Hello Michael,

Just skimming some of your stuff on Capitol Reef National Park. My fiancee and I, along with her two girls (age 11 and 12), are planning a family trip to Capitol Reef. The girls are quite athletic. I’d love to take them on dayhikes to some of the less-traveled spots in and around the park. What would you regard as “don’t miss?” We may also bring ropes and harnesses. Thinking of the Stegosaur Canyon trip. Anything else like this with minor rappelling and ropework? I was thinking of calling your guide friend Steve Howe, as well.

Love your blog, Michael. Thanks in advance,

Boise, ID


David Gordon backpacking the Beehive Traverse, Capitol Reef National Park.

David Gordon backpacking the Beehive Traverse, Capitol Reef National Park.

Hi Jeff,

Check out my All National Parks Trips page and scroll down to Capitol Reef National Park—lots of ideas for you there. The most adventurous and gorgeous trip would be the first story on that list, hiring my friend Steve Howe, who owns Redrock Adventure Guides, to take you on his three-day, mostly off-trail Beehive Traverse (the section I write about in that story). I’d take my kids on it, or any kids who can handle really rugged terrain for 6-7 miles/day (but several hours/day), some exposure, and carrying extra water, but it’s not technical (no ropes needed).

For one-day trips with Steve, his Stegosaur Canyon descent is very cool, as is his partly off-trail loop hike, with two short, wild rappels, from The Tanks to the Great White Throne trailhead (both are described in this story). Forget about trying to find Steve’s hikes on your own, although you can hike off-trail for about a mile beyond the end of The Tanks Trail, and see some cool terrain, without any great navigational difficulties (and then just double back). Otherwise, Capitol Reef is a maze once you head off-trail.

The Golden Throne Trail, Capitol Reef National Park.

The Golden Throne Trail, Capitol Reef National Park.

On your own, hike Navajo Knobs Trail, Cohab Canyon, Upper and/or Lower Muley Twist (Upper is a dayhike but we once spent a night on the rim of Upper, amazing views and sunset, but you have to carry all your water), Golden Throne Trail, Burro Canyon for a fun slot canyon dayhike (ask rangers whether there’s deep, cold water in it, and if so, save it for another day). Sulphur Creek is a fun morning hike (hot in the afternoon). Hike the Frying Pan Trail near Cohab and just wander off-trail (but keep track of where you are, it’s very confusing); it’s where I took the photo below. Backpack Spring Canyon for two to three days, including the short side loop on the Chimney Rock Loop.


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Myriad possibilities, really. Great park, and only the really short hikes like Hickman Bridge are crowded, although it’s getting a little more popular. Still, you’ll want to go back again.

See all of my stories about Capitol Reef National Park.

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