The Rim Overlook Trail is one of the longest maintained hiking trails in Capitol Reef National Park. Capitol Reef National Park is a favorite among tourists and is at the center of Utah’s “Mighty Five”.
The Rim Overlook Trail is not too challenging and can be completed by any healthy adult or older child. No special hiking gear is required other than suitable walking shoes. There is little to no shade along the trail, so hikers are advised to take proper precautions. The hike is easily navigated, with signs and markers throughout.
The Rim Overlook Trail, also known as the Navajo Knobs Trail, has the greatest elevation gain of 1,600 feet. This elevation is spread gradually throughout the trail. Avoiding any overly steep sections, with a constant gradient of 15 percent, the Rim Overlook Trail has some of the most spectacular viewpoints in Capitol Reef National Park. Hikers can venture to the Rim Overlook for a four-and-a-half-mile round trip or challenge themselves by hiking to the Navajo Knobs, a ten-mile round trip.
The trailhead is easy to reach from the Capitol Reef Visitor Centre. Take Highway 24 East for two miles to the signed Hickman Bridge Trailhead. The trail is located to the North of Highway 24, just before a bridge over the Fremont River.
From the valley floor, the trail begins North of the Fremont River, running beneath a line of cliffs and through a recent rockfall. The trail then continues up the Kayenta sandstone, further ahead to a short trail leading East toward remnants of the Fremont Culture pit house. Further along the path, hikers will come to a junction where they can choose to venture West to the Hickman Bridge Trail or continue North to the Rim Overlook.
Continuing with a steady ascent, the Rim Overlook Trail runs for a while in view of the other trail. Half a mile further and hikers will encounter the Hickman Bridge Viewpoint. From here, hikers can enjoy breath taking views of Pectol’s Pyramid. The characteristic peak of the pyramid is complemented among the beautiful volcanic boulders contrasting against the light sandstone slab.
Halfway along, the trail comes to the Rim Overlook. From here, hikers are 1,000 feet above Fruita and can enjoy spectacular views of the river, Sulphur Creek and Scenic Drive. The path gently descends from here and continues onto the next side canyon. Hikers can continue toward the southern edge of Longleaf Flat and can enjoy spectacular views of the jagged formation of The Castle.
The Rim Overlook is where the majority of hikers turn around and go back. However, the trail continues for another couple of miles, where hikers can enjoy photo-worthy views of Castle Rock and Waterpocket Field. One final climb brings hikers to the top of the Navajo Knobs. The Navajo Knobs offer hikers amazing 360-degree views. Often described as one of the best viewpoints in Capitol Reef National Park, the views from this point are truly epic, not to be missed.
Keep Capitol Reef Country Forever Mighty
What is Forever Mighty? It’s practicing responsible travel while visiting Utah and Capitol Reef Country by following the principles of Tread Lightly and Leave No Trace.
Plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, be considerate of others, support local business and honor community, history and heritage. Help us keep Utah and Capitol Reef Country’s outdoor recreation areas beautiful, healthy, and accessible.