Taking a trip to Capitol Reef National Park in the Spring is a great time to go because the weather is “just right” to enjoy outdoor activities at this park.
Use our Capitol Reef National Park guide and the tips below to plan your vacation.
We share things to do, what to pack, where to stay and services available at Capitol Reef in the spring.
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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!
CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK IN THE SPRING
Check out this resource of the best time to visit Capitol Reef National Park!
Here’s what you can expect when you take a trip in the spring.
Spring Weather at Capitol Reef
March: temperatures range from highs near 55 degrees to lows around 31 degrees.
April: temperatures range from highs near 64 degrees and lows around 37 degrees.
May: temperatures range from highs around 73 degrees and lows near 46 degrees.
With the temperatures changing so much throughout the day, it is especially important to dress in layers.
Spring is also the rainy season so be aware of weather before entering any slot canyon!
Spring Break Crowds at Capitol Reef
Spring weather draws people to all five Utah National Parks. It’s the best time of year to truly enjoy the outdoors in this desert landscape.
BUT that means Capitol Reef is also a popular spring break destination so it may be more crowded during that time.
Things to Do at Capitol Reef in the Spring
Check out all the fun things to do at Capitol Reef National Park!
Capitol Reef Visitor Center
Exhibits, bookstore, general information, toilets, and park rangers on duty. You can get drinking water inside (during open hours) or outside (24 hours a day).
Fruita Gifford Farm in the Spring
The Fruita valley includes the Gifford Homestead, blacksmith shop, barn and orchards. Be sure to stop by the Gifford house where unique handmade items are made by local artisans like quilts, aprons, woven rugs, soap, crockery, candles and toys. Our favorite part is eating the locally baked fruit pies and homemade ice cream!
One of the favorite activities at Capitol Reef is picking fruit from the orchard. Check the website for the harvesting times for each type of fruit (usually mid-June to mid-October).
Capitol Reef Scenic Drives in the Spring
The Capitol Reef scenic drive is a must-do activity to explore 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 the spring can vary greatly depending on recent weather conditions. Spring rains can leave the roads 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 spring rains can sometimes leave roads slick, muddy, washed out, and impassable to the best high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle, so check at the visitor center before heading out!!
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.”
Photography at Capitol Reef in the Spring
The landscape you’ll see at Capitol Reef is spectacular so of course you want to take pictures!
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!
Spring Stargazing 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.
Spring is the perfect time to photograph the milky way at Capitol Reef too!
Spring Hiking at Capitol Reef
There are so many 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.
Keep in mind 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 the spring it is especially important that you take the proper gear and plenty of water.
When it rains heavily over a short period of time the result can be flash floods. Get up-to-date 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
Spring Camping 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 to fall.
You’ll also find Capitol Reef primitive campgrounds in the remote parts of the park in Cathedral Valley and along the Notom-Bullfrog Road.
Spring Ranger Led Programs at Capitol Reef
Ranger-led programs are a great way to learn about Capitol Reef. The programs available in the spring are geology talks, evening programs and the Junior Ranger Program for kids!
There are other special programs available during summer and fall like guided hikes, star talk, and full moon walk.
Other Capitol Reef Activities
Places to Stay Near Capitol Reef
- Places to Stay at Capitol Reef National Park
- Hotels near Capitol Reef National Park
- Capitol Reef National Park Camping
- 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!