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.
Below you’ll find weather information, what to pack, things to do, and services available for a trip to Capitol Reef in October.
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Capitol Reef National Park Packing List
→ DOWNLOAD: Capitol Reef National park packing lists
- Merrell Moab hiking shoes or Oboz hiking shoes
- Darn Tough hiking socks
- Water – carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack
- Healthy food that’s portable and filling!
- Columbia fleece jacket
- Wicking, quick-drying clothing
- Lip balm with UV protection
- Sun protection – sunscreen (even in the winter) and a sunhat
- UV sunglasses are good for summer and winter
- Travel hand sanitizer
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Capitol Reef travel guides and maps
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Camera gear – DOWNLOAD the free checklist!
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.
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 October weather at Capitol Reef is perfect during the day for outdoor activities. You may encounter a rain storm in October, but it usually doesn’t snow.
Capitol Reef AUDIO TOUR
“Download the app to your phone – no cell or wifi service needed. Based on your GPS location, the app takes you on a guided tour of the park and points out all the interesting features and stops. It’s like having a park ranger in the car with you.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
- Day Hike Checklist
- What to Bring on a Hike
- Photography Gear for Hiking
- Hiking Gear for Kids & Tips for Hiking with Kids
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:
Plan a Capitol Reef Vacation
- Capitol Reef National Park Guide
- Best Time to Visit Capitol Reef National Park
- Things to Do in Capitol Reef National Park
Places to Stay Near Capitol Reef
Complete guide: Places to Stay at Capitol Reef National Park
- Capitol Reef Resort – this is where we stay! Make it a unique experience and stay in a teepee or covered wagon!
- Austin’s Chuckwagon Motel – basic rooms and cabins with a deli and store right on the property which is so convenient!
- VRBO Vacation Rentals – we like finding a place with a kitchen so we can prepare our own food.
- RV Share Rentals – enjoy the convenience of having an RV delivered to you at Capitol Reef!