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The Navajo Knobs Hike In Capitol Reef National Park

The Navajo Knobs Hike in Capitol Reef National Park

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.

It's 4.5 miles one way to the Navajo Knobs

Its 4.5 miles one way to the Navajo Knobs

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.

Lovely, mostly easy walking along the trail to the Navajo Knobs, Capital Reef NP

Lovely, mostly easy walking along the trail to the Navajo Knobs

Navajo Nubs hike

Volcanic boulders strewn around the landscape at the start of the hike

About a mile up the trail you get a fabulous view of Hickman Bridge from above. People look puny in this landscape.

Hickman Bridge from above

Hickman Bridge from above

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.

Capital Reef National Park

Distinctive peak – the Pfctols Pyramid

Western scrub jay

Western scrub jay

Looking down towards the road through the park

Looking down towards the road through the park

Interesting topography seen from the Navajo Knobs Trail

Interesting topography seen from the Navajo Knobs Trail

Part of the Navajo Knobs trail is on a ramp of sandstone

Part of the Navajo Knobs trail is on a ramp of sandstone

Erosion at work - Capital Reef

Erosion at work

Wild rock formations - Capital Reef

Wild rock formations

red path - Capital Reef National Park

Red path to the Navajo Knobs

Navajo Knobs trail

The last bit of the hike to the knobs

Capital Reef National Park

We only see another half dozen people on the hike

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.

Navajo Knobs view

The view from the top – looking down on the Capital Reef Visitor Centre

Capital Reef National Park - view from Navajo Knobs

Another view from the Navajo Knobs

John and Ted descending from the top of the Navajo Knobs

John and Ted descending from the top of the Navajo Knobs

Heat loving wildflowers - Capital Reef

Heat loving wildflowers

Near the bottom of the Navajo Knobs

Different perspective – near the bottom of the Navajo Knobs

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 Navajo Knobs hike in Capital Reef National Park

Leigh McAdam

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

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