The hike to Goosenecks Overlook in Capitol Reef National Park is not much of a hike at all, and the round trip can be completed in as little as 5-10 minutes. The 600-foot trail, however, does lead to a fine viewpoint of Sulphur Creek as it snakes its way through a rugged canyon 800 feet below.
From the Visitor Center, drive west on Highway 24 for approximately 2.5 miles. Turn left at the marked sign (“Panorama Point, Goosenecks”) and follow the 1-mile dirt track (passable to 2WD in dry conditions) to its end. Two short trails take off from the parking area: a 0.7-mile out-and-back jaunt to Sunset Point (see here) and the even shorter walk to the Goosenecks Overlook.
The Goosenecks Trail comprises a single switchback and a few rocky steps before gaining the top of a ridge overlooking Sulphur Creek Canyon. Upon cresting the hill, the dusty track cuts through a small block of Moenkopi, a sedimentary rock layer dating to the Triassic period. Thereafter, the route dips and approaches the brim of the canyon, where a metal fence marks the end of the trail.
The view down to Sulphur Creek is impressive—here the perennial stream has carved a deep, multicolor gorge that encompasses three separate rock layers: the Moenkopi formation and Permian-era Kaibab Limestone and White Rim Sandstone, the oldest strata represented in the park. To the west, Sulphur Creek has formed what is known as an “entrenched meander,” in which the canyon-cutting stream creates a bend so tight that it nearly doubles back on itself. (The area’s most famous goosenecks are found at Goosenecks State Park in southeastern Utah.) A newly-installed wayside exhibit at the overlook offers an introductory look at the geology of this portion of Capitol Reef.