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A Hike On The Chimney Rock Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

A Hike on the Chimney Rock Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

If you’re looking for a short, easy hike in Capitol Reef National Park that delivers a landscape of red sandstone and badlands scenery choose the Chimney Rock trail. 

You’ll find the trailhead just off Highway 24. The only unfortunate thing with this hike is that you will see the highway on the southern part of the loop.

What the hike on the Chimney Rock Trail looks like

The hike starts with a walk through the muted purples, reds and browns of the Chinle formation. Then a climb of a short but steep 95 metres leaves you on a plateau at the intersection with the loop. Head counterclockwise. The hike climbs again as it takes you close to the edge of the Mummy Cliff. Those that are afraid of heights will want to stand way back. Others – like my husband will saunter up to the edge for the fantastic, though heart stopping view.

Look for Chimney Rock at the westernmost tip of the cliff.  From there the trail follows the highway offering plenty of viewpoints before moving away from the road. The trail passes wildly eroded rocks that look like the toes of a dinosaur. In short order you reach another intersection with a trail that takes you to Spring Canyon and eventually the Fremont River. It’s reportedly one of the best hikes in the park – and if you can arrange a shuttle you can do it as a 15.6 km (9.7 mi) one way hike.

At the intersection head left (west) and continue through a landscape of red, purple and brown on a good trail to return to the first intersection. Descend to the trailhead. All told the hike is 3.5 miles long with an elevation gain of 177 m (580 feet). Allow 90 minutes – two hours depending on how many photography stops you make. And don’t forget the water or sunscreen.

A Hike on the Chimney Rock Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

Starting off on the Chimney Rock Trail

A Hike on the Chimney Rock Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

Take lots of water when you’re hiking anywhere in Capitol Reef National Park

A Hike on the Chimney Rock Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

Awesome views within 20 minutes of starting the hike

A Hike on the Chimney Rock Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

Aptly named Chimney Rock

A Hike on the Chimney Rock Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

Once you get away from the road you feel like you’re in the wild west

A Hike on the Chimney Rock Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

Interesting geology and erosion patterns

A Hike on the Chimney Rock Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

Another example of where you feel insignificant in a landscape like this

A Hike on the Chimney Rock Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

Every foot of the Chimney Rock hike is a scenic one

Other Capitol Reef National Park hikes I’d recommend:

A Hike on the Chimney Rock Trail, Capitol Reef National Par

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has One Comment
  1. The views are incredible. Thanks for sharing with us. I don’t think anyone could get tired of seeing those sights, its overwhelming.

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