Capitol Reef Hikes & What to Do in the National Park

We’re taking you on a quick weekend trip to Capitol Reef National Park in Utah for some awesome Capitol Reef hikes – one of which is at sunrise and is absolutely worth it! 

In this episode we tell you what to do in Capitol Reef National Park for a two-day visit. We give you the best hikes in Capitol Reef to go on, the most beautiful scenic overlooks, where to watch the most gorgeous sunrise in the park, and where to warm your soul with delicious curry pizza after a long day of hiking.

Capitol Reef Hikes – Episode Transcript

3 (57s):
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we are recapping our trip to Capitol reef national park and giving you the best squad tips to do this trip yourself.

1 (1m 8s):
We took a quick weekend or trip to Capitol reef national park, and it was the last of the Utah’s a mighty five parks that we needed to visit. And we decided to brave it out in the middle of December, 2020, for two reasons. One, we wanted to socially distance as much as possible. And two, we prefer to hike in the cold rather than in the hot heat, especially in the desert climate. But regardless of when you go Capitol reef, national park is such a beautiful and unique national park, and it’s much lesser known and lesser visited amongst the national parks, but it doesn’t get the credit that it deserves.

2 (1m 44s):
It looks like another beautiful National Park. I mean, all of Utah’s national parks are beautiful, but this one looks amazing. And if there is a set like Utah’s mighty five, you’re going to have to do all five, right?

1 (1m 58s):
Yes, absolutely.

3 (1m 59s):
You’re going to have to do all five. And what really surprises me about this is that earlier on Brittany and I had done canyon lands, which is also in Utah, part of their mighty five, very underrated Capitol reef here, part of the mighty five, they put them all together in one group name. And here we are with Capitol reef and canyon lands two very, very underrated national parks of the mighty five. And I want to say maybe even highlights that’s for sure.

2 (2m 26s):
Oh, that’s amazing. I’ve seen some of your pictures and I can totally just picture myself posting up a picnic table out there on those big rocks and having like a pop-up picnic out there. It just looks like the perfect scenic backdrop for that.

1 (2m 38s):
It really would be, you know, I feel like there are some good places in the park for that. So that’s not a bad idea, Kim, for when you go and make this trip yourself,

2 (2m 45s):
You guys got to bring a fold-up table with you on these trips.

1 (2m 48s):
We’re just going to use that as one of our carry-on luggages two free bags, right?

2 (2m 54s):
So since I was not on this trip with you, why don’t you start us off with some tips for visiting Capitol reef?

3 (2m 59s):
Well, the first one I must say is to do this maybe in the fall or spring, or even winter, depending on if you want it to be really cold. Like when Brittany and I went, because this is in Utah’s desert area, it does get very hot during the summer. And there is no shade. So if you want to brave it out in the heat, there’s not going to be any shade either. So it’s kind of a double whammy in that sense. So I would say time it right based off of the season,

1 (3m 25s):
Another tip is it does get really, really cold in winter. And when I say really cold, I mean below freezing

2 (3m 31s):
During the day,

1 (3m 32s):
During the day when we started some of our hikes in the morning, when we started first thing, it was nine degrees outside. And so because of that, it is really cold and some of the roads can get pretty icy. So we do recommend renting an SUV so that you’re not slipping and sliding on the ice on the road.

3 (3m 49s):
And we give this tip all the time. And the fact that we give it all the time really means you should probably listen to it. It’s download offline maps. You are in the middle of nowhere. You do want to have the offline maps downloaded for you that way, when you’re navigating on the road or even on the trails for that matter, you do have it saved.

1 (4m 7s):
And of course, dress in layers. No matter if you go in winter or summer, it’s always nice to be able to shred some extra layers when it’s super hot or throw some layers on when it’s really cold. And when you’re hiking, you naturally warm up and want to shed some layers off,

2 (4m 21s):
Always a good idea to dress in layers. You never want to be too hot and sweating it out.

3 (4m 26s):
I think that was one of the biggest dilemmas that I have when I hike. Cause like we’ve hiked so much that I should know. And I always do bring stuff to have in layers, but it’s that anxiety of the pack and like, oh, do I have the right layers? Like I don’t want it too thick. And then have my second layer be too thin or whatever, but yes, do dress in layers. You’re going to need it because you will warm up as you’re hiking. Even as Brittany mentioned, you know, when we started one of the hikes, it was like nine degrees outside, but I’ll tell you what, the more we were hiking, we had to shut those layers and it still stayed below freezing, but you still need to shed it. You do warm up

2 (4m 57s):
Capitol reef is obviously in Utah. But tell me a little bit more since I haven’t been like where in Utah is it, what is it known for?

1 (5m 5s):
It’s located in south central Utah. And so if you were going to go on a mighty five trip, whether you go from west to east or east to west, this would be the third National Park in that lineup. And so it’s kind of like right in the middle and it’s kind of segregated between the two. And so I feel like that’s why it was the last one that we went on. Cause we’ve done Zion, we’ve done Bryce. And then we’ve done the other side, the east side of canyon land and arches. So what we had left was Capitol reef and I was actually really surprised at how much I really love this park. It’s really remote. And it’s really, really beautiful. The area protects and preserves the water pocket fold, which is a wrinkle in the Earth’s crust.

1 (5m 47s):
And it exposes lots of layers of sandstone and geological structures like canyons and rock formations and arches. Like even though you’re not in arches, national park, still plenty of arches in this park. And it’s just so beautiful with all of the panoramic views and really thrilling hike.

3 (6m 5s):
Yeah. And so that water pocket fold that Brittany had mentioned, it’s this really long stretch of rock. That’s part of a certain layer of the Earth’s crust that has actually made its way deep and up and out. And so it really looks like this crazy reef. Like you would imagine an ocean, right? You have the barrier reef and it’s this one segregating wall, if you will, that blocks things off. So this is the on land version of the reef where this one fold from the crust comes up. You could see all the different layers, but it’s this one giant wall really going through the entire park that creates this one boundary. And there’s obviously lots of canyons all around it too, but it’s this one kind of sheer wall that stretches its way through very, very unique, but really cool to see with all those rock formation.

1 (6m 52s):
And there’s a really, really beautiful scenic drive in this national park as well. And one squad tip that I have for you guys Is that many of the hikes and overlooks in the National Park don’t require you to go through an entrance. And so you don’t have to pay an entrance fee for some of the hikes.

2 (7m 11s):

1 (7m 12s):
So that can save some money right there. But if you do plan to do the scenic drive or want to do any hiking, that’s off of the scenic drive, then you do have to pay the entrance fee.

3 (7m 23s):
Yeah. And capital reefs entrance fee, it’s only $20 per vehicle valid for seven days. But there is a main Utah highway that runs through that area. So if you stay on that highway and do some of the hikes, then you will avoid the fee in that way. Yeah.

2 (7m 37s):
Nice. And I know you guys didn’t do this, but I’ve caught wind of these native teepees at Capitol reef that you can stay in and it looks really cool. So if any of our squaddies out there planning this trip, check that out.

1 (7m 50s):
Yeah. You know, what’s really interesting is Capitol reef is really close to a town called Tory, which is where we stayed. It’s probably like 15 minutes from the park. And that’s where I think that is. And I think it would be really nice to stay in one of those teepees and probably like spring or fall, but it was definitely too cold to stay in them in winter. But on the property that we stayed at, we stayed at a hotel, but they also had rooms that were designed to look like wagons.

2 (8m 15s):
Oh cool. They have that at Yosemite too.

1 (8m 17s):
Yeah. So I was like, you know, what, if we ever come back, I’d like to do either the teepee experience or the wagon experience, but sometimes places like that don’t have the included bathroom inside of your wagon or your TP. So then you have to have like a communal bathroom. And it was like, we said nine degrees outside. So we really didn’t want,

3 (8m 35s):
Yeah. I don’t want to leave the wagon at nine degrees to go use an outhouse. I could tell you that. I mean, I like to rough it a little bit and be like an old school pioneer, but that’s a little too much for me at that point. Temperature wise, at least.

1 (8m 48s):
So where Capitol reef is, like we mentioned before is right in the middle of the five national parks. And so you can either fly in to Las Vegas, which is what we did. And it took us about five hours to get from Las Vegas to Tori. I mean the only other option you really have is to fly into like salt lake. And I feel like that’s further north. So probably about the same round trip. But the flights from San Diego to Vegas are better than San Diego to salt lake for

2 (9m 17s):
Sure. Price wise in length wise. Yeah.

3 (9m 19s):
Right. And with COVID, I mean, we’ve gone to salt lake and Utah several times during COVID and they have changed it so that it’s no longer nonstop. So Vegas just made sense for us, but for you, it may very well make sense to fly into salt lake depending on what city you’re coming from.

2 (9m 33s):
Cool. And you guys took this trip on a weekend, right? And this was the only National Park you did that weekend. So it was just a weekend trip. No time off work,

1 (9m 41s):
No time I’ve worked. We left on a Friday after work. We drove early Saturday morning and we hiked that day. We spent the night hiked Sunday morning, headed back to Vegas and flew out Sunday night

2 (9m 53s):
Before you went to on right

1 (9m 55s):
Before we went to homicide.

3 (9m 56s):
As late as we got in cam, we were like, we would disappoint Kim and she would not be proud of us if we didn’t go to Hawk us on. So we made a quick appearance, got a drink, bounced, got very minimal sleep and then drove on from there just for you.

1 (10m 9s):
I was actually supposed to leave Monday morning, first flight of the day. But because of COVID, they changed our flight to land in San Diego at 1:00 PM instead of seven or 8:00 AM. And we’re like, Nope, that’s not going to happen.

2 (10m 21s):
And so you called them and they fixed it up for Sunday. Yeah. Nice. So you guys wake up Saturday morning and drive or

3 (10m 28s):
Saturday morning and drive after haka song. Okay.

2 (10m 31s):
Okay. Still a little hung over. Got it

3 (10m 33s):
A little bit hung over, but we managed nonetheless. But yeah, the first thing that we did when we got there, I mean, we left around 5:00 AM, arrived about 11:00 AM and going from Nevada into Utah, you do lose an hour. So that’s why we have that additional hour from five to 11, even though it took about five hours to get there. But the first hike that we did was chimney rock loop. And it’s a 3.6 mile loop and has about 793 feet in elevation gain. So really not too bad.

1 (11m 3s):
Yeah. And so why it’s called chimney rock is one of the big rock formations looks like a really huge chimney and you can really see it off of the main drive of the National Park. So it’s very easily located, but you start at the base and then you hike up and this hike really highlights capital reefs, geology, and really shows off the beauty of the park. And so it has a pretty steep incline, but the view at the top is so worth the,

3 (11m 32s):
Yeah, what’s funny is it’s called the chimney rock loop and you could only see chimney rock from the parking lot where you park as a matter of fact, that really steep hike that you go up, you’d think, okay, when I’m up here, I’ll be able to see chimney rock and you really don’t get to see much of it. But the views at the top, like Brittany said are absolutely amazing. It gives you specific views of that water pocket fold and anybody who’s listening right now, if you have your phone, just Google an image of the water pocket, fold in Capitol reef, national park, just see how beautiful it is and just the different rock, layers and formations. I mean, we would do a disservice really trying to describe it, but it’s absolutely breathtaking. And once you get there, amazing, amazing views.

3 (12m 13s):
And then it works its way back down into the canyon itself. Really cool rock formations in there, but do be prepared for that steep incline initially. But after that becomes a relatively tolerable and easy hike. Yeah.

1 (12m 26s):
And while you’re on that steep incline, it’s actually on the Cliff’s edge because as you see these rock formations, you know, the big, beautiful red rocks, they kind of like Jew out of nowhere. It almost seems so as you’re going up to the top of this hike, you’re on the cliff edge the entire time, which is really cool, but also exhilarating when you look, you know, look down, but like Jamal said, the view at the top is beautiful. There’s colorful Badlands in the distance Boulder mountain in the background, definitely worth the track. And my squad tip would be Hiking counter-clockwise for the views.

3 (13m 2s):
Yeah. And when we were on top and it was so beautiful because the top of the rock layers was really dusted with just a light layer of snow. But Brittany mentioned that there were different rock, color formations, and going back to our trip to rainbow mountain, and we talked about how there’s different colors within the rocks. I wouldn’t put it at this level of rainbow mountain, but it definitely had a different variation of colors from, you know, reds to some greens, do some yellows and oranges, very, very subtle hues, but you can see it at that top layer going all throughout that water pocket full absolutely breathtaking.

1 (13m 34s):
And like I mentioned before, some of the park is accessible without paying any fees. And this is one of them like it’s a really, really good hike. And I feel like it would be really popular, not in the middle of the winter. And it’s free to hike this.

2 (13m 47s):
I know that’s not the only hike you did that day.

1 (13m 50s):
No. Cause it was too short. We were like, we’re pounding out this entire park for the weekend. We got to do as many hikes as we can squeeze in. So of course I was like, we have to do another one. And the next hike we did was called Hickman bridge trail to a little bit shorter. It was about two miles, but it short and sweet and it ascends through a sandstone side canyon. And then it goes through to Hickman bridge, which is a natural arch that stands about 133 feet tall.

3 (14m 20s):
Yeah. This arch was really cool because it’s, I don’t want to say in the middle of a canyon, but it’s in the middle of this little open space you come across it. It’s so unsuspecting. It’s really actually hard to get a photo of the full thing when you’re in there and you know, they label it and call it a bridge. But it’s almost like an arch that you would see in arches, which I think is really crazy about like Utah, even though these mighty five national parks have a lot of this desert landscape and a lot of it’s the same things. Each one of them is so unique. And so I wasn’t expecting away from canyon lands and arches to see some more arches and bridges out here in this area. So that was really unsuspecting and really fun and cool to see.

2 (14m 57s):
I think that’s super cool about our earth is that, you know, the grand canyon looks a certain way that it does, but then so does canyon lands and it’s not that far away. Yeah.

3 (15m 6s):
And it’s all different

1 (15m 7s):
And it’s carved by the same river, but so unique in its own. Right? So from there, we were really close to the Gifford homestead. And this was actually really interesting because people actually owned farm land and a ranch in an orchard on this property before it was purchased by the National Park system. And obviously it was called the Gifford homestead because the family that lived there were the Giffords. But now today that home is used as a pie shop. And

2 (15m 40s):
I like apple pie,

1 (15m 41s):
Apple pie because there’s still orchards that are grown on the property. And so the use of fruit from the orchards to make pies, unfortunately we were there in winter and they closed down for the season dam. But you know, when they open up each year on pie day

2 (15m 56s):
Pie day

3 (15m 57s):
One for March 14th,

1 (15m 59s):
They open up on PI day every year. And when the fruit is in season and ripe, you can actually go and pick it and then pay per pound for what you picked, which is really unique to this National Park. That’s well,

3 (16m 11s):
I would really love to go back and do this. I was honestly so disappointed when Brittany told me that this existed and we weren’t able to go and experience it because it was closed. And I was just like, so what, just because it’s winter and off season don’t act like they can’t be open and have pies, you know? But then when we were there, I really realized why they actually closed. I don’t think we mentioned this, Brittany and I were the only people on the trail. The first one that we did, the chimney loop trail, we were able to see the parking lot for a good majority of the hike. Nobody came and parked there. We were the only ones on it. And we saw nobody on that trail on the second trail that we did that day. Also the Hickman bridge trail, maybe we saw two people.

3 (16m 52s):
So I don’t know if it was COVID I don’t know if it was because it was nine to 20 degrees outside and we were just in off season in that sense, but really, really under visited national park, I felt like, so it makes sense that they’re not open. Yeah.

2 (17m 5s):
That’s surprising. That’s interesting.

3 (17m 7s):
And one of the last things that we did that day was go to a place called sunset point, leave it to Brittany. I mean, I guess this was an easy day. She wanted to just pack everything in on us. And so we were going to this one place and I thought I was going to see a beautiful sunset because the name is sunset point and you do have to do a little hike to get there. I would say it’s less than half a mile, right, Brittany. Yeah. And I thought I was going to go there and watch the sunset. And I see that the sun obviously is setting in the west and then it gets hidden behind some rocks and you can’t even see the sunset and like, why is this called sunset point? And then you’re really supposed to look to the east and see what the sky looks like in the opposite direction of the sunset, which was really kind of deceiving to me.

3 (17m 50s):
Cause I thought I was going to see it set, but no, the payoff is supposedly looking off to the east and seeing the colors in the sky and the mountain range in that direction. It’s definitely well worth it. But if you know that going in, you’re not going to see a sunset, even though it’s called sunset point.

1 (18m 4s):
Well, yeah, because I feel like during the day when the sun is above the east side, the colors get really washed out. So when the sun setting towards the west, you can really see the colors a lot better in that area. So it was deceiving. Jamal’s like, we’re not even looking the right side for sunset. This isn’t the right area. I’m like, but look at all the beautiful colors here.

3 (18m 23s):
Well, it even said that. And when we saw a little signposts, they were talking about it and basically, you know, there’s a bench looking to the east at sunset point. But what the sunset does do is it really enhances the colors in the sky to really showcase the layered rocks and really highlights the more red. So it is beautiful. But again, I really thought I was going here to see a sunset.

1 (18m 44s):
It was really cold when we finished at sunset point, like really cold. We were like, we need something to warm our souls. We want like some super fun or you know, something really nice and warm. And a lot of restaurants actually closed down in the winter because they just don’t have a huge population there. So I’m like, where can we eat? And we’re asking the lady at the hotel like, Hey, is there any places you recommend? She’s like, we have three places open. One of the places was one town over and it was called Curry pizza. Okay. So we’re like, okay, what is this sounds intriguing. We’re looking at their menu. And it’s owned by an Indian family and they are mixing the Indian flavors onto the Italian pizzas.

3 (19m 28s):
And they actually have a chain of them throughout different locations within Utah. I think there was about four or five different restaurants or locations. They had one here by Capitol reef, national park. And so we were like, all right, you know, we’ll do this, we’ll try the pizza. They also have regular Indian food. So we’re like, Ooh, some butter, chicken or Curry would actually be really good just as well. I mean, it was cold. I feel like that really warms your soul in the sense of things. But yeah, I mean, your choices of food are really limited because the closest town of these to the portion of the park, where we were at is called Tori. I think they have a population of no more than 200 people in that area. Like literally it is small and yes, it is a national park and there’s businesses that pop up because of that.

3 (20m 12s):
But because it was off season, you know, everything was closed early except this place. And let me tell you something, it was actually really, really good. I enjoyed it a lot. Believe it or not guy Fieri himself from triple D has made his way to Curry pizza. And they had the photo of him in there and it was really, really good. It’s funny. So did you get pizza? We got pizza and we got butter chicken. Also. What kind of pizza

1 (20m 35s):
Flavor did you get? Curry pizza. It

6 (20m 37s):
Was just a Curry pizza

3 (20m 39s):
Flavor. I mean, they have different flavors, different Indian cuisines. This one like had jalapenos on it.

1 (20m 44s):
So launch row, just like Curry sauce or of like what would be the equivalent of like tikka masala, even

3 (20m 51s):
As the pizza sauce and the cheese. And then they had fennel that was on top of it that gave it like a really, really good flavored. So it had that obviously Indian flavor, but on a pizza, which we took the first bite and I love Indian food and I didn’t think it was bad, but obviously it’s not what I’m used to. I thought it was a little weird, but I was like, okay, you know, it’s good. And then I take another bite and another bite and the more and more I ate at the more and more I was like, oh my God, this shit is good.

2 (21m 16s):
It’s high pizza before it was really

3 (21m 17s):
Good. I see why guy Fieri went there triple D throw down, man.

1 (21m 22s):
Well, and it was actually pretty crowded. Like lots of people started to come while we were there. I think it was just a really nice warm place to eat. And all of the food there is going to warm your soul.

2 (21m 32s):
That plus it’s one of three options in the area.

3 (21m 35s):
I think there’s more on summer and a spring season time, but because of COVID and other things, they were shut down. Like lots of the hotels weren’t even open either for that matter.

2 (21m 44s):
Cool. So that was day one. Now, what did you guys do on Sunday?

1 (21m 48s):
So on Sunday we woke up really early because

2 (21m 52s):

1 (21m 53s):
I wanted to watch the sunrise and we also wanted to eat the free breakfast buffet.

2 (22m 1s):

1 (22m 2s):
Which I think started at around six. So we probably woke up at like 5, 5 30 to get ready, eat breakfast, and then make it to sunrise at seven 30.

3 (22m 11s):
And the breakfast buffet was pretty good. We were the first ones in there. We woke up in the morning and when we woke up in the morning, it was seven degrees outside. And I was just like, oh my God, it’s cold. Like, I’m going to have to hike in this. I’m going to freeze. And it’s one of those things you hike. And you know, that you’ll always warm up, but I was so concerned and worried, but I was like, all right, while we’re eating breakfast, I need to start the car, you know, and just warm it up so that we get warmed up and everything after breakfast, they had a really good breakfast buffet in there, us

1 (22m 40s):
Through the

3 (22m 41s):
Spread. Well, they had a waffle maker. If I remember correctly, it’s one of the first ones that I’ve seen since COVID, I was actually really stoked about that. They had bacon, some scrambled eggs, some muffins, Jews, potatoes, sausage, you know, for how few people were really up in the area in cars we saw in the parking lot of the hotel. They did not skimp on the breakfast buffet, which made me very, very happy.

1 (23m 2s):
And so we really wanted to go into the park for sunrise. There was a few overlooks we really wanted to go see, and there are three famous overlooks, the sunset point when we went to the day before, and then there’s another one called Panorama point and gooseneck overlooks. And they’re all in the same area. So we went to Panorama point first and it’s a really short trail, less than a quarter of a mile. And it just really gives you more stunning views of the water pocket fold. And again, you think like it’s another view from another side, but every time you see it, it’s just so beautiful. You can’t get tired of the views. I think this would probably be a good place for the picnic. You were talking about Kim,

3 (23m 41s):
Not at this time in the morning, though, a little too cold, maybe later in the day when it gets up to 20 degrees. And

1 (23m 47s):
Then we went to another overlook called gooseneck overlook and also a really, really short trail, but it takes you right to the edge of a cliff. And there’s actually a fence barricading you in so that you don’t fall over the cliff because you’re right above the canyon. That’s formed by sulfur Creek. And it’s called gooseneck because it’s shaped like an us like a very skinny ass. But because you’re right there on the edge of the cliff, the wind is just hitting you in that spot. And it’s seven degrees outside. So my hands were freezing when I took my hand out of Mike, love to take a picture. I thought I was going to like frostbite,

3 (24m 25s):
Honestly, like we took several photos. And once you put your hand back in the glove, you think it should warm up? Not like real, real quick, but honestly it was so cold with the windshield that was coming off at the edge of that. No exaggeration. It took 20 minutes for my hand to feel back to normal. I don’t know how long for Brittany, but I really timed it. It was just like my hand still stings. It burns. I still have limited mobility. Yeah. Well, you know what? It was really beautiful there. It was well worth it. And after we were done doing what we did the rest of the day, we actually did come back when it was a little bit warmer and not so windy. And we had enjoyed and admired it a little bit more. So I’d recommend doing that, but it’s beautiful in the morning, the way the light just shines on it.

2 (25m 6s):
I think it’s a rookie move that you guys don’t have gloves that you can still use your phone with.

3 (25m 11s):
I actually do. I don’t think they’re that good though. I’ve never come across a pair of gloves that are supposed to be touchscreen accessible. That have been really good. Maybe I’m just not finding them. Maybe I’m just not paying the right price for them, but I have not

2 (25m 24s):
Got upgrade.

3 (25m 25s):
Wallet wants, do you have,

2 (25m 26s):
I got some off Amazon for our non Breckinridge trip?

3 (25m 30s):
Yeah. And do you think they would be warm enough gloves to use in seven degree weather?

2 (25m 35s):
I tried them on in San Diego, so I can’t offer a hundred percent certainty, but they did work for the phone.

3 (25m 42s):

1 (25m 42s):
I just also feel like it’s awkward and we were kind of like, you know, you don’t want the fence in your picture, so you’re putting your hands, you know, through the cracks. And so I just feel like it’s so awkward where I don’t want to drop my phone into the canyon. I have proof

2 (25m 55s):
That’s when you need this selfie stick,

3 (25m 57s):
We need to get a selfie stick after all these years, apparently,

1 (25m 60s):
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1 (26m 48s):
We have story highlights on our Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast, where you can see the full guides. We’ve done all of the research and have taken these exact trips, taking out all of the guesswork from the planning. So all that you have to do is show up and have fun

3 (27m 2s):
Purchase your comprehensive Travel Squad Podcast, itinerary on our website at Travel Squad, Podcast dot com, best of all, they’re on sale right now for $30. So travel on over and get yours today. But one thing that we did after we enjoyed the sunrise views from that area was go to Cassidy, arch and Cassidy arch, I think is really one of the most famous and iconic things that you can do here in Capitol reef, national park. Again, here’s another arch right in Utah. I love Utah, not sense, but this is a 3.4 mile hike. And it gives you an amazing, amazing view. Once you’re at the top, I’ll let Brittany get a little bit more into it. But what really threw me off about this is that, you know, it’s an arch, we’ve been arches.

3 (27m 45s):
We saw the other one the day before at Hickman’s bridge. And I really thought, okay, we’re going to get here and I’m going to see an arch, but you get to the level where you’re actually standing flat on the bridge of the arch. So you don’t really get to see it until you’re standing on it and look down and really see how high up you are and praying that that doesn’t break on you when you fall through

1 (28m 4s):
This is by far my favorite hike in Capitol reef, national park. Like it was so beautiful, everything about it. We got there. First thing in the morning, we pretty much had the trail to ourselves for the most part. And you have to hike along the cliff again, and it can be strenuous at times with some steep inclines and switchbacks, but it had beautiful views the entire way. And we were able to see the arch and the distance. And we’re like, how are we going to get over there? Like, what is it going to look like when we get there? And we’re kind of trying to imagine, how are we gonna stand on that?

3 (28m 35s):
Yeah. So when you start this hike, you really start in a narrow canyon, almost resembles like a dry river bed. And you know, it’s, I don’t want to say super, super narrow, but narrow enough that it looks like, you know, two steep canyons coming up and then you start climbing and then once you finally make it to the top, I don’t want to say it’s flat, but it’s relatively flat and you’re hiking along the edge. And then you can actually see Cassidy arch. And that’s why Brittany was saying, it’s very deceiving when you see it. Like, okay, there’s the arch. It looks far, but I know it’s really only 3.4 miles in general. So it’s not that far. And then once you get to it, you do realize like, oh my gosh, like I’m not going to be standing below it. I’m literally standing on it.

3 (29m 16s):
And when you’re standing on it, there’s this one little open pocket where you’re looking down like 400, 300 feet, something to that effect, like straight down. Cause it’s on the Cliff’s edge. This one natural arch.

1 (29m 29s):
Yeah. It’s one where if you have a fear of height, you’re kind of like, oh shit, don’t get too close to the edge. But being able to stand on the arch because in some of the other national parks, you can’t stand on top of the arch that you can stand under the arch. You can stand like on the sides of it and kind of climb a little bit. But this you’re actually like at the very top of the arch, the very top of the arches flat. So you’re standing on that. And when you’re getting your picture taken, it’s from an angle. So you can see the scenic drive below and that’s like 400 feet below you. And if you get too close to the edge and he fall, like you would, you would literally be fucked so,

3 (30m 6s):
Well, that’s a nice way to put it. You’d be dead pretty much. But yeah, because the other places like Brittany said, you can’t climb them. Yeah. Because you would actually be climbing and going up. But when you’re done and actually get at Cassidy arch, you’re at level with it. So the flat part is literally the top of the arch. So it’s very, very weird. You really going to have to Google it. And when we post photos, you will see, but very, very beautiful. And this was definitely the highlight. I thought all the ridges that we were seeing of Capitol reef and all the crust of the earth coming up in the layers was impressive, but nothing was impressive as this and this hike was absolutely amazing.

1 (30m 43s):
There were two guys on the trail around the same time as us that got to the arch around the same time. So it was nice in that sense because they were able to take photos of us and we took photos of them. But other than that, it was really remote. We really didn’t come across too many more people on the trail except for going down. And Cassidy arch was named after Butch Cassidy, who is an infamous outlaw who used to hike out in the canyon back in the day.

3 (31m 6s):
I had no clue, Butch Cassidy hiked out there. And that’s what it was named after. You’re telling me this now for the first time and we hiked it and I didn’t know,

2 (31m 12s):
You know who,

3 (31m 14s):
I mean, you’ve never heard Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid. No, it’s, I mean, I’ve heard that before. I think it’s like a movie that they made after this person, like an old like sixties, Hollywood movie or something like that. No.

1 (31m 25s):
So Jamal, why don’t you tell us about the scenic drive that we went through?

3 (31m 28s):
Yeah. So the scene and drive that we went through is absolutely breathtaking. This portion of the park will require you to pay an entrance fee to go ahead and get in. And it’s just south of the visitor center and the Gifford home that we were talking about earlier that makes those famous apple pies and the start of the scenic drive, which is an eight mile paved road. It winds through the heart of Capitol reef, national park, and the scenic drive also has the two spur off sections. One is called the grand wash and capital Gorge and they enter the canyon and offer incredible views of it. I mean, you really get to the point where you maybe would dead end. We saw one couple actually like hiking through there, but we ended up driving in at dead ends and it gets really narrow at one point, but it’s absolutely breathtaking to be in the center of the canyon portion.

1 (32m 19s):
Yeah. So it is a main road, but it has those two dirt spur roads Jamal was talking about definitely go off and do those they’re worth it. Those are the most beautiful parts of the scenic drive. And I was looking online prior to going to Capitol reef and online on the National Park website, they have a scenic drive guide and it has 11 stops that they talk about. So it’s just extra reading material to kind of like put the park in perspective. So I would definitely recommend having that page loaded before you go into the National Park because self-service is very limited out there.

3 (32m 53s):
Yeah. And those spur off roads we drove because this was Sunday and we had to get back for our flight cause they altered our Monday one, as things have been happening with COVID and lots of flights. But like I said, we did see those people hiking. If we had more time, these are little flat areas. And I think it would have been a lot more incredible to actually do the hike and walk through it versus drive. But because we were on a time constraint, in a sense we did the drive through, but if you want a really, really well shaded place, if you’re going during the summer, I would say, do this and actually hike in this area because you’re at the bottom of the canyon. It’s rather narrow very well, shaded and flat.

3 (33m 33s):
So you’re not going to exert a lot of energy or get really dehydrated or hot.

2 (33m 37s):
Good tip. How long would you say you guys spent driving around and taking in the scenic drive

1 (33m 42s):
About an hour to an hour and a half. Like even though it’s only eight miles, you do have to go slow on the dirt roads and you’re just really taking in the beauty. So it probably took us an hour to an hour and a half. That’s a pretty good amount of time to a lot to see everything in that area and the Cassidy arch trail spurs off of one of those areas too. So to hike that trail in particular, you do have to make sure you have paid your entrance fee.

3 (34m 5s):
And another squad tip, There was 11 stops that Brittany was talking about and downloading the information to put what you’re seeing into perspective. They’re not very well labeled. So be on the lookout. So you don’t pass them. I mean, we weren’t planning on getting out at each one, but we were like, okay, this should be the next landmark or stop in a sense. And then we would see what the next one was when it was actually labeled. And we had like bypassed too. So they’re not very well labeled. So be on the lookout for that.

2 (34m 38s):
So I have a question about the apple pie in the region. I know that in San Diego we have Julian apple pie super big and they don’t necessarily close down for the winter, but you can get them all over San Diego all year long. Were you able to at least find the pie somewhere and try it? No,

1 (34m 55s):
We weren’t

2 (34m 55s):

1 (34m 57s):
I would go to this National Park just to go to the Gifford house and get pie. And they’re also famous for cinnamon rolls to,

2 (35m 4s):
Ooh, I’m so surprised that even the restaurants didn’t have it at all. That’s just my,

3 (35m 9s):
And see, I, I don’t know. I’d Brittany did more of the research on the Gifford house and those pies than I, but I wonder if they really do use specifically only the apples from the orchard and it’s a seasonal thing. I don’t know, but that would be a good thing for us to find out. And I’ll tell you what, we should go back squad trip and let’s go, let’s get the pie. And then we’ll do those little canyon hikes in the shade that I talked about on the scenic drive. That way we don’t exert ourself in the heat.

2 (35m 36s):
Nice. And then go get some Curry pizza. And then after that I take it. You drove back to Vegas to fly home to San Diego,

3 (35m 44s):
Drove back to Vegas that night. That is correct from where we left him from the park. After the scenic drive, it was about five hours back to Las Vegas.

1 (35m 52s):
But you get an hour back because you’re going back to Nevada. So time, total buffer of time.

2 (35m 58s):
That’s nice. I have a flight coming up from Mexico city and I think we leave around 10:00 PM and we get back here at 10:30 PM. Oh,

1 (36m 5s):
That’s perfect. It’s

2 (36m 6s):
Like the time change. Cool. So we actually have some questions of the week. The first question that came in is what is one thing you wish you knew before going on this trip?

1 (36m 27s):
How cold it was going to be and how remote it was going to be as well? Because I feel like there weren’t a lot of dining options and things like that, but in general, I think it was a good surprise that we didn’t know a lot. Like our expectations were low. And so we were pleasantly surprised.

2 (36m 43s):
Would you have done anything different if you knew it was going to be cold and there was no dining?

3 (36m 47s):
Well, I mean, we looked online and we knew that it was going to be cold. But even though when we came prepared, it’s still, when you experienced it, you don’t realize how cold it is. Right. So it’s like, would another layer really have saved me? No, but did it ruin the trip one way or the other? Not really, but it’s going to be cold that’s for sure. And I did like how remote it actually was. That was one of my favorite things about it, because this is a National Park. It’s part of the mighty five, like we said, and even though it is off season, you would expect there to be some sort of more civilization and restaurants and things that are open to cater to the tourists. And there really wasn’t at that point. So it was that pleasant surprise because you really are by yourself out there.

3 (37m 31s):
So that’s cool to experience.

2 (37m 32s):
Would you have brought some freeze, dried food? Had you known there wouldn’t be restaurants?

3 (37m 37s):
No. I was very content with my Curry pizza and at the gas station, they had a subway. So I mean, we were able to get food. It’s not like that, but if you’re really looking for all multiple options after a day, cause you really don’t know what you want. I mean, it’s limited.

1 (37m 52s):
Yeah. There was a steak house right next to their hotel. We were staying at, I think it was like part of the same area. And we were considering going there for dinner. It was closed down because of COVID and winter and stuff like the Gifford house closes for the winter. So I wish I would’ve done more research in advance to know like some of the things that we wanted to experience were going to be closed.

2 (38m 13s):
Okay. And then you mentioned, this is part of Utah’s mighty five national parks. Now someone is asking if they wanted to do all five in one trip. I think someone’s asked this before, but if you want to do all five in one trip, how much time would you say how many days?

1 (38m 28s):
I would probably say a good 10 days.

2 (38m 30s):
Really? 10 days.

1 (38m 31s):
Like if you want to get the highlights out of each park, I would say two days in each plus the travel time in between would be sufficient.

3 (38m 38s):
So it’s like one and a half days in each part because you need another half day or these three to four hours to travel between parks. So

1 (38m 46s):
There’s times where you could probably skim things off. Like we did one day in arches, we did one day in canyon lands, but I feel like there’s more to see. And so if you’re making the Trek, you might as well do it. I’d say the least amount of time you’d probably want to spend is like seven days.

2 (38m 60s):
Okay. And then we’ve gone over this one, but the last question someone had sent in was around timing for the trips. And you guys took this in December where you’ve talked a lot about how cold it was, but would you recommend this for a summer trip?

3 (39m 11s):
I really hate the heat. So in that sense, I don’t want to say like yes, because it is not very well shaded in less you’re specifically going into the canyons, like I said earlier and doing that otherwise, if you’re doing a lot of the other hikes that we had mentioned that we did, they’re really sun exposed. So in that sense, it’s going to be hot. And my personal preference would be no, I mean, I would definitely do this in spring or early summer, but if we are going to do those canyon hikes that are shaded, possibly

2 (39m 42s):
What you need is a big straw hat to protect yourself from the sun.

3 (39m 46s):
Maybe I need a lot of stuff to protect myself from the sun because I have extremely fair skin, but I just, in general, don’t like hiking in the heat. Even if it’s a shaded area, it just physically exerts you more. Right. And so I don’t enjoy the hike and I don’t enjoy nature as much. Quite honestly, even though we’re talking like, oh, the highway is 20 degrees, you do warm up. And it was a little bit more tolerable, but from 20 degrees to seven degrees in that windshield we were talking about, I mean, that was very brief in the morning. Right. And that was rough, but we got past that. And that was tolerable for me more so than a a hundred degree, hot day in the Utah desert. But that’s my opinion.

2 (40m 24s):
Cool. Well that is our episode for the week. Thank you guys so much for tuning in, keep the adventures going with us on Instagram and YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast, tag us in your adventures and send us in those questions of the week.

3 (40m 38s):
If you found the information in this episode to be helpful, or if you’ve just thought we were playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always guys, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes,

1 (40m 52s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you.

3 (40m 57s):
Woo bye.

1 (40m 59s):

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