One of the best all-round hikes in Capitol Reef National Park is Cassidy Arch. If you get the chance, we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch encourage you to hike this trail.
Directions to the Trailhead – The trailhead for Cassidy Arch is located in the Grand Wash – part of the Capitol Reef Scenic Drive. Just continue driving past the visitor’s center and the campgrounds until you arrive at the scenic road. There is a toll to enter. Drive for an additional four miles until you see the turn off for Grand Wash. Turn here, drive the dirt road and park at the trailhead.
Trail Description – The hike begins in the Grand Wash Canyon (which you can take to the Capitol Reef Narrows.) After a short distance the trail starts to climb the face of the cliff. The switchbacks are steep, and the ascent is strenuous. Eventually the trail levels out to a gentle incline. At the end of the hike, you will reach Cassidy Arch. You can walk across the arch and/or admire it from one of many angles.
If you want to continue hiking forward, you can take Frying Pan Trail, which connects Cassidy Arch and Cohab Canyon. Cohab Canyon exists near the Gifford House, by the campgrounds. If not, return the way you came. Cassidy Arch trail is three and a half miles and will take approximately two to three hours to complete.
Tips and Advise – Make sure you go early in the morning. The summer sun is merciless and will make the hike less enjoyable.
Water is essential. According to the National Park, you should carry 48 to 64 ounces per person for this hike.
Sometimes the path is a little hard to follow. Watch for the Cairns (those little stacks of rock) to mark the trail.
Conclusion – We at the Lodge at Red River Ranch love Cassidy Arch. The view from the top is incredible and the arch is well worth the trip. For more info, visit the Capitol Reef website.