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Capitol Gorge Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

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Gorge hiking, modern petroglyphs, water tanks and hidden arch
Near:Torrey, UT
Distance:2 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:400 ft
Hike Time:1.5 hours
Trail Condition:OK, but a few difficult spots
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: This hike follows the gorge for the first mile, varing in width from 50' in places to about 10' at its narrowest. We followed the dry creek bed down the middle of the gorge, missing the actual trail on the far left side of the gorge. The creek bed was more initeresting, but we missed the sign for petroglyphs, about a 1/4 of a mile into the hike. We caught the sign on the way back, but still had trouble making out the alleged petroglyphs. After another 1/4 of a mile is the Pioneer Register. This is a series of names and dates from the late 1800's thru the early 1900's.

Continuing down the gorge, you will come to a spur trail on your left, for the tanks. These are well worth the scramble up the rocks and slickrock. The trail is a series of switchbacks, marked with rock cairns, sometimes hard to follow. The tanks are a series of large potholes, some with water, some dry. Be sure and find the small arch in the drainage on your descent from the tanks.

Trailhead: From the Visitor Center, take the "Scenic Drive" past the Fruita Campground, for 10 miles until the paved section ends. The road turns to dirt, and splits. Take the left branch for an additional 3 miles. The road is rough, but passable in good weather for all vehicles (in many ways, the drive on the dirt road is more scenic that the actual hike). At the end of the dirt road is a gravel parking area. The trail starts at the end of the parking lot, by a covered shelter. (Lat:38.1256 Lon:-111.1022)
Trail Guides for Capitol Gorge Trail, Capitol Reef National Park:
Utahs National Parks
by Ron Adkison (Wilderness Press)

Best Seasons: Fall, Spring,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: National Park Service - (435) 425-3791
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Ron Long, who has posted  22 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Submit your own review
Reviewed by KC on 11/30/2006
I just did this in November. It was beautiful. My favorite part of the hike was the tanks. You should go up to them for sure. Follow the tanks down and see the small Natural Bridge. It is gorgeous.

Reviewed by Joel Sax on 10/17/2003
There are many fascinating features along this route. A natural bridge, the tanks, pioneer inscriptions, and petroglyphs. This is not a trail to rush through, but to saunter, so that you can enjoy the many features that will surprise you along the way.

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Utah Hiking, Utah Trails, Utah Hikes, Wayne County Hiking, Wayne County Trails, Wayne County Hikes

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