This past summer, we took a road trip with the kids and explored all over Utah. We took two days exploring Capitol Reef National Park and had a great time! It is extremely family-friendly and offers a lot of activities that all ages can enjoy. Here are our favorites!
Beat the heat and start your day off bright and early with a 1.7 mile roundtrip hike to the stunning Hickman Bridge. We hiked this trail with my 11 month old, 3 year old, and 5 year old. There is a decent amount of incline throughout the the trek, but nothing too extreme. There is also a Hickman Bridge information trail guide that you can buy at the trailhead. There are numbered spots along the trail to match the guide and provide you with insight about your trek. We unfortunately didn’t do it because we were unaware of it until it was too late.
Step back 1,000 years and witness some of Capitol Reef’s ancestral history. The Petroglyphs Trail is a very accessible 0.3 mile stroll along a viewing boardwalk that showcases petroglyphs (carved or pecked images into rock) etched into the surrounding sheer cliff walls.
Pro tip – Keep your eyes peeled for images all along the way. Some are obvious, while others can be easily missed if you aren’t observant! Bring your binoculars to enjoy the details in the artwork.
Grifford Homestead is a must-see stop and the perfect spot to picnic! What was formally a kitchen, the Grifford Homestead was converted into a small shop that sells a bunch of unique finds and tasty treats. They sell handmade goods from local artisans such soaps, quilts, jams, candles, crockery, toys, and more! We picked up a couple of scrumptious pies and picnicked in the park across the way. There is a large grassy field for the kids to run, bathrooms, and picnic tables. We loved the pies so much that we came back the next day to buy more!
Pro Tip – There is a cooler with little ice creams for sale that pair perfectly with the pies!
Pick Fruit in the Orchards
Capitol Reef offers a fun and unique experience, a U-PICK orchard only a couple miles from the visitor center! The orchards are a historic piece of the park and show a glimpse of the past from when pioneers planted the fruit trees way back in the early 1900s. June – October is optimal harvest season. Depending on when you visit, you can find apricots, apples, pears, peaches, and cherries ripe and ready for the pickings. Check this out for more information about the orchards and plan your visit!
Sulphur Creek Trail
This was my favorite hike of the trip! The trail itself is still very unclear to me. I tried to find the exact location of the trailhead, but from what I’ve learned, there are many ways to go about this trail. So this is just my way and it’s very kid-friendly!
Route – What we did was ask a ranger at the visitor center and they advised us to hike directly behind the visitor center until we hit the creek. Then, you can go left or right down the creek. We traveled right (towards the Utah State Route 24 road) and it was very pleasant! We really had no agenda. I’m not sure how far we went because it was more for the experience rather than the distance. The kids loved playing in the creek and checking out the surrounding nature. It was so fun and refreshing!
Pro tip – Wear water shoes! This trail is in the creek. So plan to get wet!
Enjoy a scenic drive!
The drive into Capitol Reef National Park is absolutely breathtaking! Spots such as Sunset Point, Panorama Point, The Fluted Wall, Behunin Cabin, and the Fruita Schoolhouse are all quick and easy pull offs to add to your drive. Take your time, enjoy the scenery, and soak in all of the beauty that Capitol Reef has to offer!
Exploring any national park can certainly build up an appetite. End the day at Capitol Burger. This food truck is conveniently located minutes from the west entrance of Capitol Reef in the little town of Torrey. They serve up a variety of delicious burgers and sides, along with a vegan patty substitute option for vegetarians.