Hike in Capitol Reef National Park to experience one of the most beautiful and under-explored landforms on the Colorado Plateau, the iconic Waterpocket Fold. This monocline “reef” rises to 3,000 feet, exposing an incredible array of multicolored sandstone and limestone layers. The breathtaking rock formations and spectacular slot canyons are among the most beautiful geologic features on earth, often referred to as the “sleeping rainbow.” This trip includes visits to Fruita, a historic Mormon settlement known for its delicious stone fruit orchards, and intricately carved petroglyph panels of the Fremont people, who farmed and hunted these canyons from 700 to 1300 AD. Hiking trips include fabulous trails in Capitol Reef National Park and also Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. You will enjoy the accommodations, especially our dinner at Hell’s Backbone Kitchen.
Sample ItineraryExpand All Fields
Day 1: Meet your trip mates in Salt Lake City.
Your trip officially starts in the late afternoon in Salt Lake City. Gather with your new trip mates at the historic Little America Hotel before heading out for a dinner in the city. Plan for the upcoming adventures and share trip expectations this evening.
Day 2: Transfer to Capitol Reef National Park and enjoy surrounding hikes.
Enjoy breakfast with great coffee before hitting the road to travel through "Happy Valley" and the "Red Gate" to Torrey Utah, the launching point for Capitol Reef National Park. Have lunch and take a short hike as you get your first look at this park's spectacular geological structures. Settle into your accommodations for the next two nights before relaxing at dinner as we plan for the next days' adventures.
Day 3: Take in views as you hike through Cohab Canyon.
Our first stop will be to the town of Fruita, a historic Mormon settlement inside Capitol Reef National Park, known for its many stone fruit orchards. Spend time learning about the Fremont people, who hunted and farmed the surrounding canyons from 700 to 1300 AD. In the afternoon visit the Visitor Center to learn about the area before hiking through the Cohab Canyon, one of the park’s most popular canyons. As you hike through the speckled walls, towering fins, and thin slots, it is hard not to let your imagination run wild. Take time to learn about the legends of this very special place before heading back to Torrey for happy hour and a group barbecue.
Day 4: Visit the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Start the day early as we travel on scenic Highway 12, often listed as one of the most scenic drives in the world, to Boulder, UT. Visit the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, where you will take a gentle 3-mile hike through the lower Calf Creek Falls. The next two nights' accommodations will be on a beautiful ranch, set amongst the surrounding Navajo sandstone cliffs. Relax, unwind and enjoy a sunset happy hour and group dinner.
Day 5: Hike one of the many trails of the Waterpocket Fold.
Hike a section of the acclaimed Burr Trail. This trail was originally developed as a cattle trail and is now one of the most picturesque trails in Utah. Today's hiking options include one of the many stunning lower sections of the Waterpocket Fold, or a hike through one of the spectacular Escalante side canyons. After a long day of hiking you will celebrate the trip with dinner at the renowned and award winning Hell’s Backbone Grill.
Day 6: Transfer back to Salt Lake City and say farewell to your trip mates.
Amidst the canyon, enjoy one last breakfast before returning to Salt Lake City. We will make a mid-morning stop at the Torrey Art Gallery before the trip ends in the early afternoon back at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City.
Dates & Fees
Wilderness Inquiry leads trips to Utah but currently has no dates scheduled for this itinerary. If you have a group of people interested, we can set up a customized adventure just for you! Please contact us or request a trip quote below if you are interested in a group trip to this destination.
Request Trip Quote »
What to Expect
TERRAIN/ROUTE: Hiking routes will be primarily on established desert canyon trails. There are a wide variety of trails to choose from including relaxing strolls along smooth paths to strenuous hikes up steep inclines. Hikes may take you into narrow gorges, high top cliffs, under natural arches, and much more.Read more »