Visiting Capitol Reef National Park With Kids

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Capitol Reef National Park with kids. Since we live so close, we have a ton of tips to share! 

Use this Capitol Reef National Park guide to plan an amazing itinerary full of family-friendly activities! We also share tips for things to pack, where to stay and more!

Capitol Reef National Park with kids

If you are looking for a fun and educational outdoor experience with your kids, then look no further than Capitol Reef National Park.

Located in the heart of red rock country in south-central Utah, this park offers breathtaking scenery along with plenty of activities to keep your children engaged and entertained.

Kids will find a variety of fun things to do like hiking, picking fruit in the orchard, camping, and more! So pack up your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure with kids in Capitol Reef!

Here are some done-for-you Capitol Reef National Park itineraries to plan your family vacation based on the time you have to spend at the park:

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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!

Tips For Visiting Capitol Reef National Park With Kids

Capitol Reef is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Visitor Center is open daily except for major holidays. The Gifford House Store and Museum is usually open from March 14 (Pi Day) to the end of October. Check the website for the most updated 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.

Most of the year you’ll enjoy fun outdoor Capitol Reef National Park activities like scenic drives, hiking, biking, and horseback riding. During the winter, the activities are a bit more limited due to the cold and snow!

Capitol Reef Seasons and Weather

The best time to visit Capitol Reef National Park is during the most temperate seasons in the spring (April through May) and fall (mid-September through October). The spring and fall daytime highs average 60º to 80º F and lows average 30º to 50º F.

Do your research to know what the Capitol Reef National Park weather will be at various times of year so you can decide which season and month is best for you to plan your vacation to this stunning park!

Things To Do At Capitol Reef National Park With Kids

There are fun way to get the kids excited before, during and after the trip with National Park activities:

Check out this list of fun things to do at Capitol Reef National Park with kids:

Capitol Reef Ranger Programs With Kids

It’s a good idea to start your visit at the Capitol Reef visitor center. Tell the on-duty ranger what activities you are interested in doing at the park. The rangers can give you tips for the best things to do with kids.

A great way to learn about the park is participating in Capitol Reef Ranger-led programs offered during the time you visit.

Capitol Reef Passport Stamps with Kids

Kids, and adults, will enjoy collecting stamps in their National Park Passport book! Passport booklets and stamp sets are “usually” available at the park visitor centers, but we recommend you get the passport book before the trip, just in case!! We’ve seen sad kiddos when a visitor center is out of passport books. Rangers can stamp a piece of paper, but it’s not just the same experience!

Capitol Reef Junior Ranger Program

The Junior Ranger Program at Capitol Reef is a fun kid activity! There are activities to complete in order to earn the Junior Ranger Badge and signed certificate. Grab the free Junior Ranger booklet at the Visitor Center

Capitol Reef Scenic Drive
Capitol Reef Scenic Drive

Capitol Reef Scenic Drives With Kids

The main Capitol Reef scenic drive is 7.9 miles long. Exploring the Capitol Reef scenic drive, with the spur roads, usually takes 1.5 hours.

The paved road is suitable for passenger vehicles. Since it’s not a loop road, you’ll drive back the way you came. There are two dirt spur roads off the scenic drive: Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge.

At the end of the Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge spur roads you’ll find a trailhead to two of the most amazing Capitol Reef hikes!

A fun way to entertain the kids while exploring the scenic drive is using the Capitol Reef GuideAlong App! You’ll hear fascinating behind-the scenes stories, local tips, and directions that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location. It’s like having a park ranger in the car with you!

Fruita Barn at Capitol Reef
Fruita Barn at Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef Fruita Area With Kids

Kids will enjoy exploring the Fruita District that includes a blacksmith shop, barn with horses, and orchards where they can pick fruit during the fall harvesting season!

When the Gifford Homestead is open, be sure to stop and grab homemade pies or ice cream!

Deer are often seen in the orchards and picnic area here as well!

Grand Wash Narrows
Grand Wash Narrows

Capitol Reef Hikes With Kids

Exploring the Capitol Reef hikes is one of the best ways to experience the park. The trailheads can be found in Fruita, along Utah Highway 24, and the Scenic Drive. 

There are a variety of day hikes in Capitol Reef National Park: easy, moderate and strenuous difficulty levels.

Kids will enjoy these easy hiking trails: Capitol Gorge to see the Pioneer Register, Goosenecks Overlook, Sunset Point, and Grand Wash to the Narrows. Hickman Bridge is a fun moderate hike for older kids!

An important tip for hiking with kids is to make sure you select a hike that fits the kids’ abilities. Before you set out on any hiking trail, make sure you have the right hiking gear for kids.

milky way near Eph Hanks Tower at Capitol Reef
Milky way near Eph Hanks Tower

Capitol Reef Stargazing With Kids

Capitol Reef is home to dark night skies, and has been designated an International Dark Sky Park. We recommend you take one night to “enjoy the park after dark”!

If you wait for a nice, clear evening, you can see stars from almost anywhere in the park. Be sure to maximize your experience by allowing your eyes time to adjust (usually takes about 30 minutes), avoiding the moon, bringing a star chart, and using a headlamp with red light to reduce harm to your night vision.

Check the park’s website for updated information on Capitol Reef stargazing and ranger-led astronomy programs: stargazing parties and night hikes.

Capitol Reef Tours With Kids

You’ll find a variety of family-friendly Capitol Reef National Park tours like guided hikes, llama and horse rides, and 4×4 Jeeping!

capitol reef guides and map

Things to Do With Kids Near Capitol Reef

Packing List for Capitol Reef

Make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting any time of year. Grab your free printable Capitol Reef National Park packing list by clicking the image below!

get the free capitol reef national park packing lists

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