Jeep Adventures – Capitol Reef Country
Capitol Reef Country has so many fantastic Jeep trails to explore, and with varying lengths and levels of difficulty you can really find one that’s perfect for you. Capitolreef.org has a great interactive feature to help pin down the perfect trail. Visit www.capitolreef.org/trails-search.html and use the dropdown menus to narrow your search by location, difficulty, and type of trail. Each trail page will bring up detailed information, trail tips, photos, and a map—you can even download and print a take-along PDF file. So, for example, if you’re looking for an easy Jeep trail near Hanksville, simply choose those search parameters and then read up on Angel Point, Horseshoe Canyon, Robber’s Roost, and Planets to the Past.
Preparation Notes: Always go prepared with plenty of fuel, food, water, a first aid kit, and other necessary supplies. Check the weather forecast and remember that higher elevation trails can get rain, sleet, hail, or even snow at almost any time of year. Road conditions can change dramatically during inclement weather. We encourage you to check with appropriate land agencies to gain additional information, as needed.
Easy to Moderate
Jeep newbies and families will want to start out on easy on the axle. Easy trails are usually maintained and available year round. North Slope begins in Teasdale, and is easy until the last few rocky miles. Slow your roll and take in the scenery—and consider hiking from Green Lake to the mountain peak at 11,000 feet for the best views. Swing Arm City is an open area near Caineville is known more for the challenges than the views; you’ll find all levels of terrain here. Near Hanksville, the Angel Point trail is mostly maintained surface with a few red sand and dirt patches, and has some of the most spectacular views you’ll find around Capitol Reef. Inside Canyonlands National Park, the 27-mile Horseshoe Canyon trail includes a 2-mile hike and a narrow passage along the cliff’s edge. The Robber’s Roost trail takes you deep into the remote heart of outlaw country, and Planets to the Past rides through rugged, red rock terrain so out-of-this-world it’s used as a research station to gain insight to the Red Planet.
For more intergalactic-style off-road adventure, hit the lunar landscape of Moonscapes and Goblins trail (see trail list). The Jeep trail begins at Factory Butte off Highway 24 in Hanksville, and passes through terrain that looks like the moon, with views of mythical Goblin Valley in the distance. Also near Hanksville are Bull Creek Pass, a 68-mile self-guided auto and hiking trail through the Henry Mountains (one of the last areas in the U.S. to be explored), and Blue Benches, a Class B maintained road with some wash crossings and Class D spur roads for extra adventure.
Other moderate Jeep trails in Capitol Reef Country include Velvet Ridge/Hell’s Hole and Lower Bowns/Oak Creek near Torrey, Dark Valley Trail in Bicknell, Tidwell Slopes near Loa, Burro Wash East near Notom. The 60-mile Cathedral Valley loop connects to Highway 24 near Caineville, and passes through part of Capitol Reef National Park. You’ll find fascinating monoliths and desert vistas here so awe-inspiring they beckon travelers from around the world.
The Donkey Reservoir staging area is in Teasdale. The trail is mostly maintained with dirt and rocky areas but weather conditions can rapidly change the difficulty. It’s about 6.8 miles from the staging area to Donkey Reservoir, and along the way you’ll see the largest Ponderosa pine in Dixie National Forest—a true testament to the extreme beauty of the landscape.
Adrenaline junkies with hardcore off-road experience may want to challenge the Poison Spring trail that leads down to the Dirty Devil River. The staging area is just off Highway 95 in Hanksville. Plan at least 2.5 hours for the 32-mile round-trip trail. Extremely challenging, you’ll wind through canyons, cross washes, and wedge through narrow passages. Come prepared with fuel and supplies. It’s a thrill-a-minute along this remote, rocky trail!
Visit www.capitolreef.org/trails-search.html to learn more.