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This hike is accessed from the southern end of Capitol Reef’s scenic drive. The shuttle is exactly five miles, and easily mountain-bikable. Leave a shuttle vehicle at your ending trailhead, next to the old corral at Pleasant Creek. Then backtrack and start from the signed Capitol Gorge trailhead. Standard sedans can reach both trailheads in most weather.
Hike through Capitol Gorge, keeping an eye our for Fremont rock art and historic ‘cowboyglyphs’ on the canyon’s left/north wall. Exiting the reef to the east, turn south at the rusted, ruined truck on the park’s eastern boundary. Climb southwest onto rounded, badland ridges and look for the critical canyon crossing (SBT 005) that leads to the sandstone heights atop the Waterpocket Fold, where you can probably find multiple potholes containing water (see ‘pool’ and ‘pothole’ waypoints).
Hike south following the line of least resistance across broad bowls and low slickrock passes. Then descend a polished rock canyon to the southeast, where you’lll intersect an old irrigation ditch which leads you to the flowing water of Pleasant Creek. Follow the creek upstream until it exits the reef and soon arrives at your trailhead.
Navigation Note: Most Southern Utah maps are NAD27 datum.
- Distance: 20.1
SBT 001: 0.00 Mi CAPITOL GORGE TRAILHEAD
Location: 38.209466, -111.168575
SBT 002: 0.85 JCT w/ TANKS TRAIL
Location: 38.214193, -111.156265
SBT 003: 2.33 Mi OLD TRUCK
Location: 38.22289, -111.13782
SBT 004: 2.43 Mi CROSS FENCE AT SURVEY BENCHMARK
Location: 38.221887, -111.13823
SBT 005: 2.81 Mi DESCEND GULLY
Location: 38.218826, -111.141485
SBT 006: 3.51 Mi CROSS NECK ON RIDGELINE
Location: 38.211148, -111.147389
SBT 007: 4.16 Mi IMP WAYPOINT AND KILLER VIEWS OF REEF
Location: 38.205213, -111.152537
SBT 008: 4.7 Mi SLICKROCK EXPANSE BEGINS
Location: 38.199227, -111.156148
SBT 009: 5.33 Mi POTHOLES IN DRAINAGE BELOW
Location: 38.195842, -111.155804
SBT 010: 6.13 Mi EXCELLENT VIEWS TO HENRY MTNS
Location: 38.191569, -111.155907
SBT 011: 7.09 Mi POOLS
Location: 38.190815, -111.14904
SBT 012: 7.71 Mi POTHOLES
Location: 38.194165, -111.142617
SBT 013: 8.76 Mi IRRIGATION DITCH
Location: 38.192825, -111.130121
SBT 014: 9.63 Mi CROSS RINCON NECK
Location: 38.184965, -111.13829
SBT 015: 12.47 Mi END AT OLD CORRAL
Location: 38.183238, -111.179735
5.5 Mi MY BIVY
Location: 38.1965049, -111.1541399