Sulphur Creek has cut a deep canyon that passes through the oldest rocks exposed at Capitol Reef. It is a perennial steam with a flow that varies significantly in response to upstream water usage, snowmelt, and heavy rain. There are about two miles of scenic narrows and three small waterfalls. Bypassing the falls requires the ability to scramble down 12-foot ledges. The route nearly always requires some walking in shallow water, but it is not uncommon for there to be much deeper water that might even require swimming. This route may be difficult for children if deep water is present. Ask at the visitor center for the latest condition report. Dangerous flash floods are an occasional hazard on this route - do not hike the Sulphur Creek route if there is a chance of rain.
The upper end of the Sulphur Creek route can be accessed from the designated parking lot, 0.3 miles (0.5 km) west of the Chimney Rock trailhead, which is located 3 miles (4.9 km) west of the visitor center on Highway 24. The route ends (or begins) behind the visitor center.
For those wishing to hike a short section of the canyon to a small waterfall, begin your hike at the visitor center and follow Sulphur Creek upstream 0.7 mile (1.2 km). However, many hikers choose to hike the entire route in the downstream direction, starting at the paved parking area 3.3 miles (5.3 km) west of the visitor center and ending at the visitor center. This description details the hike in that direction.
Rules and Regulations
Spring and fall during warm weather, and summer if there is no chance of rain.
USGS 7.5-minute series: Twin Rocks. Maps available at the visitor center.
For more information:
Contact the Capitol Reef Visitor Center at 435-425-4111.
Last updated: March 24, 2020