Capitol Reef National Park is one of what are known as Utah’s “Mighty 5” national parks. It’s definitely one destination you’ll want to have on your bucket list. 

But which adventures within the park should be part of your itinerary? Let’s look at 3 bucket list activities in Capitol Reef National Park that you should be sure to include. 

1. Scenic Drives

There are several scenic byways that will give you spectacular views of the park’s natural features. If you’re short on time, you can get an overview of just what the park has to offer this way. 

There are also several other scenic drives that you can choose to do in this area, including the following: 

  • Highway 24 – runs through the heart of the park and takes 1 – 2 hours. It offers great views that definitely belong on your bucket list.
  • Capitol Reef Scenic Drive – 30 minutes to an hour, but best suited for AWD or 4WD vehicles.
  • Temple of the Sun and the Moon – 3 – 5 hours, but less crowded than other drives. Best suited for AWD or 4WD vehicles.
  • Burr Trail Scenic Byway – 4 – 5 hours, but it’s the most thrilling drive with winding switchbacks and steep elevations (AWD or 4WD vehicles are best).

Burr Trail Scenic Byway in Capitol Reef National Park

2. Beautiful Viewpoints

There are several incredible viewpoints throughout Capitol Reef National Park. You’ll want to make sure to see them so you can, as the movie The Bucket List stated, “Witness something truly majestic.” 

Here are three viewpoints that are easy to access from Highway 24: 

  • Panorama Point – located just off the highway, this offers 360-degree views of the stunning landscape you’ll see in the park.
  • Goosenecks Overlook – this overlook requires a short, uphill walk of about 0.2 miles, but the view of the gooseneck (a bend carved by the Sulphur Creek) is well worth an easy walk.
  • Sunset Point – as the name suggests, this is where it’s at when the sun is setting. With red rocks in the foreground and mountains in the background, you’ll find the view spectacular, to say the least. It’s a short (0.8 miles round trip) walk, but you’ll be glad you did it. 

The Castle at Sunset Point in Capitol Reef National Park

3. Capitol Reef National Park Bucket List Hikes

Of course, there are numerous hiking trails throughout the park, but the following are among the best and should definitely be added to your bucket list. 

Petroglyphs Panel

The Petroglyphs Panel in Capitol Reef National Park

This easy hike will take approximately 30 minutes, but you’ll travel back in time further than that. Petroglyphs are ancient drawings on rock walls made by indigenous Fremont and Ancestral Puebloan people who inhabited this area of Utah before European arrival. Their petroglyphs communicated their stories

Hickman Bridge Trail

This moderate hike takes about an hour and covers 1.8 miles. It follows the Fremont River and culminates in a viewpoint of the 133-foot naturally-formed Hickman Bridge, a rock formation that sits 300 feet above the Fremont River. 

Cassidy Arch Trail

Cassidy Arch in Capitol Reef National Park

If you’re looking to test your metal, the Cassidy Arch Trail is a moderate to strenuous 3.4-mile hike that will take about 2 hours. The trail reputedly gets its name from the wild west outlaw depicted in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It offers views of Grand Wash, which is one of the famous gorges that form part of the Waterpocket Fold. That, and the Cassidy Arch rock formation, are what makes it a bucket list hike!

Bucket List Glamping Nearby

If you’re doing a bucket list tour of Capitol Reef National Park and southern Utah, you’ll also want to stay in a unique yet comfortable and stylish place. Escalante Yurts offers just that with yurts that are suitable for any group. 

The yurts are heated and cooled, well-furnished with comfortable beds and clean, soft linens, and a hearty breakfast is included with your reservation. It’s truly a bucket-list glamping experience! 

Image Attributions:

Capitol Reef National Park

The Castle at Sunset Point

Petroglyphs in Capitol Reef National Park

Cassidy Arch.