Visiting Capitol Reef National Park in October

Visiting Capitol Reef National Park in October is a fabulous time to go to escape the crowds and enjoy moderate temperatures.

You’ll find everything you need to know in this Capitol Reef National Park guide to plan your October vacation.

capitol reef in october

Below you’ll find weather information, what to pack, things to do, and services available for a trip to Capitol Reef in October.

Check out our done-for-you itineraries:

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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 October

In October 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 by October things have started to slow down a bit for this least-visited Utah National Park.

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.

Capitol Reef October Weather

Temperatures at Capitol Reef in October range from highs near 65 degrees and lows around 40 degrees. The Capitol Reef National Park weather in October is perfect during the day for outdoor activities. You may encounter a rain storm in October, but it usually doesn’t snow.

It’s important to dress in layers. We recommend a fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves if you’ll be outside in the early morning and evening.

Things to Do at Capitol Reef in October

Check out all the fun things to do at Capitol Reef National Park in the month of October.

Capitol Reef Visitor Center in October

Capitol Reef is open all day, every day. The visitor center is open daily in October, but will have shortened hours on Columbus 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.

Capitol Reef Fruita Area in October

The Fruita valley includes the Gifford Homestead, blacksmith shop, barn and orchards. The Gifford house sells unique handmade items by local artisans like quilts, aprons, woven rugs, soap, crockery, candles and toys. The Gifford House typically closes the end of October so check the Capitol Reef website for the most current information.

One of the favorite activities at Capitol Reef is picking fruit from the orchard. October is apple season, yummy! Check the website for the Capitol Reef harvesting times for each type of fruit.

Capitol Reef Scenic Drives in October

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

The Cathedral Valley District of Capitol Reef is a remote, rugged region. Usually, vehicles with high ground clearance, even without four-wheel drive, can drive the roads without difficulty. BUT (and this is important!) road conditions in October can vary greatly depending on recent weather conditions.

If it rains, 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 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.

Panorama Point at sunrise at Capitol Reef

Photography in October at Capitol Reef

October is a terrific time to photograph the amazing landscape you’ll see at Capitol Reef. Here’s a list of our favorite places to photograph Capitol Reef:

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

Sunset photography spots 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 October

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. 

October is the last month to photograph the milky way in the northern hemisphere. It will appear and set close to sunset in October.

Milky way photography is good anywhere in the park. We like Chimney Rock, the Fruita barn and the scenic drive.

tents camping at Capitol Reef National Park

Camping in October at Capitol Reef

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 through October 31.

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

Grand Wash slot canyon at Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef Hiking in October

In October you’ll find a variety of Capitol Reef hikes to choose from! There are trails for families, casual visitors who want to explore, and then the avid hikers that want a real adventure. 

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 October, be sure you have the proper gear and plenty of water.

In October, the monsoon season is over, BUT when it rains heavily over a short period of time the result can be 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!

Ranger Led Programs at Capitol Reef in October

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

There are other special programs available during the fall like guided hikes, star talk, and full moon walk. Check with the visitor center for updated information for the time you are visiting.

More Capitol Reef Activities

SHOP AMAZON: Capitol Reef Travel Guides and Maps:

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