potentially dangerous condition of low blood salt. If heat exhaustion symptoms persist, seek medical help.
Heat stroke is an advanced stage of heat exhaustion. It is the body's inability to cool itself. Symptoms include confusion, disorientation, behavioral changes, and seizures. If you believe that a member of your party is suffering from heat stroke, it is imperative to cool them using any available means and obtain immediate medical assistance.
Hypothermia occurs when the body is cooled to dangerous levels. To prevent hypothermia, avoid cotton clothing (it provides no insulation when wet) and eat high energy food before you are chilled. The signs of hypothermia include:
If you recognize any of these signs, stop hiking and immediately replace wet clothing with dry clothing. Warm the victim with your own body and a warm drink, and shelter the individual from breezes. A pre-warmed sleeping bag will also prevent further heat loss.
Firearms are permitted in Capitol Reef National Park. As of February 22, 2010, a new federal law allows people who can legally possess firearms under federal, Utah, and local laws, to possess firearms in the park. It is the visitor's responsibility to understand and comply with all applicable Utah local and federal firearm laws. If you have questions please contact the park at (435) 425-3791 or click here for more information. The discharge, display, brandishing or any indiscriminate use of firearms (including hunting) within the park is strictly prohibited.
Hand-held fruit pickers and ladders are provided to aid in picking. Never climb the trees to pick fruit! Be sure the ladder is on firm, level ground with the third leg fully extended and the chains pulled tight. Do not stand on the top three rungs and avoid leaning to either side while picking. Children should not use ladders unsupervised.
Did You Know?
The geology of the Waterpocket Fold created conditions which allowed unique plant species to evolve here. A total of 887 plant species occur in the park many of which have very restricted distributions, occuring on specific geologic formations, soils, slopes, or elevation or precipitation ranges.