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 this Capitol Reef National Park guide to plan your September vacation to this stunning Utah National Park!

visiting Capitol Reef in September

With its unique geology and colorful history, there’s no better place to get outdoors and enjoy nature than at this incredible national park. So come on out – the beauty of Capitol Reef awaits!

Here are some itineraries we’ve created for visiting Capitol Reef depending on the time you have to spend at the park:

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!

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 Capitol Reef National Park weather 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 stay hydrated and use sun protection while exploring Capitol Reef:

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 September

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

Capitol Reef Ranger Programs in September

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.

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.

Fruita schoolhouse
Fruita schoolhouse

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
Road through Capitol Reef

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.

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 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.

Grand Wash at Capitol Reef
Hiking the Grand Wash trail

Capitol Reef Hikes in September

There are so many fun Capitol Reef National Park fall 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 National Park landscape
Capitol Reef National Park landscape

Capitol Reef Camping in September

You’ll find one large developed campground in the Fruita area for Capitol Reef National Park camping. 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.

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 Tours in September

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.

There are half-day or full-day excursions to fit your interests: guided hikes, llama and horse rides, photography, and Jeeping!

SHOP AMAZON: Capitol Reef Travel Guides and Maps:

capitol reef guides and map

Packing List for Capitol Reef

Use our Capitol Reef National Park packing list to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in September! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

get the free capitol reef national park packing lists
capitol reef national park in september

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