Visiting Capitol Reef Country in the Winter

If you’re hoping to experience the beauty of Capitol Reef Country while escaping the crowds that come with peak season, a wintertime visit is an ideal solution. Whether you’re an adventure seeker on the hunt for your next thrill or a nature lover looking to explore endless rock formations, Capitol Reef has something for every type of traveler.

Planning a visit to Capitol Reef National Park this winter? Here are some of our favorite things to do for an epic winter trip:

  1. Take a Scenic Drive

Cruising along the Capitol Reef National Park Scenic Drive is the perfect way to enjoy the stunning natural beauty while staying cozy in the warmth of your car. Pop on your best road trip playlist and enjoy eight miles of pure bliss. Winter here can be unpredictable, so be sure to check the road conditions beforehand.

  1. Camp Under the Stars

As an International Dark Sky Park, Capitol Reef yields some of the most awe-inspiring starry night sky views in the country. What better way to experience this beauty in full force than by camping overnight to take it all in?

  1. Go For a Hike

Hiking is one of the most popular Capitol Reef Country winter activities for tourists and locals alike. As long as you bundle up in layered clothing and prepare well for potentially slippery trail conditions, a winter hike can be incredibly rewarding. Try the Hickman Natural Bridge Trail, Chimney Rock Loop Trail, or Capitol Gorge Trail.

  1. Take a Guided ATV Tour

With hundreds of miles of diverse terrain to explore, an ATV tour is an exhilarating way to make the most of your time in the park. There are several local outfitters that offer winter tours with varying trails to suit riders of all experience levels.

  1. Check Out the Petroglyphs

No visit to Capitol Reef Country would be complete without setting aside some time to check out the ancient petroglyphs carved into the cliffs. While there are several spots where you can find them, the most well-preserved example is located approximately 1.5 miles east of the visitor center on Highway 24.

  1. Go Wildlife Watching

During the winter months when fewer visitors are traipsing around the park, wildlife sightings are not uncommon. Bring your binoculars and keep your eyes peeled for a diverse array of winter wildlife; like mule deer, foxes, coyotes, eagles, and hawks.

  1. Try Your Hand at Ice Fishing

If you’ve never tried this popular winter sport, now is the time. You can venture out to one of Boulder Mountain’s high-elevation lakes to experience the tranquility of ice fishing while basking in the lush beauty of evergreen pine forests. Posey Lake and Cyclone Lake are both stocked annually with rainbow trout.

Final Thoughts

While these are some of our favorite things to do when visiting Capitol Reef Country in the winter, this list barely scratches the surface of all that this beautiful region has to offer during this time of year. Come see for yourself why winter is one of the best times to visit Capitol Reef National Park – you won’t be disappointed.

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.

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