Capitol Reef an explorer’s challenge

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Capitol Reef an explorer’s challenge

Capitol Reef a true quest
Thomas Holt Ward walks toward the colorful and textured crack that leads to the lumpy crest of Dome 6,630.
Hickman Natural Bridge, a short side trip, is 133 feet long and 125 feet high.
Dome 6,821, Stegosaur Fin, resembling a standard normal distribution curve, is impossible to climb but aesthetically captivating.

Capitol Reef an explorer’s challenge

Thomas Holt Ward walks toward the colorful and textured crack that leads to the lumpy crest of Dome 6,630.
Hickman Natural Bridge, a short side trip, is 133 feet long and 125 feet high.
Dome 6,821, Stegosaur Fin, resembling a standard normal distribution curve, is impossible to climb but aesthetically captivating.
Trail basics

Travel: The quickest and shortest route from Durango to Capitol Reef: Mancos, Dove Creek, Monticello, Blanding, Fry Canyon, Hanksville, and west into the park on Utah State Route 24. It is about 290 miles and takes 5 hours, 30 minutes. The Hickman Bridge Trailhead is two miles east of the visitor center. The parking area is on the north side of the two-lane.
Fees: A seven-day pass is $10 per vehicle, or show your annual National Parks Pass. Park facilities are open year-round.
Fruita Campground: This idyllic, shady campground is adjacent to the Fremont River, tucked amongst historic fruit orchards. The 71 sites, available only on a first-come, first-served basis, fill by mid-morning in spring and fall. There are bathrooms, fire grates, picnic tables, and water. The fee is $20 per night.
Distance and Elevation Gain: 6.5 miles out-and-back to Rim Overlook and Dome 6,630 with 1,700 feet of climbing. Hickman Natural Bridge adds 1.4 miles roundtrip.
Total Time: 3½ to 5 hours.
Difficulty: Trail and off trail; navigation, moderate; mild exposure on the dome and friction pitches; Class 2+; carry all the water you will need.
Maps: Fruita, UT, 7.5 Quad; Hiking Map & Guide: Capitol Reef National Park; or Trails Illustrated: Capitol Reef No. 267, all available at the visitor center, open daily, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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