- Capitol Reef NP:
- Vehicle Type:
- High Clearance Vehicle
- 59 mile loop
The Cathedral Valley District of Capitol Reef National Park is open all year. Vehicles with high ground clearance, even those without four wheel drive, can usually negotiate the roads without difficulty. However, road conditions can vary greatly depending on recent weather conditions. Spring and summer rains and winter snows can leave the roads muddy, washed out, and impassable to the best high-clearance four wheel drive vehicle, so check at the visitor center for current road and weather conditions before visiting Cathedral Valley.
Foot and vehicle travel in the Cathedral Valley area is light, so be prepared for the unexpected. If you have problems, help may not arrive for hours or even days, depending on the time of year. Carry plenty of water, food, gas, adequate clothing, a shovel, and emergency supplies. Cool or cold temperatures will accompany sudden storms or an unexpected night out in the backcountry. Daytime temperatures in the summer may reach the upper 90s°F (30s °C) and winter highs may stay below freezing, so prepare accordingly.
THE CATHEDRAL VALLEY LOOP TOUR
Most visitors to Cathedral Valley drive the 59 mile (95.0 km) loop, starting at the River Ford (11.8 miles or 19.0 km east of the visitor center on Hwy 24), following the Hartnet Road to the Cathedral Road (also known as the Caineville Wash Road) and returning back to Hwy 24 just west of Caineville (18.6 miles or 29.9 km east of the visitor center.)
The River Ford is passable at most times of the year, except during spring runoff or following a thunderstorm, when the river may be in flood. The ford has a hard packed, rocky bottom and water levels are normally a foot or less deep. The access road to the River Ford crosses private land. Please honor the posted no trespassing signs along the road near the ford by not parking off-road or camping in the vicinity.
Distances from the River Ford:
- 9 miles (14.5 km) Bentonite Hills
- 14 miles (22.5 km) Lower South Desert Overlook Spur Road
- 27 miles (43.5 km) Upper South Desert Overlook Spur Road
- 27.5 miles (44.3 km)Junction of the Hartnet/Polk Creek/Cathedral (also known as the Caineville Wash) Roads
- 28 miles (45.1 km) Cathedral Campground
- 30 miles (48.3 km) Upper Cathedral Valley
- 33 miles (53.1 km ) Junction of Caineville Wash and Baker Ranch Roads
- 33.1 miles (53.3 km)Gypsum Sinkhole Spur Road
- 42.5 miles (68.4 km) Lower Cathedral Valley Spur Road (Temples of the Sun & Moon, Glass Mountain)
- 59 miles (95 km) Hwy 24 at Caineville Wash Road