Visiting Capitol Reef National Park in November

If you’re thinking about visiting 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.

You’ll find everything you need to know in this Capitol Reef National Park guide to plan your November vacation: what to pack, things to do, and services available.

Located in the heart of Utah’s red rock country, Capitol Reef is a hidden treasure filled with cliffs, canyons, domes, and natural bridges.

capitol reef in november

Capitol Reef National Park has a rich cultural history and unique geology that appeals to nature lovers, history buffs, and adventure enthusiasts!

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 a trip in November!

Make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in November. Grab your free printable Capitol Reef National Park packing list by clicking the image below!

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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 November

In November many of the Capitol Reef services have changed hours or have closed for the season. Check the website for specific Capitol Reef operating hours.

Capitol Reef National Park in the fall is a popular time for people to visit, but we find November is the most ideal time! The crowds have dissipated at this Utah National Park and the temperatures aren’t too cold for outdoor activities.

If you’re wondering what it’s like to visit at other times of the year, check out this resource of the best times to visit Capitol Reef National Park! It tells you what to expect when visiting the park during any season, or any month of the year.

November Weather at Capitol Reef

Temperatures at Capitol Reef in November range from highs near 50 degrees and lows in the upper 20s. The Capitol Reef National Park weather in November is perfect during the day for outdoor activities – it’s not too hot or too cold. Be prepared for rain or snow in November.

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

The mornings and evenings will be cold so it’s important to dress in layers. Also, this part of Utah is a dry high desert so it’s important to stay hydrated. When visiting in November we recommend you pack and wear:

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

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.

Things to Do at Capitol Reef in November

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

Check out all the fun Capitol Reef National Park fall activities you can do in November!

Capitol Reef Visitor Center
Capitol Reef Visitor Center

Capitol Reef Visitor Center in November

Capitol Reef is open all day, every day. The visitor center is open daily in November EXCEPT for Thanksgiving Day when it will be close. It will also have shortened hours on Veterans Day. Capitol Reef Visitor Center hours vary so check the website for the most current 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.

Kids, and adults, will enjoy collecting stamps in their 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!

Capitol Reef Fruita Area

Fruita Gifford Farm in November

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 Capitol Reef harvesting schedule if you want to arrange your vacation around those dates.

Capitol Reef landscape along Highway 24
Capitol Reef landscape along Highway 24

Scenic Drives at Capitol Reef in November

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, check out the Capitol Reef Cathedral Valley loop. 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!!

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 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 at Capitol Reef
Eph Hanks tower at sunset

Photography in November at Capitol Reef

Photographing the amazing landscape at Capitol Reef is one of our favorite things to do. In November, we recommend these places for Capitol Reef National Park photography to capture the best light:

  • Sunrise photography: Panorama Point and Sunset Point
  • Sunset photography: Panorama Point, Sunset Point and along the scenic drive to capture the reflected light on the canyon walls. Cathedral Valley is also a good location for sunset photos.

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!

Stargazing in November at Capitol Reef

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!

Capitol Gorge slot canyon hike at Capitol Reef
Capitol Gorge slot canyon hike

Capitol Reef Hikes in November

There are so many fun Capitol Reef National Park fall hikes to choose from! There are trails for all levels of hiker: easy, moderate, and strenuous.

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 Capitol reef weather information and watch for changing weather conditions. DO NOT enter a narrow gorge or slot canyon if storms are threatening!

Capitol Reef Tours in November

One fun way to experience the park is booking one of the many Capitol Reef National Park tours offered! You can explore all the amazing sights the park has to offer and make sure you don’t miss anything.

In November you’ll find a variety of half-day or full-day excursions to fit your interests: guided hikes, llama and horse rides, photography, and Jeeping!

Camping in Cathedral Valley
Cathedral Valley Campground

Camping in November at Capitol Reef

If you’re interested in Capitol Reef National Park camping, 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 through October 31.

There are some primitive campgrounds at Capitol Reef in the remote parts of the park in Cathedral Valley and along the Notom-Bullfrog Road.

If you can’t get a camping spot in the park, check out the RV Parks Near Capitol Reef National Park.

You’ll also find fun and unique options for Glamping Near Capitol Reef National Park in tipis, covered wagons, luxury tents, and rustic cabins!

capitol reef guides and map

Capitol Reef National Park Itineraries

Check out these done-for-you itineraries for Capitol Reef based on the time you have to spend exploring the park!

Grab our travel bundle with printable 1, 2 and 3-day itineraries to easily plan your vacation! Simply click the graphic below to get the free itinerary pack! Click on the links below to see detailed itineraries based on the time you have to spend at the park.

Get the Capitol Reef Travel Bundle

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