Traditionally, Capitol Reef National Park has experienced minimal use by technical rock climbers and boulderers. However, recent years have seen an increase in climbing in Utah's canyon country. Included here are the park regulations and concerns regarding technical climbing and bouldering.
The rock at Capitol Reef is comprised predominately of sandstone. It varies in hardness from the soft crumbly Entrada to the relatively hard Wingate. The Wingate cliff walls are the most popular for climbing, as natural fracturing has created many climbable crack systems. In addition, the hardness of the Wingate lends itself more readily to the successful use of chocks, nuts, and camming devices; however it can flake off easily and be very unpredictable. Climbing in canyon country is not something to be taken lightly.
As of January 1, 2020, permits are required for climbing and bouldering. Free day-use permits can be obtained in person at the visitor center or via email. Please review all rules and regulations prior to filling out or requesting a permit. A separate permit is required for each climbing zone and for each day.
Restrictions and Concerns
Capitol Reef National Park is a clean climbing area. Minimum impact techniques that don't destroy the rock or leave a visual trail are required:
These areas are closed to climbing and bouldering:
Climbing during the summer is very hot as temperatures frequently reach the upper 90sºF (30s°C). Carry plenty of water. Afternoon thunderstorms are common in July and August. Sandstone is weak when wet, so avoid climbing in damp areas or right after a rain. Please climb safely! Many falls have been taken on relatively easy routes because experienced climbers became careless. Please report all accidents or injuries at the visitor center.
Last updated: May 19, 2020