Visiting Capitol Reef National Park in February

Wondering what it’s like to visit Capitol Reef National Park in February?

Use this Capitol Reef National Park guide to plan: we share things to do, what to pack and the services available in February.

things to do at Capitol Reef in February

Capitol Reef is an amazing place to explore and photograph the colorful cliffs, canyons, domes and bridges at the park.

Check out these Capitol Reef itineraries to help you plan your vacation:

Here’s what to expect when you plan a Capitol Reef vacation in February!

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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 February

There are fun outdoor adventures and things to do in Capitol Reef National Park any time of year, but February is a great time to go.

Yes, February is cold, so 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 February.

February Weather at Capitol Reef

February Temperatures: high 45 / low 23 degrees Fahrenheit. The Capitol Reef National Park weather in February will be cold, and you may encounter snow.

We recommend an insulated jacket, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves. 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.

Capitol Reef National Park sign with snow
Capitol Reef National Park sign with snow

Services in February at Capitol Reef

The park and Capitol Reef campgrounds are open in February. The visitor center is open daily. Hours is the winter are usually 9am to 4pm.

The Gifford House Store and Museum is closed in the winter.

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

Visitors at Capitol Reef in February

In February the weather is cold and there may be snow, but that means fewer people visiting the park which is always a good thing.

We don’t mind the colder temperatures in February at Capitol Reef. If you’re dressed for the weather conditions, it’s a great time to enjoy the outdoor hiking and photography in this desert landscape.

Things to Do at Capitol Reef in February

Check out all the fun things to do at Capitol Reef National Park. Here are some tips for visiting Capitol Reef in February:

  • Check road and weather conditions so you’re prepared to enjoy the outdoors.
  • Be flexible with your schedule, especially in the winter as conditions may close parts of the park.

Capitol Reef Visitor Center in February

Capitol Reef is open all day, every day. The visitor center is open daily, but will be closed in February on Washington’s Birthday.

Hours in the winter 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 Capitol Reef Park Map.

Gifford Farm and Fruita Area in February

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

The one drawback about visiting Capitol Reef National Park in the winter is that the Gifford house is closed! At other times of the year you’ll find unique handmade items and 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 February. Here’s a harvesting schedule if you want to arrange your vacation around those dates.

Cathedral Valley in the snow
Cathedral Valley in the snow

Scenic Drives at Capitol Reef in February

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 winter you may need four-wheel drive depending on road and weather conditions.

In February 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.

Eph Hanks Tower at sunset
Eph Hanks Tower at sunset

Capitol Reef Photography in February

Photographing the amazing landscape at Capitol Reef is one of our favorite things to do. If there’s snow in February, then that’s an added bonus!

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!

Capitol Reef Stargazing in February

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 February you won’t be able to photograph the milky way, but you can capture amazing starry skies or star trails!

Capitol Reef Hikes in February

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 February 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 and sunglasses to protect from the sun’s glare on the snow.

Capitol Reef Ranger Led Programs in February

Ranger-led programs are a great way to learn about Capitol Reef. The programs available in February are geology talks, evening programs and the Junior Ranger Program for kids!

Other Capitol Reef Activities

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