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Backpacker Magazine – June 2011

National Parks: Capitol Reef

Discover a private paradise by crossing the park’s convoluted Waterpocket Fold.

by: Steve Howe

Slickrock traverse in Capitol Reef National Park (Kim Phillips)
Slickrock traverse in Capitol Reef National Park (Kim Phillips)
Waterpocket Fold's sliced up sandstone (Kim Phillips)
Waterpocket Fold's sliced up sandstone (Kim Phillips)
View of the Henry Mountains (Kim Phillips)
View of the Henry Mountains (Kim Phillips)
Slickrock bowl in Capitol Reef (Kim Phillips)
Slickrock bowl in Capitol Reef (Kim Phillips)
Henry Mountains form the backdrop to this route (Kim Phillips)
Henry Mountains form the backdrop to this route (Kim Phillips)



TRIP PLANNER

Trailhead/start
From the park visitor center, drive west on UT 24 for 3 miles to Chimney Rock trailhead.

Shuttle/end From the park visitor center, drive 9 miles east on UT 24, then turn south on Notom Rd. Continue 6.2 miles (road becomes dirt). Turn east at 5560 South/Pleasant Creek Diversion Rd. Go 1.6 miles and park in a turnoff overlooking Pleasant Creek.

Permits Free; pick up at the visitor center’s Backcountry desk.

Water You need carrying capacity for 2 gallons per person in warm weather and a filter to treat sometimes murky water. Our GPS track includes waypoints for potholes that are typically reliable, but sources can come and go.

Cautions Expect scrambling, difficult routefinding, and uncertain water sources. Never trust the rocks, which are loose. Cell reception is nil in the backcountry, so don’t count on a speedy rescue.

Key gear High-cut boots or ankle gaiters to repel grit; trekking poles; water shoes or sandals; 40-foot rope for pack hauling.

Season Spring is popular for wildflower seekers. Late September and early October see far fewer visitors, calm blue skies, and gold cottonwoods. Summer highs reach the 90s.

Maps USGS 7.5-minute topos: Twin Rocks, Fruita, Golden Throne, and Notom ($8 each, store.usgs.gov)

Info (435) 425-4111; nps.gov/care

Trip data Get a complete tracklog at backpacker.com/hikes/reef






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Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Derick
May 04, 2012

Link is not working, it is saying link is private.

BP Web Producer
Mar 09, 2012

The link is working now. Thanks.

Drew Doty
Feb 25, 2012

Yup the gps link would be nice!

Nalaw
Feb 23, 2012

The link to the GPS tracklog is bad. Any ideas I really wanted to do this hike!

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