Visiting Capitol Reef in July

Located in south-central Utah, this park is known for its stunning red rock formations and sweeping vistas that will take your breath away. Here’s our list of tips and activities to help you plan a trip to Capitol Reef in July.

Use this Capitol Reef National Park guide to plan your July vacation: things to do, what to pack, where to stay and the services available this time of year.

July vacation guide to Capitol Reef

From hiking trails and canyons to historic sites and scenic drives, there is something for everyone in Capitol Reef National Park during the month of July.

Use our Capitol Reef National Park packing list to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in July! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

get the free capitol reef national park packing lists
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A Photo Tour of Capitol Reef National Park

Take a visual tour through Capitol Reef National Park to see the stunning landscape and wildlife you’ll find in the park!

Capitol Reef National Park in July

All services are open in July: Visitor Center, Gifford House and campgrounds!

July is the hottest month of the year at this park and it will be busy. Summer is a popular time for most people to visit the Utah National Parks.

But Capitol Reef is the least-visited of the five National Parks so it won’t be as busy as the others in the state. The mornings and late afternoons are good times to avoid the crowds and the heat of the day!

Is July a Good Time to Visit Capitol Reef?

Summer is not our favorite time to visit Capitol Reef due to the crowds and heat. We recommend exploring the park in the mornings when it’s much cooler and there aren’t as many people.

If you’re wondering what it’s like to visit at other times of the year, check out this resource of the best times to visit Capitol Reef National Park! It tells you what to expect when visiting the park during any season, or any month of the year.

Capitol Reef Weather in July

The Capitol Reef National Park weather July is hot with highs in the 90s and lows in the mid 60s degrees Fahrenheit.

This part of Utah is a dry high desert so it’s important to stay hydrated and use sun protection while exploring Capitol Reef:

You’ll experience a dry desert environment o be sure to also pack and use lip balm and lotion as well!

The summer monsoons at Capitol Reef are common in July so also be prepared with rain gear. for you and your camera! You’ll want to stay informed on the specific weather conditions and forecasts on the NPS website for the areas of the park you will visit.

Capitol Reef National Park Fees

There are a variety of passes available to visit Capitol Reef. Check the website for the most current fee prices and information.

You won’t need a US National Park pass to drive along Highway 24 or through the Fruita area, but you will need one to access the Scenic Drive just past the Fruita Campground.

Did you know when you buy the National Parks Pass from REI, they donate 10% to the National Park Foundation?)

Things to Do at Capitol Reef in July

Check out all the fun Capitol Reef National Park summer activities and tips for visiting in July:

  • Talk to the rangers about potential flash floods in the park.
  • Be flexible with your schedule, especially when it rains as conditions may make some roads impassable and some trails unsafe due to flash floods.

Capitol Reef Ranger Programs in July

The Visitor Center is always a good first stop to get the most up-to-date information for road and trail conditions in the park as well as camping and ranger-led programs.

Capitol Reef is open all day, every day. The visitor center is open daily, but check the website for operation times. You can get a copy of the Capitol Reef Park Map there too.

Capitol Reef Ranger-led Programs are a great way to learn about the park. The programs available in July are:

  • Geology talks
  • Evening programs
  • Junior Ranger Program for kids
  • Guided Hike
  • Ranger’s Choice
  • Star Talk
  • Full Moon Walk
Fruita Capitol Reef Gifford House
Gifford House

Capitol Reef Fruita Area in July

The Capitol Reef Fruita area is the main part of the park where you’ll find the Visitor Center, Gifford Homestead, blacksmith shop, barn, orchards, and campground.

Stopping at the Gifford Homestead you’ll find unique handmade items in the shop. And in July the locally baked fruit pies and homemade ice cream are a treat!

Picking fruit from the orchards is a popular activity at Capitol Reef! In early July you’ll be able to pick cherries and apricots can be picked all month long. Here’s a Capitol Reef harvesting schedule if you want to arrange your vacation around those dates.

Temples of the Sun and Moon Cathedral Valley
Temples of the Sun and Moon in Cathedral Valley

Capitol Reef Scenic Drives in July

We recommend you explore the main Capitol Reef scenic drive to see the colorful cliffs, canyons, domes and bridges! Remember the summer monsoons can make the main scenic drive hazardous when raining so check with the Visitor Center before heading out. Heed all signs before entering the narrow Capitol Gorge or Grand Wash canyons!

The Cathedral Valley District of Capitol Reef is stunning! If you’ve got the right vehicle, and the weather allows it, we recommend you explore this remote, rugged region of the park. It does require vehicles with high ground clearance. If it’s been raining, you may need four-wheel drive depending on road and weather conditions.

Book a Cathedral Valley 4×4 tour if you want to see this part of Capitol Reef, but you don’t have the right vehicle.

After a rain, the unpaved roads at Capitol Reef become muddy, washed out, and impassable to the best high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle, so check at the visitor center before heading out!!

We also like the Burr Trail drive found in the Waterpocket District of Capitol Reef. The landscape is stunning. It’s another fairly remote and rugged road, but most passenger cars, pickups, and vans can usually negotiate the roads without difficulty. But if it’s been raining, the roads can be slick, muddy, washed out, and impassable so check at the visitor center before taking the drive.

We recommend the Capitol Reef GuideAlong App to hear fun behind-the scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location.

Panorama Point at sunrise at Capitol Reef
Panorama Point at sunrise

Capitol Reef Photography in July

Capitol Reef National Park photography in the summer can be difficult due to the harsh light. You’ll want to limit photographing Capitol Reef to sunrise and sunset times:

  • Sunrise photography: Our favorite locations are Panorama Point and Sunset Point.
  • Sunset photography: We recommend Panorama Point, Sunset Point, Scenic Drive and Fruita (to capture the reflected light on the canyon walls)

Grab our Capitol Reef Photography Guide that will tell you when and where to get the best sunrise, morning, sunset and nighttime pictures at the park!

Capitol Reef Stargazing in July

Did you know that Capitol Reef is internationally recognized as one of the best places for stargazing? It’s incredible to see an endless sky of stars without light pollution! Be sure to take one evening to get away from any lights in town and LOOK UP!

In July the milky way is visible in the sky from 10:30 pm to 3:45 am. Don’t forget to have a headlamp with red light when taking photos at night.

Capitol Gorge slot canyon hike at Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef Hikes in July

There are so many fun Capitol Reef National Park summer hikes for all levels of hiker. Some of the popular hiking trails are: Hickman Bridge, Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge Wash.

Remember the elevation at Capitol Reef is 5500 feet so if you’re coming from a lower elevation, or from sea level, trails that are considered “easy” might be more difficult for you.

July is summer monsoon season at Capitol Reef! Thunderstorms with heavy rain can cause severe flooding in canyons. Water can rise quickly downstream from heavy rain, even when the parent thunderstorm is miles away! Check with the Visitor Center before heading out on any hike, especially Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge.

When hiking at Capitol Reef in July it’s important that you stay hydrated! Carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack. Also pack some healthy snacks.

Capitol Reef Tours in July

With experienced guides on Capitol Reef National Park tours, you can explore all the amazing sights the park has to offer and make sure you don’t miss anything.

Whether you’re looking for a half-day or full-day excursion, there are plenty of Capitol Reef tours available to fit your needs: guided hikes, llama and horse rides, photography, and Jeeping!

capitol reef national park in july

Capitol Reef Camping in July

You’ll find one large developed campground in the Fruita area for Capitol Reef National Park camping. Be sure to make reservations when visiting in July because the camping spots fill quickly at this time of year.

There are some primitive campgrounds in the remote parts of the park in Cathedral Valley and along the Notom-Bullfrog Road.

If you can’t get a camping spot in the park, check out the RV Parks Near Capitol Reef National Park.

You’ll also find fun and unique options for Glamping Near Capitol Reef National Park in tipis, covered wagons, luxury tents, and rustic cabins!

capitol reef guides and map

Capitol Reef National Park Itineraries

Check out these done-for-you itineraries for Capitol Reef based on the time you have to spend exploring the park!

Grab our travel bundle with printable 1, 2 and 3-day itineraries to easily plan your vacation! Simply click the graphic below to get the free itinerary pack! Click on the links below to see detailed itineraries based on the time you have to spend at the park.

Get the Capitol Reef Travel Bundle

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