Recently we posted on this blog about South Caineville Mesa. Both North and South Caineville Mesa Trails are near the Cathedral Valley of Capitol Reef National Park, just above the Fremont River flood plain. When hiking this desolate landscape you’ll see some of the most remarkable terrain imaginable and quite possibly feel like you’ve walked to the ends of the earth.
Get started early on these remote trails for two reasons: One, the early morning shadows are incredible, and two, you don’t want to hike these strenuous trails in the heat of the day when there’s no escape from the sun (depending on weather conditions, a mid-day hike could be okay during the winter).
North Caineville Mesa is fairly short, about a mile long, and has a 1,200 foot elevation gain. The trail is mostly rocky with some sandy parts, and steep all around. It’s a great year-round hike as long as the weather is good, and just like South Caineville Mesa, the early morning light casts the most dramatic shadows. Some people take the slightly easier route from the back side of the mesa but most people head up the face. Please note this is a short route but quite steep.
Park on the south side of Highway 24 near the old cement truck, cross the road, and find the trail-head at the base of the closest grey foothill. The trail follows the face of the mesa and there are a few tight spaces to crawl through. When you reach the top, you’ve also reached the highest point in Caineville. Prepare to be amazed at the view. The hike should take about half an hour to an hour.
Caineville is just off Highway 24 on the east side of Capitol Reef NP. There is one motel and a campground. Follow this link on Google Maps to the beginning point for this hike. Here’s a complete PDF itinerary for the North Caineville Mesa hike.