Capitol Reef National Park in November

If you’re thinking about a Capitol Reef National Park in November, you won’t be disappointed.

There is so much to see, do and photograph at this park in the fall.

Use the resources below and our Capitol Reef National Park guide to plan your vacation.

We share November travel tips like what to pack, where to stay, things to do and more!

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What to Pack

Here’s the list of gear we recommend for a National Park trip in the fall:

→ CHECK OUT our US National Park Packing List.

1. US National Parks Pass: You can order passes online or get them at any of these Federal Recreation Areas.

→ BUY THE PASS AT REI and they will donate 10% of sales to the National Park Foundation. 

2.  Fall Hiking Shoes: → Check out our FAVORITE hiking shoes/boots!

3. Fall Hiking Socks:  → Check out the BEST SOCKS EVER!

4. Fall Clothing for Hiking (Layers)

Wicking and quick-drying base layers

Fleece jacket (Columbia is the BEST!)

Rain jacket

5. Daypack

6. WATER:  → We carry water bottles or hydration backpacks

7. FOOD:  → Check out our favorite healthy snacks

8. Flashlight:  → Check out the headlamps we like

9. National Park maps

10. Female urination device

11. Toilet paper (carry out in a bag – do not bury)

12. Hand sanitizer

13. First aid kit

14. Bags to pack out trash

15. Camera Gear – DOWNLOAD our Camera Gear Checklist

16. Photography gear for hiking

CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK IN NOVEMBER

There are so many fun things to do at Capitol Reef any time of year, but we really enjoy the month of November!

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 November.

November Weather

Temperatures at Capitol Reef in November range from highs near 50 degrees and lows in the upper 20s, 

The November weather at Capitol Reef is perfect during the day for outdoor activities – it’s not too hot or too cold.

The mornings and evenings will be cold so it’s important to dress in layers. We recommend an insulated jacket, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves .

Be prepared for rain or snow in November.

Check specific weather conditions and forecasts on the NPS website for the areas of the park you will visit. If there’s rain, there’s potential for impassable roads and flash floods.

Visitors in November

The colder temperatures in November at Capitol Reef make it a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors in this desert landscape.

We really like to go in November when the weather becomes much cooler and usually means fewer people visiting the park.

sunrise at Capitol Reef

Things to Do at Capitol Reef in November

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

Here are some tips for visiting Capitol Reef:

  • Visit on weekdays, and avoid holiday weekends.
  • Be flexible with your schedule. If a trailhead parking lot is full, check back later.
  • Explore less visited areas of the park, like the North and South districts. Remember they are more remote and require more trip planning, including an appropriate vehicle.
  • Hike early in the morning or late in the day.

Stop at the Visitor Center

Capitol Reef is open all day, every day.

The visitor center is open daily, except for some major holidays. Hours 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 valley includes the Gifford Homestead, blacksmith shop, barn and orchards.

The one drawback about visiting Capitol Reef in November 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!

One of the favorite activities at Capitol Reef is picking fruit from the orchard. This activity isn’t available in November either. Here’s a harvesting schedule if you want to arrange your vacation around those dates.

Scenic Drives

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

If it rains or snows, the roads can be 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 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.

Photography

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

In November, 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.

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

Hiking

There are so many fun Capitol Reef hikes to choose from! There are 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 November it is especially important that you take the proper gear and plenty of water.

In November it may rain or snow and so be aware of flash floods. Get up-to-date weather information and watch for changing weather conditions. DO NOT enter a narrow gorge or slot canyon if storms are threatening!

Ranger Led Programs

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

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

Other Activities

Places to Stay

There are quite a few places to stay near Capitol Reef.

The large developed campground in the Fruita area is not open in November. But there are primitive campgrounds in the remote parts of the park in Cathedral Valley and along the Notom-Bullfrog Road.

You can also find lodging options near the park:

Plan a Capitol Reef Vacation

national park packing lists

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