Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cohab Canyon Hike, Capital Reef National Park, Utah

For our first hike in Capital Reef National Park we chose the Cohab Canyon Hike. This trail starts across the street from the Hickman Bridge trailhead parking lot. From the parking lot you have to cross the river via the highway bridge and look for a small trail sign about 25 yards past the bridge on the right side of the road.

We found the first ¼ mile of this trail to be a strenuous hike with plenty of steep switchbacks. After this initial section, the trail levels off and becomes moderate while following a hidden canyon.

This small hidden canyon was very interesting with the huge flat sheets of sandstone that frame the ridges to the smooth path water has made during the rainy season. Eventually the trail crosses through this small canyon and up the other ridge until you come to a small grassy plateau at the top. Here there is a trail sign at the junction of two trails for the north and the south overlooks.

The north overlook trail is about a 1/3 mile hike to the edge of the plateau. This location offers awesome views down into the canyon along Hwy 24 where you can see the petroglyphs area, Hickman Bridge trailhead and further west down the highway. You also get great views to the other sides of the canyon. The south overlook trail is about a ¾ of a mile hike from the junction and winds through large rock formations and through smoothly worn sandstone washes.

This trail eventually takes you to a panoramic viewpoint where you see down onto the Fruita valley area where all the orchards and the visitor center are located.

Amazing views! We were sorry that the fruit trees weren’t quite in bloom yet for this must be spectacular from this vantage point. The total hike was around 3 miles round trip and took us under 2 hours. This was a great hike that offered super views of the two main canyons in Capital Reef. The ranger that suggested this hike to us also mentioned that big horned sheep are often seen on the grassy plateau. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any during our hike….maybe you’ll have better luck!


Jerry and Suzy said...

What hath God wrought! Samuel F.B. Morse typed out that message on May 24, 1844, when he invented the telegraph. It perfectly describes the beautiful country you and we have a privilege to see in our travels. Utah is a prime state for fabulous scenery, and we thank you again for taking us there!

LiveWorkDream said...

Aww, I was hoping you'd do that hike. Cohab Canyon is where Jim proposed to me back in July, 1996. We went back there last year, and were taken back in time. The bighorn sheep even came out to greet us.

So glad you got to see it. It's truly a spectacular place.

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