UT – Capitol Reef National Park, Chimney Rock and Spring Canyon

As I indicated in a previous post, Joan and I decided to immerse ourselves in Capitol Reef National Park. We’d spent four days backpacking through Upper Muley Twist Canyon and Lower Muley Twist Canyon, then spent a day in Capitol Gorge exploring the Golden Throne, Petroglyphs, Narrows, Pioneer Register and Tanks. Next on the agenda was another backpack trip, this time through Upper Spring Canyon starting from Chimney Rock. According to the WOW guidebook, “if you must choose only one hike in Capitol Reef National Park, make it Spring Canyon or Navajo Knobs.” Since I previously hiked the Navajo Knobs trail, Spring Canyon it was!

Whenever there is a viewpoint, that’s where you’ll find Jan. Thanks Joan for capturing some action photos of me. 

This canyon feels very different than Muley Twist. The walls are grandiose. According to NPS, “Spring Canyon is deep and narrow with towering Wingate cliffs and Navajo domes.”

This is the junction for Lower and Upper Spring Canyon. Most choose lower so of course we choose upper. 

The big surprise of our trip. SNOW!!! 

We found a really sweet campsite, protected from the wind.

A really cool home for a spring. There was a fair amount of water in Spring Canyon, named for the multiple springs. However, most was not the best caliber and we were grateful that we’d carried sufficient.

Joan collected some water just in case, but upon closer inspection there were tiny worms swimming around, probably something we didn’t want to ingest. 

Adventure Dates:

  • March 29-30, 2018


  • According to NPS, “The route not an official, maintained trail. It is marked with rock cairns and signs, but carrying a topo map is recommended. Route conditions, including obstacles in canyons, change frequently due to weather, flash floods, rockfall, and other hazards. Route finding, navigation, and map-reading skills are critical. Do not rely solely on unofficial route markers such as rock cairns which are not maintained by NPS. It is extremely hot in summer and water sources are unreliable.”
  • Free backcountry permits are required for all overnight trips and can be obtained at the Visitor Center.
  • Obtain a copy of the trail handout at the Visitor Center. It has tips about the POI’s as well as trail beta.
  • Be aware of biological soil crust. 



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