- Petroglyphs and imagining the people from back then
Prepare in advance
To visit Capitol Reef in the spring, you should dress in layers. The mornings and evenings are chilly, but it is very nice during the day. Bring good hiking shoes and comfortable hiking clothes.
Recommended time of the year
Winters can get pretty cold in Capitol Reef and the middle of summer is pretty hot. For the very best weather, go around spring and fall.
Visitors should consider buying the annual national park pass to save money.
About This Day
This mini adventure in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, is a perfect mix of relaxing nature and epic views. Emerge from your tents at Fruita Campground to enjoy a low-key morning strolling along the Petroglyph Panel walk. For lunch, head to Slackers Burger Joint for burgers and milkshakes. Afterwards, burn off some energy hiking to Cassidy Arch. Pack food and enjoy a picnic dinner on top of Cassidy Arch to end a perfect day.
Capitol Reef's Petroglyph Panel has a great walkway to walk along and see all the petroglyphs (ancient Native American rock carvings). There are also some great binoculars at the beginning of the walk to let your kids see the petroglyphs up close.
DIRECTIONS From the Fruita Campground, drive 0.5 miles (1 km) northwest to the visitor center. At the visitor center, take a right onto Highway 24 and go another 0.5 miles (1 km). The petroglyphs are on the left.
TIP Make sure to stop at the Capitol Reef Visitor Center on your way to the Petroglyph Panel and get Junior Ranger books so your kids can work on getting their badges. Also, get a map of the area to help you navigate this beautiful park. At the Petroglyph Panel, make sure to walk along the entire walkway and keep your eyes out for all the petroglyphs along the way.
Slackers Burger Joint
165 East Main Street, Torrey
After enjoying the petroglyphs, take a detour for some burgers. Slackers Burger Joint gets glowing reviews on Google. Decide for yourself if they are worth the hype. We didn't think the burgers and shakes were the best we ever had, but they were exactly what we needed before our hike and we liked the atmosphere of the place.
DIRECTIONS Slackers Burger Joint is located 10 miles (16 km) south of the Capitol Reef Visitor Center.
Hands down, Cassidy Arch was my favorite hike during our recent spring break adventure to Capitol Reef National Park. This hike is rated as strenuous and my girls did a fair amount of complaining about the steep climb, but the incredible views, the rock formations, the colors and the amazing arch at the end are absolutely worth the climb.
DIRECTIONS From Capitol Reef Visitor Center, drive 3.5 miles (5.6 km) southward along the Scenic Drive. Turn left onto Grand Wash Road and drive to the trailhead. It will dead-end into the parking area.
TIP Bring lots of snacks or even a picnic to eat at the top. If you are hiking this trail in March, wear layers to take off when you get warm. Go slow and allow for plenty of breaks along the way. Keep your kids close, since there are cliffs and drop-offs.
WE LOVEDWe loved all the fruit trees in and around the campground. We loved the rocks to climb on and play. We loved hanging out around the campfire, eating s'mores and telling stories. We loved seeing all the stars in the dark night sky.
WE DIDN'T LIKEWe wish there would have been showers here.
TIPIn March, it is cold in the mornings and evenings. Bring coats, beanies, gloves and warm sleeping bags. Bring plenty of wood to keep the campfire going.
STAYED12 March, 2018 with 2 year old, 5 year old, 8 year old