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National Parks: Capitol Reef

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

Most of the scrambling on this thru-hike is straightforward for confident, experienced hikers. But you’ll still likely hit a few places where you’ll feel safer climbing without a heavy, water-laden pack, which can throw you off balance. Err on the side of caution: Remove your pack and haul it up (bring a 40-foot rope). First, empty the side and shove-it pockets, as any hard objects stowed there will cause significant fabric abrasion when scraped across rock. Likewise, repack hard items like fuel canisters and pots, so their hard edges won’t cause the same thing to happen to the pack bag. Next, tie one end of the rope to your pack’s haul strap (add a backup loop as well, but avoid dragging it by key hip or shoulder straps). Use a bowline knot*, which is easy to untie after being loaded by the pack’s weight. Now pull it straight up the fall line. (Learn more at

*Tie a Bowline: The rope’s long end is the “tree” the loop is the “rabbit hole” and the rope’s short end is the “rabbit". Make the rabbit jump out of the hole, go around the tree, and dive down the hole.

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