Capitol Reef NP - Memorial Day Weekend


I slay white dragons, adventure, and take photos
Jan 20, 2012
As many of you know, the barl0w family went down to CRNP for the Memorial Day Weekend, and thanks to all of those who helped with the trip planning. Every bit helped, so thank you again!

As school let out on Friday, and as fast as we could get the canine to grandma's house for dog sitting, we left for Torrey, UT, and roughed it at the Day's Inn. This would serve as our home-base, as beds and free breakfast were at the top of the family's list for our first adventure out this year.

First-things-first: we hit the indoor pool and relaxed afterwards. It was windy down in Torrey, and actually quite chilly (after arriving back on Monday we saw the new snow on Timpanogos)!

On Saturday, the wind hadn't let up at all. While at the Visitor's Center (VC), we learned the weather wasn't going to let up and it might even rain. So, we watched the free movie, and picked up our Jr. Ranger material. It happened to be great timing, as a geology presentation was scheduled perfectly. So, the kids joined the ranger program and worked on their Jr. Ranger books.

Soon after, we left the VC in search of Petroglyphs, and went straight for the Petroglyph Panel on Hwy 24:

The best ones were the one-eyed alien coming out of the sheep's butt, and the rabbit coming out of the hat!

The next published panel of petroglyphs was at Capitol Wash. It was also a simple hike (flat) to get the family in the mood despite the weather. After paying the $4.00 fee at the self service fee station we arrived at the TH around 30 mins later. Well, it was so windy and chilly at the TH, that the girls decided to wait in the car. Boy, did they miss out!

Near the first 2-300 yards of the hike, we saw more petroglyphs (hard to miss when there's a sign pointing them out), and a sweet cavity in the rock the boys climbed into:

Down a mile or so from the entrance were the Water Tanks. Silly me, I thought it would be a literal water tank perhaps the pioneers built. Well, these were the coolest tanks w/out water that I've seen:

There was one even a third one with an arch:

Good thing the Mrs. wasn't there to tell us not to jump down.

On the way back, we took another look at the Pioneer Registry (between the petroglyphs and Water Tanks):

And made our way back out:

It was the afternoon by then, and the threat of rain had seemed to subside. I took the opportunity to drive over to Burro Wash along Notom-Bullfrog Road.

When we arrived I approached some guys that had just come out. They told me it was 2 miles to the start of the narrows, which was a bummer - as I know that was a bit more than our mood was ready for. So, we went exploring (an easy) 4x4 style and found a really nice trailhead that not only got us closer to Pleasant Creek, but that had some super-awesome free camping spots. The last camping spot reminded me of the one we stayed at a week earlier down in Zion (thanks Nick!).

Here's a map, and a photo:

We went as far back as the road took us, and ended up about 1 mile away from Pleasant Creek and probably 1.5 miles away from Burro Wash. Although I intended to lead the family on a hike to Burro Wash, I ended up taking us into Pleasant Creek. We scared some cows on the way, hiked along a dry wash, and then hit Pleasant Creek and hiked a ways in. When the kids started getting hungry, we turned around and got back to the car, following the GPS track back.

That night, I planned a bit better as I heard from the troops that they wanted a more challenging and well-defined-trail of a hike. Navajo Knobs sounded like it would be a perfect fit, and so we went straight there after hitting the ranger station where the kids turned in their Jr Ranger books for their badges.

Now, the Navajo Knobs hike is a fantastic hike. A great slope most of the way, a well made-out trail, lots of lizards to chase, stones to rest on, and the views are just incredible. This is a definite must-do.

Here's our GPS track: The hike was recorded at being 9.31 miles, 3.5 hrs., and had an ascent of 2,377 ft.

Hickman Bridge from along the trail:

A fun shelter for the kids:

The views:

Some of the trail that leads you along the cliff (totally safe distance):

And fun stuff like breaks and then the top of the 'Knobs':

Again, such a great hike. Seeing the Hickman Bridge along the way confirmed that it would be a nice place for star trails too. Afterwards we hit the Visitor's Center again to pick up the other 2-3 books the kids could work on, and visited the Ripple Rock Nature Center to earn the Junior Geologist patch. The kids loved the programs, and felt great accomplishing such a hike.

Patches and Badges:

I knew that Sunday night was going to be my last effort to get out and do star trails. Hickman Bridge looked awesome, and so I took the ladies with me on the short 1 mile hike to the bridge with our headlamps and camera stuff, while the boys wanted to stay and watch the Food Network or something. The hike was quite easy, and at 10 pm we were the only ones on the trail and at the bridge. Here's 40 x 30 sec photos StarStax'd and one photo with the bridge illuminated by our headlamps combined together. I already posted this in the Star Trail thread, so I apologize for the repeat:

Hickman Bridge by Scott Barlow, on Flickr

On Monday, our last day, the weather was gorgeous. The wind had finally calmed down, the skies cleared. It was pretty warm! It was the perfect opportunity to hike Sulpher Creek from the bottom-up!

For the first 30 mins of the hike, the water felt chilly. But that didn't stop us from skipping rocks, looking for lizards, and splashing in the river.

Hiking along I got the group together for a pose:

After 30 mins, we arrived at the first waterfall:

Right after taking photos above the first waterfall, we turned back:

During the hike out, the water seemed to warm up, and the kids were happy until the end, and even asking when we'll be coming back to visit the rest of the park.

I have a feeling that we really didn't scratch the surface of seeing most of the cool places in the park. Sure we ate pie, bought salsa from the country store, saw petroglyphs, hiked and took photos. So with that, we looking forward to visiting again possibly later in 2012.

Featured image for home page:


Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
May 5, 2012
Very similar to my first visit to CRNP. The stuff around the visitor's center just gives you a taste. Nice shot with the star trails.


Aug 9, 2007
Awesome, Scott. Looks like a great trip. For some reason, base-camping out of the Days Inn sounds really, really nice to me right now. Might be time for a vacation that doesn't involve sleeping on a tarp. :)
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Tyler Capitol Reef Memorial Day weekend 2010 Hiking & Camping 7
WasatchWill Seeking Family History in Capitol Reef Backpacking 11
NorthwestWanderer 4 Days Backpacking Capitol Reef : Spring Canyon & Various side canyons Backpacking 5
Stephanie B Fishing (for Trout) and Hunting (for Rock Art) In and Near Capitol Reef National Park Hiking & Camping 7
IntrepidXJ Capitol Reef: Pilot Canyoneering Permit System General Discussion 0
Titans Prescribed burn South Monroe Mountain- photos from Capitol Reef area Photography 0
Stephanie B Capitol Reef National Park - First Real Visit Hiking & Camping 6
WasatchWill Backpacking Pleasant Pocket Mesa, Capitol Reef NP Backpacking 15
JulieKT Capitol Reef Temple of the Moon vandalism General Discussion 8
S Spring Canyon, Capitol Reef-vehicle shuttle Sun, Mar 24. Meet Up (Members Only) 0
WasatchWill Beehive Traverse - Through the Heart of Capitol Reef's Waterpocket Fold Backpacking 37
fossana Spring Canyon/Sulphur Canyon loop (Capitol Reef) Hiking & Camping 20
Jackson A Solo Stroll Near Capitol Reef Backpacking 17
Outdoors24 Overnight in Capitol Reef: A trip that ended early Backpacking 12
regehr Capitol Reef Star Party Trip Planning 0
J Capitol Reef Natl Park, Dayhikes March 29-April 2, 2018 Hiking & Camping 2
Nethos Capitol Reef/Escalante 2018 Trip Planning 11
Reef&Ruins Elf Slipper at Capitol Reef General Discussion 1
Ravialdo Capitol Reef in September? Trip Planning 3
WasatchWill Two trips in one at Capitol Reef Backpacking 12
Perry Capitol Reef NP - Navajo Knobs Trail Hiking & Camping 3
Perry Capitol Reef NP - Cassidy Arch from Cohab Canyon Trail Hiking & Camping 4
Perry Capitol Reef NP Hiking and Road Trip Suggestions Wanted Trip Planning 1
Parma Capitol Reef, Upper Muley Twist Day Hike Backpacking 19
J Dayhiking Capitol Reef Natl Park, Back to Utah! April 5-8, 2017 Hiking & Camping 4
M Capitol Reef backcountry recommendations? Trip Planning 9
Nick Cedar to Capitol Reef Hiking & Camping 11
W Waterpocket Canyon (Capitol Reef) non-technical access to upper part? General Discussion 1
WasatchWill Hiking Capitol Reef's Navajo Knobs Hiking & Camping 8
Seldom Seen Anderson Capitol Reef Ultras Trail Marking Hiking & Camping 2
CaptnKidd North End of Lake Powell and Southern Tip of Capitol Reef Hiking & Camping 11
IntrepidXJ Birthday Weekend in Capitol Reef Hiking & Camping 13
Jammer Rock the Park TV Series -- Capitol Reef General Discussion 6
Jammer Zion to Capitol Reef Hike Backpacking 21
uintahiker Fremont River Waterfall -Capitol Reef General Discussion 3
nsato311 Capitol Reef and Hanksville Trip Planning 3
WasatchWill Going Solo in Capitol Reef Backpacking 27
Jammer Zion to Capitol Reef Trip Planning 25
piper01 Southern UT in April: Cedar Mesa, Capitol Reef, GSENM Trip Planning 6
bscuderi capitol reef help Trip Planning 7
Joey Capitol Reef's Spring Canyon and Sulphur Creek loop from Holt Draw Backpacking 12
WasatchWill Invite Capitol Reef Loop: April 9 - 11 Meet Up (Members Only) 0
natylka Hiking 25 miles at Capitol reef for the weekend. Hiking & Camping 19
Ron Diel Nine Days in Capitol Reef Hiking & Camping 9
steve Where are your favorite primitive camping spots near Capitol Reef/Torrey? General Discussion 6
uintafly Capitol Reef in April Trip Planning 8
steve Thanksgiving: Capitol Reef to Boulder Mountain Off Road 5
pixie1339 Invite Anyone going to Capitol Reef this weekend? Meet Up (Members Only) 4
Christian Bryce, GSENM and Capitol Reef Hiking & Camping 17
Dave Sulphur Creek, Capitol Reef Trip Planning 3

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.