For a moderate three to five hour outing in Capitol Reef National Park you would do well to choose the hike to Navajo Knobs. Over the 9 mile round-trip hike you gain and lose 1,500 feet. In the book Hiking from Here to WOW by Kathy and Craig Copeland, they suggest it’s one of the two must do hikes in the park.
The hike starts by the Fremont River. It follows the same trail as the hike to Hickman Bridge for the first 0.3 miles. Don’t be put off by the crowds. There’s also a warning sign that might scare some people. It says something to the effect – No stopping. Beware of falling rocks. It’s a short section and the bottom line is – don’t linger!
After you pass the trail intersection to Hickman Bridge the crowds thin – and become close to non-existent, even in high season.
About a mile up the trail you get a fabulous view of Hickman Bridge from above. People look puny in this landscape.
The grade of the trail is never steep. In fact most of it is a gentle slope with some of it on lovely slabs of sandstone – the closest thing to a natural ramp that I’ve hiked. Views are superlative, every step of the way.
This trail provides one of the best views of the Waterpocket Fold, a defining feature of Capitol Reef National Park. But you really need to go the top to get the full view.
The last five minutes of the hike is a little airy and requires a very minor amount of boulder scrambling. Our friend Ted who loathes heights, did it and was happy he’d made the effort, though I think he was even happier to be down.
There isn’t much in the way of shade on the hike and the only water you’ll find is at the river at the start of the trail. Be sure to carry several litres of water – more on hot days and don’t forget the sun hat and sunscreen either.
Of the four hikes we did in Capitol Reef, the Capitol Reefs hike was definitely my favourite.
For more information about Capitol Reef National Park visit their website.
Other posts related to this trip you might enjoy:
- The Devil’s Garden – Primitive Trail Hike in Arches National Park
- The Murphy Point Hike in the Islands in the Sky Area, Canyonlands NP
- A Sunrise Visit to Dead Horse State Park in Utah