Capitol Reef National Park in Winter

Moonrise over The Castle in winter, Capitol Reef National Park, March 2015

Moonrise over The Castle in winter, Capitol Reef National Park, March 2015

Recording roughly 700,000 visitors per year—many of whom had never heard of the place before stumbling upon it—Capitol Reef National Park is much less touted that in its famous neighbors: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Zion. The reward of Capitol Reef? A much higher likelihood of solitude. Visiting during the winter months almost guarantees such a feeling of aloneness—the parking lots empty, the trails deserted. Yet with a sprinkling of snow (Capitol Reef received perhaps 12 inches this winter in total), the Wingate sandstone cliffs and the Kayenta benches of the Waterpocket Fold come alive in photographs, making winter a spectacular time to visit—and to hike.

Enjoy below a small sampling of photographs from various locations in the park. All were taken within a few miles of the principal artery through Capitol Reef—Highway 24—yet, being off the typical tourist track, provided an assurance of solitude.

East boundary, Capitol Reef National Park, after a small snowstorm

East boundary, Capitol Reef National Park, after a small snowstorm

Chimney Rock Canyon in snow, Capitol Reef National Park

Chimney Rock Canyon in snow, Capitol Reef National Park

Upper Spring Canyon in snow, Capitol Reef National Park

Upper Spring Canyon in snow, Capitol Reef National Park

Fremont River near Mile Marker 84, Capitol Reef National Park

Fremont River near Mile Marker 84, Capitol Reef National Park

Fremont River oxbow, roughly 6 miles east of the Visitor Center

Fremont River oxbow, roughly 6 miles east of the Visitor Center

Panorama of oxbow in Fremont River, Capitol Reef National Park

Panorama of oxbow in Fremont River, Capitol Reef National Park

Small box canyon off Highway 24 known to locals as "Party Canyon", Capitol Reef National Park

Small box canyon off Highway 24 known to locals as “Party Canyon”, Capitol Reef National Park

Dryfall at end of "Party Canyon," Capitol Reef National Park

Dryfall at end of “Party Canyon,” Capitol Reef National Park

Sunset on the Waterpocket Fold from Highway 24

Sunset on the Waterpocket Fold from Highway 24

This entry was posted in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Capitol Reef National Park in Winter

  1. Ally Lybbert says:

    Would it be possible to hike the trails without extensive gear around this time of year (Feb/March)?

    • Andrew Wojtanik says:

      Hi Ally – you can almost certainly hike the maintained trails in winter without gear. I spent the whole winter there and hiked every weekend – it only snowed 3 or 4 times, and even then, it was possible to trudge through the snow without gear. The only thing impassable immediately after a snowstorm would be the slot canyons, which will likely fill with chilly water.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s