Capitol Reef
Hiking Trails

Chimney Rock
This loop trail starts with a steep climb up greenish clays to the high rim above Chimney Rock, a pinnacle with a golden Shinarump cap that protects the lower red Moenkopi Formation from erosion.   Near the top of the climb, a sign marks the intersection with the Spring Canyon Trail, a rugged backcountry route. Bearing right brings you to spectacular views of Chimney Rock, the face of the Reef, and Fruita. The trail then gradually winds down the side of a large wash and brings you under Wingate cliffs rich with the red, pink, and salmon colors of the “Sleeping Rainbow,” the name given this area by early American Indians.
As the trail loops back toward its start, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the gray-green and maroon colors of the Chinle Formation, famous for petrified wood.    (Please leave any pieces you may find for others to enjoy.) You’re now in a more sheltered area, where single-leaf ash and juniper find life easier than on the windswept rim above. Another sign marks where the Spring Canyon Trail goes down canyon – stay left and continue back to the descent that takes you to lower ground and your car.   

Distance: 3.5 miles round-trip (loop trail).
Elevation change: 600 feet. 
Average time: 3-4 hours.
Getting there: Off Hwy 24 (west entrance of the park). 
Details: Restroom at trailhead. Take plenty of water.
General: Strenuous climb at start, then moderate. Mild exposure on the first stretch, which may be hazardous if wet.


Fish Lake Area Trail
This trail follows the western shores of Fish Lake from Lakeside Resort to Bowery Haven
Resort at 8,860 feet in elevation. Access is available along a number of locations just off Highway U-25. Historical Interpretive Signs can be found along this trail.   Horses are not permitted along this section of the Lakeshore Trail.

• Difficulty: Easy
• Length: 3 miles
• Designation: Non-motorized National Recreation Trail
• Trailhead: Located west of Dr. Creek Campground


Goosenecks / Sunset Point
The Goosenecks. A short climb brings you to an over-look where you can lean into the giddy depths of the Goosenecks of Sulphur Creek, 800 feet below.  

Sunset Point: This trail is for amblers – it invites you to take your time, look around, and think about nothing, or at the very least, about very little. This trail is especially enjoyable at sunset, when the last brilliant rays of desert light make Chimney Rock, Mummy Cliff, and the far escarpments glow with shades of maroon and purple that few artists could imagine.  The trail is a gradual gentle uphill to a small terrace edge where one can look down on a tall spire made of the same sculpted chocolate-red Moenkopi mudstones that underlie this area.   Benches along the trail and at its end invite a slow pace. Take a picnic or your easel – who knows,  maybe you will be the artist who captures that perfect sunset.

General: Two short trails, both easy.
Distance: Goosenecks: .2 miles round-trip.
Sunset Point: .7 mile round-trip.
Elevation change: both negligible
Average hiking time: Goosenecks: 15 minutes
Sunset Point: 30 minutes
Getting there: short drive off Highway 24, near the west entrance of the park.


South Caineville Mesa
This trail climbs to the top of Caineville Mesa on the south side of the Fremont River.  It is an elevation gain of approximately 1200 feet!  Parking is located off Highway 24 East of Caineville between mile post 100 and 101.  Look for an old gate by the hill on the south side of Highway 24.  Walk through the gate to the west side of the gully.  Walk south and ford the Fremont River to pick up the trail on the other side.  Follow the track/trail into this canyon of south mesa.  It will twist and turn to a narrow crack in the capstone which puts you on top.  Once on top, hike to the south to reach The Steele Sheepherders Cabin.  There are great unobstructed views all around.  Return the way you came up.  This is a good spring or fall hike, very hot in the summer.  Plan to get your feet wet fording the Fremont River. 

Distance:  5 miles round-trip to the top of the Mesa


East Pleasant Creek
This route is an easy trail for the whole family on a hot summer day. It follows Pleasant Creek east all the way through the waterpocket fold. Start your hike at the parking area just past the
Sleeping Rainbow Ranch at the end of Pleasant Creek Road. Head east toward the waterpocket fold following the winding course of the stream. Choose your own path and be prepared to rock hop or wade Pleasant Creek as it twists and turns its way through the canyon. The canyon views are spectacular and the creek does some very interesting things as it cuts through the sandstone. After approximately 3 miles the canyon opens up into the badlands south of the community of Notom. This is a good place to turn around and retrace your steps. This is a good hike to pack a picnic lunch with an average round trip hiking time of 4 hours depending on how far you go. Watch for turkey, signs of beaver activity and petroglyphs. Always be prepared for inclement weather.
Distance: 7 miles round trip • Time: 4-5 hours
Elevation change: negligible


Hike – Singletree Falls Trail
This is a short, little known trail that starts at the Singletree Forest Service Campground located on Scenic Byway 12 (approx. 10 miles south of Torrey).  This trail intersects the slick rock trail which leads to the Wildcat Ranger Station and Pleasant Creek.   Park in the campground. Find the small creek past the picnic area and follow it to the cattle gate. Close the gate behind you and take the trail down over Singletree Creek. Continue down to the sign for falls or slick rock trail. The falls are back about 75 yards.   You will hear the roar! Distance: 1 mile (to the falls and back)

Time: 1 hour
Tip: Take a walking stick


Hike – Fish Lake Area Trail
This trail follows the western shores of Fish Lake from Lakeside Resort to Bowery Haven Resort at 8,860 feet in elevation. Access is available along a number of locations just off Highway U-25. Historical Interpretive Signs can be found along this trail. Horses are not permitted along this section of the Lakeshore Trail.

Difficulty: ....... Easy
Length: .......... 3 miles
Designation:.... Non-motorized National Recreation Trail
Trailhead:....... Located west of Dr. Creek Campground

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