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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)



BEST WEEKEND: CAPITOL GORGE TO PLEASANT CREEK

campsites sit in the broad slickrock bowls between Capitol Gorge and Pleasant Creek. Exploring this country requires routefinding southward from the eastern park boundary in lower Capitol Gorge, up along anonymous piñon-juniper ridgelines, and past superb viewpoints of the Waterpocket Fold’s amazing geology. There’s no trail, but it’s a relatively short distance, with no hazards (if you encounter any technical terrain, you’re off route). After just two miles, break out onto naked slickrock, where you can wander almost at will, searching for flat tent sites, small ponderosa groves, and clear-water potholes. It’s easy to follow the stony saddles southward. Most highpoints offer superb vistas along the Reef, or southeast toward the distant Henry Mountains. Take extra food. You won’t want to leave. Find our favorite site here: 12S 0486158E 4227575N. Download the tracklog at backpacker.com/hikes/1079393.




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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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