Monday, September 22, 2014

Day 2 at Capitol Reef NP

Posted from Torrey, UT (Click on Pics to Enlarge)
For additional photos of the Hickman Bridge Trail and the Fremont River Trail please select this link.

On Thursday we decided to try two of the shorter hikes in the park.  The first, Fremont River Trail, is described as an “easy stroll along river, then steep climb to panoramas”. It’s listed as 1.0 mile each way. The trailhead begins near the Gifford House in the historic Fruita area. 

The first part of the trail runs along the Fremont River, which also happens to be near fruit orchards and the Fruita NPS Campground.  We walked thru the campground which seemed very nice, but might be a bit too tight for our rig. Also, this time of the year the campground is very busy. All first come, first served.

The orchard was producing plenty of apples this time of the year. These deer seemed quite at home with all of the visitors nearby and with apples galore to eat.

The first part of the trail is very flat and runs thru brush and tall grasses. There’s a fenced area for horses, but we saw none today.

The trail ascends fairly rapidly and views of the nearby river and ravines are spectacular.  We weren’t convinced that this wouldn’t be the day that this rock above our heads wouldn’t come tumbling down the hill, but it didn’t.

There are many interesting rock formations everywhere in the park, but this one seemed to be especially inviting.  We nicknamed it the “spa chair” rock. Karen found it very comfortable.

While still continuing to climb, stops were frequent to take pictures and view the amazing beauty around us.

Don’t forget to take a look at a bunch of additional pictures in the link listed at the beginning of this blog. (I just don’t like to “overdose” readers with pictures in the blog.) Here’s another vista, however.

We finally reached the top and there was no exaggeration in the NPS’ description of panoramas at the top.  We stopped for a snack break up here, some additional picture taking, and examined the cairns at the top.

After completing the first hike of the day we returned to the Historic Fruita area and ate lunch in one of the picnic areas. The weather was beautiful and the area not very crowded. Ok, we’re recharged and are ready for our next adventure.

On the way to the Hickman Bridge Trail we stopped to take a look at the Historic Fruita School located just east of the NPS Visitor’s Center on US24.  The school was in operation until 1941 and the schedule was flexible so that the students could work in the orchards during harvest seasons.

The Hickman Bridge Trail is supposed to be 0.9 miles each way, but it sure felt longer. It begins at a trailhead along US24, just down from the school house,  and begins to climb and wind through the rocks.  Several longer trails branch off of this trail, but our goal was to see the Hickman Bridge today.

Again, great views of surrounding rock formations from the trail.

A lot of the trail runs along the dry wash.  (BTW, signs are posted at most trailheads warning not to enter during rain or the possibly of rain as flash floods in these washes are common.) The walls of the canyons reflect a lot of heat on sunny days.

We finally arrived at the Hickman Bridge.  It is approximately 133 feet in length and is somewhat difficult to convey in a photograph.  This reminded me of Natural Bridge somewhat back in Virginia.

Water is very powerful, though not plentiful. I can just imagine the power of the water as it carves out the rocks and leaves beautiful designs in the landscape.  Here, the water has eroded the rock beneath, but the overhead remains intact.

Stay tuned for Capitol Reef NP Day #3 is our next blog.

Thank you for stopping by to take a look!


  1. You all are really seeing parts of the country and it's all different, but beautiful.

  2. Loved the Freemont trail. Was my spiral still on the ground by the cairns. Guess I am an overdoser. I don't leave my pictures "out there". Worked in IT too long to trust they won't lose them. :-)

    1. Sherry I saw your spiral in your blog, but I honestly didn't see it up on the peak. I might not have been looking for it, however, when we were up there.

    2. Well that's a bummer if someone undid it. It was behind the cairns. Oh well....I enjoyed it. Sorry you didn't see it.

  3. I'm always amazed at the sculpting nature has done in southern UT. I believe have the right idea.

  4. We barely knew of Capitol Reef before we visited there last year, but it was spectacular!

  5. One of the few parks we didn't get to when we lived in Utah ... all the more reason to return.

    1. Erin I think you'd like it. Pretty remote, however. Communication signals in that part of the area are few and far between.

  6. How can you not love Utah, so much to see and so much variety! Loved the new header photo, must have been absolutely stunning to see in person!