Things to Do at Capitol Reef National Park in April

You’ll find a variety of things to do at Capitol Reef National Park in April like hiking, biking, scenic drives, and photography. There are activities to discover its rich history, evidenced by the ancient petroglyphs, to its vibrant, rugged beauty highlighted by colorful layers of sandstone.

Capitol Reef National Park in April is a wonderful time to visit because the weather is “just right” to enjoy outdoor activities at this Utah National Park park filled with cliffs, canyons, domes, and bridges.

things to do at Capitol Reef National Park in April

This list of things to Do in Capitol Reef National Park is perfect for photographers, nature enthusiasts, and adventure-seekers. The daytime temperatures in April are warm enough to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.

Use this Capitol Reef National Park guide to plan your April trip: activities, what to pack, where to stay, weather, and more! Living only a few hours away, we’ve had the opportunity to visit Capitol Reef National Park many times. This list of things to do are based on our experiences visiting the area throughout the years, and specifically for a trip in April.

Our number one tip is to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for the temperatures and weather at Capitol Reef in April. Grab your free printable Capitol Reef National Park packing list by clicking the image below!

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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!

Things to Do at Capitol Reef National Park in April

Capitol Reef National Park is located in southcentral Utah, in red rock country. Its unique geologic formations, filled with cliffs, canyons, domes, and bridges, render it a spectacular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Check out all the fun Capitol Reef National Park spring activities you can do in the month of April.

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

Visitor Center and Ranger-Led Programs in April at Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef is open all day, every day. Check the most updated visitor center hours for April. If you’re visiting Capitol Reef National Park with kids, we recommend your first stop be the 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.

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 Ranger-led Programs are a great way to learn about the park. The programs available in April are geology talks and the Junior Ranger Program for kids!

Fruita schoolhouse at capitol reef
Fruita Schoolhouse

Fruita Area in April at Capitol Reef

The Fruita area is the main part of Capitol Reef. It includes the Gifford Homestead, blacksmith shop, barn and orchards. We highly recommend a visit to The Gifford House to grab some yummy locally baked fruit pies and homemade ice cream!

Another one of the favorite activities at Capitol Reef is picking fruit from the orchard. In April you won’t be able to pick any fruit, but you’ll see the fruit blossoms on the trees! Here’s the Capitol Reef orchards harvesting schedule if you want to arrange your vacation around those dates.

Grand Wash road at Capitol Reef National Park
Grand Wash Road

Scenic Drives in April at Capitol Reef

The Capitol Reef scenic drive is a paved road that’s 7.9 miles long and 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. Passenger cars and RVs up to 27 feet in length are fine to drive the road.

In April the Scenic Drive, Grand Wash, and Capitol Gorge roads can be closed due to snow, ice, mud, and flash floods.

We recommend the Capitol Reef GyPSy Guide App to hear fun behind-the scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location.

If you’re up for adventure, drive the Capitol Reef Cathedral Valley loop. It’s a remote, rugged region that requires vehicles with high ground clearance. In April it may rain or snow which makes 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!!

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.

The Capitol Reef Burr Trail Loop is located in the southern section of Capitol Reef. It is fairly remote and rugged, but has the best scenery!! Most passenger cars, pickups, and vans can usually negotiate the roads without difficulty. Again any rain or snow 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. 

Capitol Reef sunrise at Panorama Point
Sunrise at Panorama Point

Photography in April at Capitol Reef

To truly capture the stunning beauty of Capitol Reef, timing is important. The best time to take Capitol Reef National Park photos is during the ‘golden hours’—shortly after sunrise or before sunset. The sun’s low angle gives a warm, glowing light that creates beautiful shadows and highlights on the sandstone cliffs.

Our favorite Capitol Reef locations for sunrise and sunset:

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!

milky way over the Fruita Barn at Capitol Reef
Milky way over the Fruita Barn

Stargazing in April 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. 

In April the milky way is visible in the sky from 1:00 am to 4:45 am. Don’t forget you can also photograph the amazing starry skies or star trails!

Be sure to use a headlamp with a red light to navigate in the dark. The red light minimizes the disruption of night vision and allows you and other photographers around you to see their surroundings while preserving the sensitivity of their eyes to low-light conditions.

Grand Wash slot canyon at Capitol Reef
Grand Wash hiking trail

Hiking Trails in April at Capitol Reef

There are so many fun Capitol Reef National Park spring hikes to choose from, with trails for all levels of hiker: easy, moderate, and strenuous.

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.

Some of the best day hikes in Capitol Reef National Park are: Hickman Bridge, Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge Wash.

When hiking at Capitol Reef in April it is important that you take the proper gear, plenty of water and healthy snacks.

Guided Tours in April at Capitol Reef

Whether you’re looking for a half-day or full-day excursion, there are plenty of Capitol Reef tours available to fit your needs: guided hikes, scenic drives, photography, horseback rides, and Jeep or ATV experiences!

April is a busy season at Capitol Reef so it’s a good idea to book tours in advance.

Fruita Campground at Capitol Reef
Fruita Campground at Capitol Reef

Camping in April at Capitol Reef

There are a few options for Capitol Reef National Park camping in April. The Fruita Campground is adjacent to the Fremont River and surrounded by historic structures and orchards.

It’s open year-round, and is the only developed campground in Capitol Reef. This is a popular place to stay and fills quickly. Reservations can be made 6 months in advance.

You’ll also find Capitol Reef primitive campgrounds 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, there are some RV Parks near Capitol Reef National Park that are only a short drive away.

Lodging in April Near Capitol Reef

If camping isn’t your thing, there are a variety of options so you can find the best place to stay for your travel style and budget.

Tips for Planning a Capitol Reef Vacation in April

There are fun outdoor adventures and things to do when visiting Capitol Reef National Park in the spring.

April is a terrific time to enjoy outdoor adventures at Capitol Reef due to the moderate weather. But if it’s spring break in Utah it will be busy!

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.

Weather in April at Capitol Reef

April Capitol Reef National Park weather will be cool during the day and cold at night with highs around 64 and lows around 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since the mornings and evenings will still be cold, we recommend you pack the following items:

You’ll experience a dry desert environment o be sure to also pack and use lip balm and lotion as well!

spring hiking gear

Things to Do Near Capitol Reef in April

capitol reef guides and map

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