Planning on a trip to Capitol Reef? Good for you. You're in for a real treat. Let us help you with the perfect itinerary for your 3 day trip.
Day 1: Chimney Rock Trail, Visitor Center
Day 2: Cathedral Valley, Cassidy Arch and Hickman Bridge, Gifford house
Day 3: Capitol George
gluten free options. Enjoy our full bar where we carry a variety of wines and local Utah beer to compliment our entrees. NOTE: During Covid-19 we are adjusting our menu to accommodate to go orders. An indoor pool and hot tub opens up to a patio in the warmer months. If hiking just isn't enough for you use our onsite gym. Relax at our outdoor fire pit and warm up on the chilly nights or hang out on the star deck to relax and enjoy the stars. After checking in visit our map room to collect your maps of the area and information on local activities.
If you have time for a hike on Day 1 we recommend a trip to the visitor center and a quick hike up Chimney Rock Trail only .5 miles but a nice elevation change of 590 feet. (If you have more time you can hike the whole loop of 3.6 miles)
No need to go far for breakfast the Rock Garden is located on the first floor of the hotel.Order breakfast and boxed lunches to go online and receive a text message when it's ready to be picked up. Need your espresso to get you going in the morning? We've got you covered at our coffee bar open during breakfast hours. If you're a planner you can order your meals the night before and set a pick up time to grab them before you head out on the trails.
This is the day we recommend venturing out a bit. You'll want to pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and hiking gear. We like to give you two options to choose from depending on your activity level and the weather. The All Trails.com App is great to download maps you may need in case you loose cell service. In our experience you will lose cell service on most trails in Capitol Reef.
Cathedral Valley Driving Loop
This driving loop takes about 6-8 hours to complete. Most visitors to Cathedral Valley drive the 57.6 mile (92.7 km) loop clockwise, beginning on the Hartnet Road located 11.7 miles (18.8 km) east of the visitor center on Highway 24 and continuing on that for 27.8 miles (44.7 km) to Hartnet Junction. Turn right (north) onto Cathedral Road and driving 29.9 miles (48.0 km) back to Highway 24 will complete the loop. There are many side trips and hiking opportunities along the way.
The south end of the Hartnet Road near Highway 24 requires fording the Fremont River; there is no bridge over the river. Do not attempt to cross the river during floods or other periods of high water. Ask at the visitor center about river ford conditions or call 435-425-3791. The ford has a hard packed, rocky bottom and water levels are normally a foot or less deep. The access road to the River Ford crosses private land. Please honor the posted no trespassing signs along the road near the ford by not parking off-road or camping in the vicinity.
We recommend starting with Hickman Bridge. This hike is just under 2 miles round trip and ends with a stunning 133 foot natural bridge. This is considered a moderate hike and one for all ages.
Take a lunch break at one of the picnic areas located in Fruita Park. Turn in at the visor center and keep driving towards the camp ground until you see the grassy area with picnic tables and parking. Keep your eyes open for a wild turkey or a friendly deer. After lunch you can pick up a home made pie or ice cream from the Gifford house.
Cassidy Arch would make a great hike to finish off your day. The trail is 3.4 miles round trip and has a 670 elevation raise. The pay off is a Beautiful arch stretching over a 70 foot drop down a canyon. You may see a canyoneerer getting ready to drop down the cliff.
Retreat back to the Red Sands Hotel for a shower and dinner at the Rock Garden Eatery and Bar. We can take care of you with dine in and take out service. The pool and hot tub make a nice place to unwind before drying off for some star gazing.
You may want to get a quick hike in before heading out. We recommend the Capitol Gorge trail. It's an easy 2 mile round trip hike. Don't miss the historical inscriptions on the rock walls ending with a small climb to see the "waterpockets" tanks. After your hike before heading home stop along highway 24 to see the petroglyphs left behind by the ancient native Americans.
We hope you come to visit. Theres so much more than this we'd love to share! Check out our other posts for more itinerary ideas.