Capitol Reef National Park
Things To Do
- Camping - As one of Utah’s less crowded national parks, there is plenty of camping to choose from. Start your day nestled beside the Fremont River in the lovely Fruita Campground, or explore the two free primitive campgrounds further into the park.
- Hiking - For travelers who find serenity in seclusion, Capitol Reef’s sprawling red rock hiking may be tough to beat. Start off with a hike on the Hickman Bridge Trail, or spend the day winding through the park’s awe inspiring slot canyons.
- Slow Down - Capitol Reef isn’t the type of place that calls for a packed itinerary. Slow down a bit while you’re here - visit the Pioneer Register site to see the names of historic miners and settlers, or visit the small town of Fruita to pick fruit from its orchards.
- Scenic Drive - In many parks the most beautiful destinations can’t be seen from the road. That’s not the case at Capitol Reef. Ramble down the 25-mile Capitol Reef Scenic Drive for breathtaking viewpoints and more likely than not, some great conversation.
- Canyoneering - Utah is known around the world for its spectacular slot canyons, many of which are found in Capitol Reef National Park. Explore the park’s most popular routes, learn about the required permits, and prepare for your trip here.
Discover these, and many more things to do in Capitol Reef National Park
More Capitol Reef Inspiration
Where to Stay
Hotels & Lodging
Check out the Capitol Reef Resort (found just outside the park in Torrey) for a unique place to stay. Guests can reserve comfortable rooms, cabins, or even a traditional teepee. Other great places to stay are The Lodge at Red River Ranch and the Red Sands Hotel & Spa.
Find more hotels and lodges near Capitol Reef
The Fruita Campground (five minutes south of the visitor center) is the only established campground in the park, offering 71 sites for tents, RVs, and trailers. Primitive camping can be found further into the park at Cathedral Valley Campground and Cedar Mesa Campground. Backcountry campsites are available as well, and require a backcountry permit which can be picked up at the park’s visitor center.
Learn more about camping at Capitol Reef
Discover the Capitol Reef Region
While it may have been the park’s stunning landscape that called you to visit Capitol Reef, your journey shouldn’t end there. The region surrounding Capitol Reef is peppered with charming small towns, secluded getaways, and rich history. Pick fruit from the blissful orchard in Fruita, or wander aimlessly through a valley full of red rock goblins. No matter what brought you to the park, be sure to make some time to explore the Capitol Reef region.
Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry & Jurassic National Monument | 2 hours 30 minutes from Capitol Reef
Fishlake National Forest | 1 hour from Capitol Reef to Fish Lake
Fremont Indian State Park and Museum | 1 hour 45 minutes from Capitol Reef
Goblin Valley State Park | 1 hour 30 minutes from Capitol Reef
Millsite State Park | 1 hour 45 minutes from Capitol Reef
San Rafael Swell | 1 hour 45 minutes from Capitol Reef
The visitor center is open year-round. Several easy hiking trails and the park’s scenic drive are found near the visitor center. In only a couple hours, you can try a hike like Hickman Bridge or the Grand Wash and examine petroglyph panels left by the Fremont culture along S.R. 24.
With a half-day, add the 8-mile scenic drive past the visitor center and Fruita Historic District.
With a full day, and a high-clearance vehicle, you can explore the bulging uplift of rainbow-hued sandstone “reefs” and canyons of the Waterpocket Fold, or tour the Temples of the Sun and Moon and the rest of Cathedral Valley’s sculptured sandstone monoliths.
During harvest season (June–October, varies based on the fruit) pick your own fruit from the park’s orchards for free. You can take a bag of fruit to go for a nominal fee. After, definitely stop at the Gifford Homestead for a fresh, local pie.
With even more time, and the right supplies, request a free backcountry permit and discover yourself amid pristine wilderness.
Start hikes early, protect your skin, and take breaks to enjoy the scenery.
Capitol Reef is a certified International Dark Sky Park. Fit some stargazing into your itinerary.
More travel tips for visiting Capitol Reef
You’ll experience a combination of mountain and desert climates. From May–October, expect dry, warm weather in the 70°– 80°F range, and significant nighttime dips down to the 40°s. November–March is the coldest time, with daytime temperatures peaking under 50°F in November, 39°F in January and freezing overnight. Hardy travelers, however, will encounter stunning solitude amid snowcapped monoliths.
Need Help Planning? Follow an itinerary
Trip Planning and Tips
Explore key trip logistics including location, fees, climate, hours, campground information and other overnight options for Capitol Reef.
Must-See Capitol Reef
Take a scenic hike to a stunning natural bridge, harvest fresh fruit in season and explore the backcountry.
Capitol Reef National Park
3000 Utah 24
Torrey, Utah 84775