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Capitol Reef NP on the way from Moab to Las Vegas?

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Mar 16th, 2012, 12:22 PM
  #1
Lev
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Capitol Reef NP on the way from Moab to Las Vegas?

Hi,
I am planning to drive from Las Vegas to Moab in the beginning of April, stay in Moab for 5 nights and explore (drive and hike) Arches NP, Island in the Sky area of Canyonlands NP and also visit Dead Horse Point State Park. Total: 4 full days exploring the area.
I am planning to leave Moab on the 5th day. Would you recommend driving through Capitol Reef NP on the way to Las Vegas? I can stop on Hwy 24 and hike the Hickman Bridge Tail. I will be driving Honda Accord and I am not sure if it is a good idea to take a Scenic Drive off Hwy 24 driving a regular car and hike in the area.. What do you think? If you recommend to do it, I will probably need at least a few hours in the park, stay overnight in Torrey and drive to Las Vegas the next day. I visited Bryce and Zion NP before therefore it will be a straight shot from Torrey to Las Vegas. If you would not recommend going through Capitol Reef NP, I'll just take Interstate 70 and 15 back to Las Vegas.
Thanks. Lev.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 01:24 PM
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Going through Capitol Reef would be more interesting than 70 to 15, but will take longer. Do stop and take in the views along the way even if you don't stop to hike. Look for some petroglyphs right along 24 just before you get to CR.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 01:59 PM
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Capitol Reef is not one of my favorite parks.

However, Hickman Bridge and Chimney Rock are reasonably scenic.

To hike either of these you don't even go into the park as the trail heads are directly off the main road.

I would suggest that you stop in Goblin Valley State Park between Moab and Capitol Reef.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 04:49 PM
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Definately stop at Goblin Valley. Little Wildhorse Canyon is right there too and is great. I really like the pies at Gifford House in Capitol Reef. The orchards there are pretty cool in Capitol Reef-you can pick fruit if you are there when something is in season. Eat as much as you like for free.

I think most of the destinations(like to a bridge or arch)in Capitol Reef aren't as spectacular as other parks in Utah. But, it is a far less visited park, so if you prefer to hike without many or even any people around, you'll love this place. It isn't my favorite either, but I will say that the colors there seem to be a bit more vibrant than the other places(although they are great too). The reds just seem to be a darker red there to me.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 04:51 PM
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Yeah, It is definately worth doing!!!

In Moab, check out www.deserthighlights.com
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Mar 16th, 2012, 06:22 PM
  #6
Lev
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Thanks guys.
My trips will be in the beginning of April. There are orchards in the park but probably still no fruit to pick.
What about driving Honda Accord on a Scenic Drive off Hwy 24 and hike in the area. Is the road good for 4 wheel drive/high clearance vehicles only?
Lev.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 07:02 PM
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You'll have to be more specific as to which Scenic Drive you mean. Many of them would need a high clearance 4 wheel drive. Some of them will depend on recent rainfalls. When it rains they can get really gutted out. Then, some of them you would be fine in, normally.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 07:43 PM
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24 is paved all the way, I'm not sure what roads you mean that would need 4wd, there are plenty of dirt roads to choose from.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 09:21 PM
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Lev,

What CR Natl park calls the Scenic Drive will not require a 4x4. It's paved part of the way and graded dirt the rest. It's an out-and-back road and there are some good hikes off it.

I like CR more than others, but I live in UT and get to go to all the parks frequently. My favorite hikes in CR (so far) are Hickman Bridge and The Golden Throne. Also highly recommend stopping and taking the footbridge along the Fremont River to see the petroglyphs. Very interesting and so accessible, it's a quick stop.

There are also lots of great petroglyphs to see along the Potash Rd. in Moab. This road starts just north of town and just south of the entrance to Arches NP. It follows the CO River for miles - also leads to one of my favorite hikes outside the Natl Parks in the Moab area - Corona Arch.

I hope you aren't going to Moab during Easter week! Do you have reservations all ready? That is Jeep Safari Week and it's a screeeeeming zoo.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 11:26 PM
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Lev
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I'll be driving to Moab from Las Vegas on Manday Apr.9 and staying in Moab from Apr.9 to Apr.14. I have already made a hotel reservation in Moab and a reservation for Fiery Furnace guided tour in Arches NP. If I understand you correctly I need to stop at Goblin Valley then proceed to Capitol Reef NP. Hike off Hwy 24 (Hickman Bridge Trail), drive to the Vistor Center and get weather conditions. Take the Scenic Drive south (they charge $5 per vehicle) and go on Golden Throne Trail. Return back to Hwy 24 and drive west to Torrey. Stay overnigh in Torrey. Drive to Las Vegas the following day. Did I miss anything significant? Would you recommend to stay overnight in Torrey or in another place closer to Las Vegas?
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Mar 17th, 2012, 04:18 AM
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There's no end to what you can keep adding.

Lower Calf Creek Falls. Between Boulder and Escalente. Not many waterfalls around so this is worth the effort.

Devil's Garden Escalente. A little east of Escalente. A somewhat grown up version of Goblin Valley. Nice to contrast.

Willis Creek slot canyon. Just south of Cannonville and a little east of Bryce Canyon. If you haven;t been to a slot canyon this is interesting. The drive there is an adventure. Stop at the visitors center in Cannonville to check the weather (this is a slot) and get driving instructions. At least now there's a sign at the parking lot.

I just checked. Driving all the way on Rt 12 / 89 / then 15 to LAS only adds about an hour to the drive. Probably worth it just for the drive and not the sights I mentioned.
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Mar 17th, 2012, 08:06 AM
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Lev, Capitol Reef is my second favorite park after Zion, Definitely worth the time to visit. I love it. In April while you won't have any fruit you will probably have blossoms. Nothing says spring like fruit trees in bloom!
The order you have in your last post is correct. My favorite easy trail in the park is the Capitol Gorge hike which is at the end of the scenic drive (last two miles are dirt but easy to do in a regular car unless there is threat of rain).
After Torrey the very scenic road highway 12 would be the recommended route. The places Myer listed are along it. You may not have time for any activities other than just stopping for pictures, but it is worth the detour if you didn't take it when you visited Bryce. You'll go right by Bryce and if you have a national Parks pass it is worth the stop to spend even half an hour just to look at the main amphitheater again
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Mar 17th, 2012, 09:10 AM
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Lev,

If you time is very limited, I would choose the Hickman Bridge and petroglyphs walk because they are the least time consuming, but with the best rewards. The Hickman hike does give you some nice views of a bit of the geography of the "reef". Definitely go to the Visitor's center and see their exhibits and movie. Then, finish off with the scenic drive and a hike in the Capitol Gorge for as far as you like.

Hwy 12 is awesome and a place everyone should see in their lifetime. I loved the Calf Creek Falls hike, although its 5 mi. and takes a while, the falls are more than enough pay off!

Last fall I recommended Willis Creek (based on Myer's reco) to a co-worker and his family who were going down to Escalante. They just loved it and said it was a very cool hike. Their kids had a blast - teen and tweens.

Have fun!
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Mar 17th, 2012, 11:37 AM
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To me, Little Wildhorse Canyon(within 10 minutes of Goblin Valley), is a great easy slot canyon. You would need at least a couple of hours to see it.

www.toddshikingguide.com is a cool website with a bunch of hikes in Utah and Arizaon. Little Wildhorse is one of the rare hikes that he gives 5 stars.
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Mar 17th, 2012, 12:39 PM
  #15
Lev
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OK. Here we go!
I'll leave Moab in the morning, drive to Goblin Valley State Park. Spend some time there, then proceed to Capitol Reef NP. Hike off Hwy 24 (Hickman Bridge Trail) and Petroglyph Walk, drive to the Vistor Center, see their exhibits and movie. Drive down the scenic drive to the end of the road and a hike in the Capitol Gorge (Golden Throne Trail.)Return back to Hwy 24 and drive west. As you recommended, I'd take Hwy 12 South West, hike Lower Caif Creek Falls between Boulder and Escalante(requires 3 hours for a round trip) then brief stop at Bryce (was there before). Then I'll take 89 North-20 West-15 South to Las Vegas. Probably way to much for 1 day: I'll need to exted this part of the trip for 2 days. Keeping in mind this itinerary, where would you recommend to stay overnight? In Torrey?
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Mar 17th, 2012, 01:46 PM
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Chuck Wagon in Torrey is decent. You could also stay at Boulder Mountain Lodge closer to Calf Creek Falls.

I don't know that I like Cassidy Arch better than Hickman Bridge. But I did like it probably equally as well. So, it would be another option in CR. The picnic area in CR is nice. Right next to it is Th Gifford House-homemade ice cream and really good pies-made from fruit in the orchard. The pies do sell out early though. They arrive there at 8:00AM

Also, Chuck Wagon has a good little deli/grocery store to pick up any sandwiches and other supplies. They have good bread pudding and salads in their deli too.
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Mar 17th, 2012, 01:48 PM
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I liked Little Wildhorse far better than any hike I did in CR, btw. So much so, that I did it again a year later.
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Mar 17th, 2012, 01:49 PM
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That should have read Austin's Chuck Wagon
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Mar 17th, 2012, 02:07 PM
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Dayle,
I didn't know you recommended Willis Creek to somebody.

I keep recommending it and it appears very few people get to go there. It's great that they had a good time there.

Getting there is an adventure but the actual hike thru the slots is an easy walk in the park.

Lev,
A year and a half ago I took my daughter to Utah for a few days.

On our first full day we went to Devil's Garden Escalante, Lower Calf Creek Falls, Willis Creek and got to Bryce Canyon in time for sunset.

As we're both into photography we spend several hours in each place. A full and excellent day.
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Mar 17th, 2012, 03:25 PM
  #20
Lev
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Myer,
I am into photgraphy too, but to reach Devil's Garden Escalante and Willis Creek I'll have to drive for miles off Hwy 12 on unpaved roads. I will not drive a 4 weel drive car or SUV, but Honda Accord. Do you think it is safe to drive a regular car in those areas?
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