Visiting Capitol Reef National Park in September

If you want to visit Capitol Reef National Park in September, here’s all the information you need: things to do, what to pack, where to stay, and more!

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

capitol reef national park in september

We share what it’s like in September at Capitol Reef: services available, weather to expect, fun activities to do and more!

Here are some itineraries we’ve created for visiting Capitol Reef:

Grab our travel bundle with printable 1, 2 and 3-day itineraries to easily plan your vacation!

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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 September

In September you’ll find all services are open: Visitor Center, Gifford House and campgrounds! Check the website for specific Capitol Reef operating hours.

Capitol Reef National Park in the fall is a popular time for people to visit. One good thing is Capitol Reef is the least-visited of the five Utah National Parks so it won’t be as busy as the others. The mornings and late afternoons are good times to avoid the crowds!

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.

Is September a Good Time to Visit Capitol Reef?

September is a terrific time to visit Capitol Reef. The weather is pretty much perfect. AND you can enjoy picking fruit from the orchards!

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 Weather in September

The weather at Capitol Reef National Park in September is pretty ideal with highs around 80 and lows around 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

This part of Utah is a dry high desert so it’s important to drink and carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen and lip balm with UV protection!

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

Things to Do at Capitol Reef in September

Check out all the fun things to do at Capitol Reef National Park! Here are tips for visiting Capitol Reef in September:

Capitol Reef Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is always a good first stop to get the most up-to-date information for road and trail conditions in Capitol Reef as well as camping and ranger-led programs.

The park is open all day, every day. The visitor center is open daily, but check the Capitol Reef website for operation times. You can get a copy of the Capitol Reef Park Map there too.

orchards at capitol reef

Capitol Reef Fruita Area in September

The Capitol Reef Fruita area is the main part of the park where you’ll find the Visitor Center, Gifford Homestead, blacksmith shop, barn, orchards, and campground.

Stopping at the Gifford Homestead you’ll find unique handmade items in the shop. In September you’ll enjoy locally baked fruit pies and homemade ice cream!

Picking fruit from the orchards is a popular activity at Capitol Reef! In September you’ll be able to pick peaches, pears and apples, yum! Here’s a Capitol Reef harvesting schedule if you want to arrange your vacation around those dates.

formations along the road at Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef Scenic Drives

The main Capitol Reef scenic drive is full of stunning landscapes like colorful cliffs, canyons, domes and bridges! Remember the summer monsoons can make the main scenic drive hazardous when raining so check with the Visitor Center before heading out.

The Cathedral Valley District of Capitol Reef is stunning! If you’ve got the right vehicle, and the weather allows it, we recommend you explore this remote, rugged region of the park. It does require vehicles with high ground clearance. If it’s been raining, you may need four-wheel drive depending on road and weather conditions.

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.

After a rain, the unpaved roads at Capitol Reef become muddy, washed out, and impassable to the best high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle, so check at the visitor center before heading out!!

We also like the Burr Trail drive found in the Waterpocket District of Capitol Reef. The landscape is stunning. It’s another fairly remote and rugged road, but most passenger cars, pickups, and vans can usually negotiate the roads without difficulty. But if it’s been raining, the roads can be slick, muddy, washed out, and impassable so check at the visitor center before taking the drive.

Eph Hanks tower at sunset at Capitol Reef

Photography in September at Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef National Park photography is best at sunrise and sunset. Here are a few of our favorite locations to take pictures of Capitol Reef during those times.

  • Sunset photography: Panorama Point, Sunset Point, Scenic Drive and Fruita (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!

Stargazing at Capitol Reef in September

Did you know that Capitol Reef is internationally recognized as one of the best places for stargazing? It’s incredible to see an endless sky of stars without light pollution! Be sure to take one evening to get away from any lights in town and LOOK UP!

In September the milky way is visible after sunset! Don’t forget to have a headlamp with red light when taking photos at night.

Capitol Reef Hikes in September

There are so many fun Capitol Reef hikes with trails for all levels of hiker. Some of the popular hiking trails are: Hickman Bridge, Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge Wash.

Remember the elevation at Capitol Reef is 5500 feet so 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 September it’s important that you stay hydrated! Carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack. Also pack some healthy snacks.

Capitol Reef Ranger Programs in September

There are year-round Ranger-led programs to learn all about Capitol Reef. Some of these programs are: geology talks, evening programs and the Junior Ranger Program for kids!

In September you’ll find some other special programs offered:

  • Guided Hike
  • Ranger’s Choice
  • Star Talk
  • Full Moon Walk
Capitol Reef National Park landscape

Capitol Reef Camping in September

You’ll find one large developed campground in the Fruita area. It’s one of the popular places to stay at Capitol Reef National Park. Be sure to make reservations when visiting in September because the camping spots fill quickly at this time of year.

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

Other Capitol Reef Activities

SHOP AMAZON: Capitol Reef Travel Guides and Maps:

capitol reef guides and map

Plan a Capitol Reef Vacation

get the free capitol reef national park packing lists

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