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Capitol Reef National Park, UT

January Averages
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Capitol Reef National Park, UT

February Averages
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Capitol Reef National Park, UT

March Averages
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Capitol Reef National Park, UT

April Averages
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Capitol Reef National Park, UT

May Averages
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Capitol Reef National Park, UT

June Averages
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0.8 precipation in inches

Capitol Reef National Park, UT

July Averages
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Capitol Reef National Park, UT

August Averages
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1.7 precipation in inches

Capitol Reef National Park, UT

September Averages
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Capitol Reef National Park, UT

October Averages
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1.4 precipation in inches

Capitol Reef National Park, UT

November Averages
H 48°    L 30° temperatures in °F
0.8 precipation in inches

Capitol Reef National Park, UT

December Averages
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0.6 precipation in inches

Capitol Reef National Park

Where pioneer orchards meet wild and unexpected geology

Capitol Reef National Park is open,but services and activities may be limited.
Find out about current conditions.


Even considering Utah’s many impressive national parks and monuments, it is difficult to rival Capitol Reef National Park’s sense of expansiveness, of broad, sweeping vistas, of a tortured, twisted, seemingly endless landscape, or of limitless sky and desert rock. While Bryce and Zion are like encapsulated little fantasy lands of colored stone and soaring cliffs, the less-visited Capitol Reef is almost like a planet unto itself. Here you get a real feel for what the earth might have been like before life appeared, when nothing existed but earth and sky.

Things To Do

  • Camping - As one of Utah’s less crowded national parks, there is plenty of camping to choose from. Start your day nestled beside the Fremont River in the lovely Fruita Campground, or explore the two free primitive campgrounds further into the park.
  • Hiking - For travelers who find serenity in seclusion, Capitol Reef’s sprawling red rock hiking may be tough to beat. Start off with a hike on the Hickman Bridge Trail, or spend the day winding through the park’s awe inspiring slot canyons.
  • Slow Down - Capitol Reef isn’t the type of place that calls for a packed itinerary. Slow down a bit while you’re here - visit the Pioneer Register site to see the names of historic miners and settlers, or visit the small town of Fruita to pick fruit from its orchards.
  • Scenic Drive - In many parks the most beautiful destinations can’t be seen from the road. That’s not the case at Capitol Reef. Ramble down the 25-mile Capitol Reef Scenic Drive for breathtaking viewpoints and more likely than not, some great conversation.
  • Canyoneering - Utah is known around the world for its spectacular slot canyons, many of which are found in Capitol Reef National Park. Explore the park’s most popular routes, learn about the required permits, and prepare for your trip here.

Discover these, and many more things to do in Capitol Reef National Park


More Capitol Reef Inspiration


Where to Stay

Hotels & Lodging

Check out the Capitol Reef Resort (found just outside the park in Torrey) for a unique place to stay. Guests can reserve comfortable rooms, cabins, or even a traditional teepee. Other great places to stay are The Lodge at Red River Ranch and the Red Sands Hotel & Spa.

Find more hotels and lodges near Capitol Reef

Camping

The Fruita Campground (five minutes south of the visitor center) is the only established campground in the park, offering 71 sites for tents, RVs, and trailers. Primitive camping can be found further into the park at Cathedral Valley Campground and Cedar Mesa Campground. Backcountry campsites are available as well, and require a backcountry permit which can be picked up at the park’s visitor center.

Learn more about camping at Capitol Reef


 

Walking Off the Ledge Into Capitol Reef

by Paula Colman

Much of Southern Utah is a collision of geologic formations that are individually associated with popular Arches and Zion national parks. Capitol Reef is a capsule of them all. As you stare across the ledge, you realize that some of the best scenery is only accessible by dropping in, 20, 50, sometimes 100 feet or more. Follow Utah blogger Paula Colman on she walks off the ledge into Capitol Reef ...

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Discover the Capitol Reef Region

While it may have been the park’s stunning landscape that called you to visit Capitol Reef, your journey shouldn’t end there. The region surrounding Capitol Reef is peppered with charming small towns, secluded getaways, and rich history. Pick fruit from the blissful orchard in Fruita, or wander aimlessly through a valley full of red rock goblins. No matter what brought you to the park, be sure to make some time to explore the Capitol Reef region.

  1. Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry & Jurassic National Monument | 2 hours 30 minutes from Capitol Reef

  2. Fishlake National Forest | 1 hour from Capitol Reef to Fish Lake

  3. Fremont Indian State Park and Museum | 1 hour 45 minutes from Capitol Reef

  4. Goblin Valley State Park | 1 hour 30 minutes from Capitol Reef

  5. Millsite State Park | 1 hour 45 minutes from Capitol Reef

  6. San Rafael Swell | 1 hour 45 minutes from Capitol Reef

Looking for an itinerary to guide you through the Capitol Reef region? We've created one giving start to finish destinations to guide and help you make the most of your journey.


Nearby towns


Travel Tips

  • The visitor center is open year-round. Several easy hiking trails and the park’s scenic drive are found near the visitor center. In only a couple hours, you can try a hike like Hickman Bridge or the Grand Wash and examine petroglyph panels left by the Fremont culture along S.R. 24. 

  • With a half-day, add the 8-mile scenic drive past the visitor center and Fruita Historic District. 

  • With a full day, and a high-clearance vehicle, you can explore the bulging uplift of rainbow-hued sandstone “reefs” and canyons of the Waterpocket Fold, or tour the Temples of the Sun and Moon and the rest of Cathedral Valley’s sculptured sandstone monoliths. 

  • During harvest season (June–October, varies based on the fruit) pick your own fruit from the park’s orchards for free. You can take a bag of fruit to go for a nominal fee. After, definitely stop at the Gifford Homestead for a fresh, local pie.

  • With even more time, and the right supplies, request a free backcountry permit and discover yourself amid pristine wilderness.

  • Start hikes early, protect your skin, and take breaks to enjoy the scenery.

  • Capitol Reef is a certified International Dark Sky Park. Fit some stargazing into your itinerary.

  • Connect your visit with Bryce Canyon National Park by driving on the All-American Road: Scenic Byway 12, one of the most beautiful roads in the United States.

  • Read these resources to learn how to travel thoughtfully and experience Capitol Reef National Park most fully.

More travel tips for visiting Capitol Reef

Weather

You’ll experience a combination of mountain and desert climates. From May–October, expect dry, warm weather in the 70°– 80°F range, and significant nighttime dips down to the 40°s. November–March is the coldest time, with daytime temperatures peaking under 50°F in November, 39°F in January and freezing overnight. Hardy travelers, however, will encounter stunning solitude amid snowcapped monoliths.

Need Help Planning? Follow an itinerary

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:: Start Over

Welcome to a region where natural and human history meet; where ancient stone domes sheltered and inspired generations of native peoples and settlers alike.
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • San Rafael Swell
  • Goblin Valley State Park
  • Fremont Indian State Park
Tucked between the popular kids — Zion and Moab — Capitol Reef Country is a morning drive from Salt Lake City. Once there, use this 4-day itinerary to choose from gorgeous hikes and adventurous rappelling then eat well at nearby Torrey and Boulder.
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gifford Homestead
  • Rappelling in Capitol Reef National Park
  • All-American Road Scenic Byway 12
  • Hell's Backbone Grill
Do everything you’d normally do on a National Park road trip, but when the stars come out, so do you. Red rock by day and serene dark skies by night, this stargazing trip includes nighttime splendor at certified International Dark Sky Parks.
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Stargazing in International Dark Sky Parks
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Cedar Breaks National Monument
  • All-American Road: Scenic Byway 12

What's Nearby?

Trip Planning and Tips

Explore key trip logistics including location, fees, climate, hours, campground information and other overnight options for Capitol Reef.

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Must-See Capitol Reef

Take a scenic hike to a stunning natural bridge, harvest fresh fruit in season and explore the backcountry.

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Top Hikes & Drives

See the best nearby hikes and scenic drives in and around Capitol Reef National Park.

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Capitol Reef National Park

3000 Utah 24
Torrey, Utah 84775

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