Winter in Capitol Reef Country

Capitol Reef Winter

Winter snows blanket formations at Capitol Reef National Park

Winter is a wonderful time to visit Capitol Reef Country. With elevations ranging from 4,000 to 11,000 feet, you’re sure to find the perfect climate and scenery for your ideal winter adventure. Higher elevations promise lots of snow for cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, and snowmobiling. Lower elevations set ideal conditions for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and off-roading adventures.

x-country skiing utah capitol reef

Cross country skiing offers a great way to traverse the back-country of the Capitol Reef region.

Snowmobiling Utah

Riding snowmobiles in the Capitol Reef back-country can provide access to spectacular scenic overlooks

Capitol Reef National Park is particularly enjoyable in winter, with a light visitor load and gorgeous, occasionally snow-dusted solitude. The mild daytime temperatures at Capitol Reef Country’s lower desert elevations are perfect for winter hiking, biking, horseback riding, wildlife watching, and photography, or simply taking in the scenic beauty and sunny skies.

Check your Capitol Reef trail map to see which trails follow exposed, sunny ridges, and which trails descend into deep, shaded canyons where temperatures will be much colder. Open trails are perfect for winter hiking, and you may even see some wildlife. Mule deer, eagle, hawks, coyotes, foxes and other small animals are typically sighted around Capitol Reef National Park in winter.

Wildlife viewing winter utah

Wildlife are often much easier to spot during winter months.

Winter is also a great time to explore Capitol Reef National Park by car, or for off-roading on rough, unpaved four-wheel drive roads. Highway 24 to Capitol Reef National Park is well maintained, and so is the Scenic Drive that winds through the heart of the park. Even the unpaved roads at lower elevations are pretty accessible in winter. Higher elevation roads and true backcountry roads may be impassible, so be sure to check with park rangers for road conditions. Winter is usually a great time of year to explore remote Cathedral Valley by car or mountain bike, as long as conditions are dry.

The Burr Trail is a great winter road, running from the heart of Capitol Reef National Park to Boulder and beyond. It’s best to make this scenic drive during dry conditions, as the Burr Trail’s renowned switchbacks may be dangerously icy during wet conditions, especially following a winter storm.

Winter is a good time to try ice fishing on one of Boulder Mountain’s high elevation lakes. With elevations up to 11,000 feet, blankets of snow are sure to cover the evergreen pine forests, setting the stage for beautiful solitude. Thousand Lake Mountain and Fish Lake Mountain also offer opportunities for winter fishing, hiking, and snow sports.

Torrey, Bicknell, Teasdale, Grover, and Caineville are just some of the  communities that make a great home base for winter visits to Capitol Reef National Park.  Always check weather conditions before heading out on a winter adventure in Capitol Reef Country, dress in layers, and use common sense when exploring the remote areas. Most of all, enjoy the beauty, peace and solitude of Capitol Reef Country in winter.  Learn more about winter in Capitol Reef Country.

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