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Rim Trail – Capitol Reef National Park
1
Overview
Location

Capitol Reef National Park

Sights

Hickman Bridge, overlook of Fruita

Distance

About 4.2 miles roundtrip

Parking Lot Elevation

5337 ft

Summit Elevation

6372 ft

Elevation Gain/Loss

1035 ft

Time Required

2-3 hours

Pets

Not allowed on trail

Fees

None

Water Info

Bring 2 liters of water

Best Season

Spring, summer, fall

Hours

Open year round

Sun Exposure

Shade is minimal. If you hike this in the summer bring a hat and sunglasses

Trail Condition

Dirt and sandstone mix. There are cairns marking the trail.

Restrooms

At trailhead

Visitor Center

Yes, back in Fruita

Camping

Not allowed here

Food

Bring some snacks and a meal if needed

Equipment

Good hiking shoes with good grip
Backpack for your food and water

Family Friendly?

Yes

GPS Coordinates:

Trailhead: 38.28872, -111.22758
Rim Overlook: 38.29108, -111.24931

Trail Map


Driving Directions


The Trail:

The Rim Trail is rated as moderate as it steadily gains elevation to an overlook to Fruita and the Capitol Reef entrance area.  This was a very fun hike and offers incredible views of Hickman Bridge and the rest of the reef.  As someone who was new to Capitol Reef I got some hiking recommendations from a few rangers and both of them said the Rim Trail was a “good introduction” to the park – I couldn’t agree more!

This trail starts at the same trailhead as Hickman Bridge and you follow it for a little bit until you see a sign that points you up to the rim.

The trail really doesn’t have any steep areas; it just slowly gains in elevation.  You will see lots of cairns guiding you to the top, however, there were a few spots where the cairns were hard to see.  Keep an eye out for them!

You will come to a sign that points you to a quick detour to check out Hickman Bridge from a distance.  Since I hiked to this bridge earlier in the day I didn’t feel the need to go over and see it again.  But the detour was very short and may be worth a look to you.

I really enjoyed this hike!  It was just fun to leisurely explore and spend time seeing a national park which I haven’t visited until now!

You will eventually come to another sign pointing you to the overlook or the Navajo Knobs.  Go left to the overlook but be extremely careful here as there is a steep cliff edge that pops out of nowhere.

The overlook gives you an incredible view of Fruita and the reef.

On this particular day, I was the only one on the trail and it was nice to have it all to myself!  I came right before sunset too which seemed to be the perfect time to visit.

The Return:

Go back the same way you came up.

Personal Thoughts:

The Rim Trail was one of my favorite trails in Capitol Reef.  I think what made it one of my favorites was a combination of things: perfect weather, it was near sunset time, and it was an easy hike.   I recommend you do this trail!
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Ratings (out of 10)
Trek Planner Rating
User Rating
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Difficulty
3.5
Technicality
2.5
Enjoyment
6.5
9.0
The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

6.3
Trek Planner Rating
9.0
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About The Author
Jeff Johnson
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you! JeffTJohnson@ymail.com

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1 Comment on "Rim Trail – Capitol Reef National Park"

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jman
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Great pictures!