Visiting Capitol Reef National Park in April

Thinking about a trip to Capitol Reef National Park in April?

Use the tips below and our Capitol Reef National Park guide to plan: we share things to do, what to pack and the services available in April.

You’ll love exploring and photographing the colorful cliffs, canyons and domes at Capitol Reef.

capitol reef national park in april
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WHAT TO PACK FOR A NATIONAL PARK TRIP IN THE SPRING

Packing for a trip in the spring means being prepared for any type of weather!

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE US National Park Packing List!

1. US National Parks Pass

2.  Hiking Gear

  • Spring hiking at some national parks may mean wet trails, and even some patches of snow! You’ll want waterproof hiking boots.
  • Hiking socks that breath… and if they prevent blisters, that’s even better:  → Check out the BEST SOCKS by Darn Tough!
  • Walking stick or trekking poles

3. Clothing – Layers

4. Daypack

5. Other

CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK IN APRIL

There are fun outdoor adventures and things to do in Capitol Reef National Park any time of year.

April is still cool during the day and cold at night, and you may experience rain. Also keep in mind that during spring break, the park can get crowded.

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!

Here’s what you can expect when you take a trip in April.

April Weather

Temperatures: high 64 / low 37 degrees Farenheit 

April weather at Capitol Reef will be cool during the day and cold at night. It usually rains two days during the month.

Since the mornings and evenings will still be cold, we recommend an insulated jacketfleece jacketwarm hat and gloves . It’s all about layers in April! Check out our winter clothing guide for outdoor travel and photography.

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.

Visitors in April

April is spring break time for most people, and the Utah National Parks will be crowded.

If you’re dressed for the cooler mornings, it’s a great time to enjoy the outdoor hiking and photography in this desert landscape.

AND you’ll avoid the busy time when the park is crowded!

Hickman Bridge at Capitol Reef

Things to Do at Capitol Reef in April

Check out all the fun things to do at Capitol Reef National Park!

Here are some tips for visiting Capitol Reef National Park in April:

  • Check road and weather condition.
  • Be flexible with your schedule, especially in the early spring as conditions may make some roads impassable.

Stop at the Visitor Center

Capitol Reef is open all day, every day.

The visitor center is open daily, but hours in the early spring may vary so call 435-425-3791 and follow the prompts for current visitor center information.

Stop by the visitor center for current information about road conditions. camping, ranger-led programs and to pick up a copy of the Park Map.

Explore the Gifford Farm

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. Here’s a harvesting schedule if you want to arrange your vacation around those dates.

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

Scenic Drives

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

If you’re up for adventure, and the weather allows it, drive the Cathedral Valley District of Capitol Reef. It’s a remote, rugged region that requires vehicles with high ground clearance. In the spring you may need four-wheel drive depending on road and weather conditions.

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!!

The Waterpocket District in the southern section of Capitol Reef is fairly remote and rugged, but has the best scenery!! 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.

Photography

Photographing the amazing landscape at Capitol Reef is one of our favorite things to do.

We recommend these places to photograph Capitol Reef:

Sunrise photography: we’ve had good success at Panorama Point and Sunset Point.

Sunset photography: we like are Panorama Point, Sunset Point 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!

take amazing photos at capitol reef

Hiking

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

Some of our favorite hiking trails are: Hickman Bridge, Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge Wash.

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.

When hiking at Capitol Reef in April it is especially important that you take the proper gear, plenty of water and healthy snacks.

You may need hiking traction devices to prevent slipping on the icy trails, sunglasses to protect from the sun’s glare on the snow, emergency locator device and emergency blanket just in case you are delayed by bad weather.

Stargazing

There is a reason why Capitol Reef is internationally recognized as one of the best places to stargaze.

The skies are clear and with the park in a remote location 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 in the sky in the middle of the night. Don’t forget to have a headlamp with red light when taking photos at night.

milky way over the Fruita Barn at Capitol Reef

Camping

There are quite a few places to stay at Capitol Reef National Park. There’s a large developed campground in the Fruita area. This is a popular place to stay and fills quickly. Reservations are available from spring to fall.

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

Ranger Led Programs

Ranger-led programs are a great way to learn about Capitol Reef.

The programs available in March are geology talks, evening programs and the Junior Ranger Program for kids!

Other Activities

Places to Stay Near Capitol Reef

Places to Stay at Capitol Reef National Park

  • Capitol Reef Resort – this is where we stay! Make it a unique experience and stay in a teepee or covered wagon!
  • Austin’s Chuckwagon Motel – basic rooms and cabins with a deli and store right on the property which is so convenient!
  • VRBO Vacation Rentals – we like finding a place with a kitchen so we can prepare our own food.
  • RV Share Rentals – enjoy the convenience of having an RV delivered to you at Capitol Reef!

Plan a Capitol Reef Vacation

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