Capitol Reef National Park: Day Hikes

During our two days in Capitol Reef National Park, we took three relatively short day hikes: Cassidy Arch on Sunday morning (3.5 miles), Sulfur Creek on Sunday afternoon (3.0 miles), and Freemont Gorge Overlook on Monday afternoon (4.5 miles). We also ventured into the backcountry for a 14.0 mile overnight trip through Spring Canyon (discussed in a separate blog post).

On our way to the Cassidy Arch trailhead, we stopped to inspect some deserted mines along the cliff walls. When we approached near enough to read the signs, we saw that they were actually former uranium mines from the early 1900’s. The atomic bomb obviously hadn’t been invented yet, but the uranium was actually mined for its perceived ability to alleviate arthritis.

Warning sign

I’d already received my daily dose of vitamins with my breakfast cereal. Now that I had my daily dose of radiation, we were all set to get hiking.

The Cassidy Arch trail was probably our favorite of the three day hikes. After a steep upward climb (670’), the trail hugged the cliff edge before coming to an end directly over the gigantic arch.

Climbing to Cassidy Arch

Allison watching woman rappel down

Matt on the arch

Unfortunately, the only way to observe the arch from below is to rappel down the cliff. Another young couple was doing just that when we arrived. Their rope actually got caught at one point, so I got the honors of belly crawling to the edge and freeing it up.

Allison near the cliff's edge

Since it was still a bit too early to start on our backpacking trip, we killed some time hiking down Sulfur Creek and back. I honestly didn’t think it was all that impressive, particularly compared with what we’d see in Spring Canyon. Nice warm-up hike though.

Route to Sulfur Creek

After returning from our backpacking trip the next day and swinging by Subway for lunch, we drove back into the park to climb the Freemont Gorge Overlook trail (1090’ elevation gain). The view from the top was certainly worth the effort, which was considerable in this case. We had to climb fast to avoid some of the oncoming thunderstorms (successfully I might add).

Fremont Gorge Overlook trail

Interesting red rock

Fremont Gorge

Satirical attempt at artistic photography

We finished the hike around 4:00pm, just in time to play 9 holes of disc golf before dinner. The course was pretty unique, considering its proximity to the national park (2 miles or so). I definitely should have worn the hiking boots instead of my running shoes, however; a cactus needle easily penetrated the mesh and buried itself nearly an inch into the side of my foot.

Hole #6

Hole #9

After the disc golf, we shared a pizza and hit the road for Grand Teton National Park.

Approximate Total Distance: 11.0 miles (3 day hikes)

Published in: on May 24, 2011 at 3:01 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Disc golf and beautiful scenery…doesn’t get much better than that! What a great experience.

  2. The rock formations are beautiful to look at in your photos…majestic for sure but the colors are really something. We never made it to the Tetons when we traveled but have had many people tell us that area is their favorite spot for beauty. (Be careful-I wasn’t going to say it but I couldn’t help myself.)

  3. It is obvious that we serve a mighty and wonderful God. This trip has given you the opportunity to enjoy His creation up close and personally. What a great opportunity to draw closer to Him and each other!

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