Visiting Capitol Reef National Park in February

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Capitol Reef National Park in February. Located in the heart of Utah’s red rock country, Capitol Reef is a hidden treasure filled with cliffs, canyons, domes, and natural bridges.

Visiting Capitol Reef in the winter is a peaceful time to visit this National Park in Utah. February will be cold and could be snowy. As long as you’re prepared for the weather, you’ll enjoy the landscape, geology, and history found here!

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. Use this Capitol Reef National Park guide to plan your February vacation with helpful tips, packing list, where to stay, and more!

Living only a few hours away, it’s easy for us to visit Capitol Reef National Park often. The tips we share are based on our experiences visiting the area throughout the years, and specifically for a trip in February.

Our number one tip is to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting Capitol Reef in the winter. 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 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!

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.

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.

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.

You’ll want to stay informed on the specific weather conditions and forecasts on the Capitol Reef NPS website for the areas of the park you will visit.

In February you’ll want warm winter clothing and layers:

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

winter hiking gear
Capitol Reef National Park sign with snow
Capitol Reef National Park sign with snow

Things to Do at Capitol Reef in February

Check out all the fun Capitol Reef National Park winter activities you can do in February!

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

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.

If you’re visiting Capitol Reef National Park with kids, we recommend your first stop be the Visitor Center! Tell the on-duty ranger what activities you are interested in doing at the park. The rangers can give you tips for the best things to do with kids.

Capitol Reef Ranger-led Programs are a great way to learn about the park. The year-round programs available are Geology talks and the Junior Ranger Program for kids.

Fruita Barn at Capitol Reef

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 Capitol Reef orchard 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 Capitol Reef Cathedral Valley loop. 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!!

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 remote and rugged, but oh so beautiful! 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 highly recommend getting the Capitol Reef GyPSy Guide Audio Tour: use the suggested itineraries in the app tour plan, or divide the commentary to create your own half, full or multi day sightseeing trips. 

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 to your Capitol Reef National Park photos!

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!

Be sure you have winter photography gear that can handle the cold and wet weather. And YOU as the photographer need to be dressed in winter clothing so you’ll want to get outside to take pictures. We love photographer gloves and rechargeable hand warmers!

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 winter hikes to choose from! You’ll find 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 Tours in February

One fun way to experience the park is booking one of the many Capitol Reef National Park tours like guided hikes, llama and horse rides, photography, and Jeeping!

February is the offseason so tour options could be limited. Be sure to check ahead to find out what tours are available for the dates you’ll be visiting the park.

Capitol Reef Camping in February

If you’re interested in Capitol Reef National Park winter camping, the Fruita Campground is adjacent to the Fremont River and surrounded by historic structures and orchards. It’s open year-round, and is the only developed campground in the park.

During the winter from November 1 – February 28, all campsites are first come, first served. 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 can also check out the RV Parks near Capitol Reef National Park.

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

Lodging Near Capitol Reef in February

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 February

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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