There are many awesome hikes in Capitol Reef, but some of the best (in our opinion) are a little off the beaten track. In order to get to these, you, the hiker, will need to drive south on the Notom Road, into the Waterpocket Fold. This part of Capitol Reef is much more wild and expansive than the main section of the park. Here is a list of the top 3 hikes in Waterpocket Fold:
Sheets Gulch – on your journey south, this is one of the first trails that you will find. (There are several trailheads that are actually outside of the park limits, and this is one of them.) Sheets Gulch begins as an easy walk in a dry riverbed. Soon, however, you will reach the slot canyon that makes this hike so endearing. The narrow canyon is manageable for most children, making Sheets Gulch a great family hike.
Red Canyon Trail – midway down the Notom Road, is the Cedar Mesa primitive campground. This is a perfect place to have a picnic, enjoy the presence of the Henry Mountains, or even stay a night. At one end of the campground is the trailhead for the Red Canyon Trail. This fairly short hike leads you to several amazing overlooks, and eventually into a rare (for this region) red sandstone canyon.
Mulley Twist – if you really want to experience all that the Waterpocket Fold region of Capitol Reef Has to offer, you need to hike Mulley Twist. There are two sections of this trail, an upper and lower. We prefer the lower part. Lower Mulley Twist is not a day hike, but if you don’t mind a few nights on the trail, (with the appropriate backcountry permit, of course) then you will really enjoy it. In addition to its own slot canyons, Lower Mulley Twist also gives you access to several other hikes – like Brimhall Bridges.
Anytime you are exploring the Waterpocket Fold, whether for a few hours or a few days, be sure to bring the right gear and plenty of water. Be safe, and be amazed by this surreal landscape.