Visiting Capitol Reef National Park in April

When visiting Capitol Reef National Park in April, you’ll enjoy mild weather, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The orchards begin to bloom with pink and white flowers, and the desert landscape is alive with color.

Located in southcentral Utah, there are a variety of things to do at Capitol Reef National Park in the spring: hiking, biking, off-roading, scenic drives, and landscape photography!

Capitol Reef National Park in April

Use this Capitol Reef National Park guide to plan your April trip: things to do, what to pack, and services available this time of year. Living only a few hours away, we’ve had the opportunity to visit Capitol Reef National Park many times. The tips we share are based on our experiences visiting the area throughout the years, and specifically for an April vacation.

Our number one tip is to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting Capitol Reef in April. Grab your free printable Capitol Reef National Park packing list 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 April

Capitol Reef is known for its stunning desert landscape, fruit orchards, and historical buildings. Visitors can enjoy Capitol Reef National Park spring activities like hiking, backpacking, off-roading, photography, and camping.

April is a terrific time to enjoy outdoor adventures at Capitol Reef due to the moderate weather. But if it’s spring break in Utah it will be busy!

If you’re wondering what it’s like to visit at other times of the year, check out this resource of the best time to visit Capitol Reef National Park!

April Weather at Capitol Reef

April Capitol Reef National Park weather will be cool during the day and cold at night with highs around 64 and lows around 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since the mornings and evenings will still be cold, we recommend packing layers. Be sure to stay hydrated and use sun protection as well!

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

spring hiking gear

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 National Park in April

Check out all the fun things to do at Capitol Reef National Park in April.

There are fun ways to get the family excited before, during and after the trip with National Park activities:

Capitol Reef Ranger-Led Programs in April

Capitol Reef is open all day, every day. The visitor center is open daily, but check the hours of operation in April. Stop by the visitor center for current information about road conditions. camping, and ranger-led programs.

Capitol Reef Ranger Programs are a great way to learn about the park. The programs available in April are geology talks and the Junior Ranger Program for kids!

Another fun activity is to collect stamps in a National Park Passport book! Passport booklets and stamp sets are “usually” available at the park visitor centers, but we recommend you get the passport book before the trip, just in case!! We’ve seen sad kiddos when a visitor center is out of passport books. Rangers can stamp a piece of paper, but it’s not just the same experience!

Orchards at Capitol Reef
Orchards at Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef Gifford Farm in April

The Fruita area is the main part of Capitol Reef. It includes the Gifford Homestead, blacksmith shop, barn and orchards.

We love to shop for all the fun unique handmade items and eat the yummy locally baked fruit pies and homemade ice cream!

Another one of the favorite activities at Capitol Reef is picking fruit from the orchard, but this activity isn’t available in April. Instead, you’ll see blooming fruit trees surrounded by towering red cliffs!

Capitol-Reef-national-park-utah-curving-road-photo-jeepers-960x575 (1)
Capitol Reef Scenic Drive

Capitol Reef Scenic Drives in April

The Capitol Reef scenic drive is a must-do activity to see and photograph the cliffs, canyons, domes and bridges!

If you have the right vehicle, and the weather allows it, we recommend driving the Capitol Reef Cathedral Valley loop! It’s a remote, rugged region that requires vehicles with high ground clearance. In April it may rain or snow which makes the roads muddy, washed out, and impassable to the best high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle, so check at the visitor center before heading out!!

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.

The Capitol Reef Burr Trail Loop is a fun way to explore the Waterpocket District in the southern section of the park. It’s also a remote and rugged area. Most passenger cars, pickups, and vans can usually negotiate the roads without difficulty.

BUT again any rain or snow can leave roads slick, muddy, washed out, and impassable to the best high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle, 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.

Eph Hanks tower at sunset
Eph Hanks tower at sunset

Capitol Reef Photography in April

Photographing the amazing landscape at Capitol Reef is one of our favorite things to do. The best time to take Capitol Reef National Park photos is during the ‘golden hours’—shortly after sunrise or before sunset. The sun’s low angle gives a warm, glowing light that creates beautiful shadows and highlights on the sandstone cliffs.

Our favorite Capitol Reef locations for sunrise and sunset:

  • Sunrise photography: Panorama Point and Sunset Point
  • Sunset photography: Panorama Point, Sunset Point, Eph Hanks Tower, and along the scenic drive 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!

milky way over the Fruita Barn at Capitol Reef
Milky way over the Fruita Barn

Capitol Reef Stargazing in April

Capitol Reef is internationally recognized as one of the best places to stargaze due to its remote location. When the skies are clear it allows you to get some of the most incredible views of the night sky that you will ever see. 

In April the milky way is visible from 11:00 pm to 4:45 am. Don’t forget to have a headlamp with red light when taking photos at night.

If you’ll be doing astrophotography, be sure to use a headlamp with a red light. The red light minimizes the disruption of night vision and allows you and other photographers around you to see their surroundings while preserving the sensitivity of their eyes to low-light conditions.

Hickman Bridge at Capitol Reef
Hickman Bridge

Hiking at Capitol Reef in April

There are so many fun Capitol Reef National Park spring hikes to choose from, with trails for all levels of hiker.

Remember the park’s elevation is 5500 feet. If you’re coming from a lower elevation, or from sea level, trails that are considered “easy” might be more difficult for you.

Some of our favorite day hikes in Capitol Reef National Park are: Hickman Bridge, Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge Wash.

When hiking at Capitol Reef in April it is especially important that you take the proper gear:

Capitol Reef Tours in April

There are a variety of fun ways to experience the park by booking Capitol Reef National Park tours like guided hikes, llama and horse rides, photography, and Jeeping!

Tour options could still be limited in April so be sure to check ahead to find out what tours are available for the dates you’ll be visiting the park.

Fruita Campground
Fruita Campground

Capitol Reef Camping in April

There’s a large developed campground in the Fruita area for Capitol Reef National Park camping. This is a popular place to stay and fills quickly. Campsites are reservable from March 1 – October 31, and can be made 6 months ahead of time. Visit to make a reservation. 

It has 71 sites, and each site has a picnic table and firepit and/or above ground grill, but no individual water, sewage, or electrical hookups.

There is an RV dump and potable water fill station. Restrooms have running water and flush toilets, but no showers. Accessible sites are located next to the restrooms.

You’ll also find Capitol Reef primitive campgrounds in the remote parts of the park in Cathedral Valley and along the Notom-Bullfrog Road.

If you can’t find a campsite in the park, there are RV Parks near Capitol Reef National Park you can try as well.

Lodging Near Capitol Reef in April

If camping isn’t your thing, here are a few more lodging options in the Capitol Reef area:

capitol reef guides and map

Things To Do Near Capitol Reef in April

Capitol Reef Travel Planner

Check out these done-for-you itineraries for Capitol Reef based on the time you have to spend exploring the park! Click the graphic below to grab a free copy of the travel bundle with printable itineraries!

Get the Capitol Reef Travel Bundle

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