12 Things to do This Winter in Capitol Reef Country | Capitol Reef

12 Things to do This Winter in Capitol Reef Country

an illustration of two people hiking the Waterpocket Fold
In Capitol Reef National Park and surrounding areas, it’s still possible to enjoy the scenic landscape without the crowds, especially during the wintertime. The mild weather ensures adventure seekers, nature lovers and first-time visitors can spend a few days discovering the charm and character of Capitol Reef National Park without the crowd. To start you off, here are 12 excursions to try this winter.

Hike the Waterpocket Fold

This 100-mile long buckle provides endless cliffs, arches, canyons and colorful rock formations ready to hike or canyoneer. It’s no wonder Forbes magazine listed this as one of the best “secret hikes” in all of the US National Parks.

Take an ATV Guided Tour

With hundred of miles of diverse terrain available, visitors can choose a trail that matches their pace, from relaxing rides to white-knuckled adventures. Some outfitters are available year-round for guided day trips on ATVs.

Take a Scenic Drive on Cathedral Road

Scenic overlooks of the desert floor and alpine mountains have been enthralling visitors for decades. Stop by the Capitol Reef Visitor Station or call (435) 425-3791 for road conditions.

Photography at Sunset Point and Gooseneck Overlook

At Sunset Point and Gooseneck Overlook, shutterbugs appreciate the warm earth tones of the rocks. The reflecting light from the river and the silhouettes cast from monolithic rock formations create extraordinary visual texture that can only be found in this unique landscape.

Hike the Chimney Rock Trail

Located on the western end of Highway 24, this 3.5-mile hike packs in plenty to see. Thousand Lakes Mountain to the west and Boulder Mountain to the south frame the view around you. Always close by are distinctive, multi-hued rocks that define Capitol Reef National Park.

Horseback Riding Along Robbers Roost

Capitol Reef is home to numerous horse trails, but none as appealing as the ones traversed by outlaws and bandits during their exploits. The deep canyon and sandstone towers provide riders with the feel of being in a Western.

Stroll Along Grand Wash Trail

Walk in the 4.4-mil gorge between sandstones that reach up 500 feet into the sky like stone centurions. Grand Wash Trail, near Torrey, is both scenic and accessible for walkers of all levels.

Take a Selfie with Cassidy Arch in the Background

Create Instagram-ready selfies with a backdrop only a few millenia in the making.

Camp Under the Stars at Fruita Campground

Sleep under the stars and experience one of the few certified Dark Sky Parks in the country. With no light pollution to hinder the view, campers can see the clouds of the Milky Way while listening to nature’s symphony.

Travel Back In Time with Ancestral Fremont Indian Petroglyphs

The most pristine example of Capitol Reef petroglyphs can be seen 1.5-miles east of the visitor center on Highway 24. Step back in time and imagine what the ancient Fremont Indians, contemporaries of the Ancestral Puebloan people, were communicating through the petroglyphs.

Find a Geocache Location, or Create Your Own

This geographic treasure hunt requires a GPS-enabled device, such as a smartphone, to find the digital information and geocache containers hidden in the park. Play with friends for a competitive edge or use it to educate the little ones on the history of the park.

Wildlife Watching

Head to the Scenic Drive towards Capitol Gorge at dusk to see the park coms alive with the year-round residents. It is not uncommon to see Bighorn Sheep, marmots and deer. Near Bicknell, bird watchers will find a wide selection of birds slicing through the sky.

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