Visiting Capitol Reef in March

Thinking about planning a trip to Capitol Reef in March? Visiting Capitol Reef National Park in the spring is one of our favorite times of year to visit to enjoy the landscape, geology, and history found here!

Located in southcentral Utah, there are a variety of things to do at Capitol Reef in March: hiking, biking, off-roading, scenic drives, and landscape photography!

capitol reef national park in march

Use this Capitol Reef National Park guide to plan: we share things to do, what to pack, where to stay and the services available in March. Living only a few hours away, we’ve had the opportunity to visit Capitol Reef National Park many times. The tips we share are based on our experiences visiting the area throughout the years, and specifically for a trip in March.

Our number one tip is to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting Capitol Reef in March. 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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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 March

Capitol Reef is renowned for its stunning desert landscapes, orchards teeming with fruit trees, and charming historic structures. March is a terrific time to enjoy the variety of Capitol Reef National Park spring activities like hiking, biking, scenic drives, and landscape photography!

Yes, March is still cold and you may experience snow or rain. If you’re wondering what it’s like to visit at other times of the year, check out this resource of the best time to visit Capitol Reef National Park!

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.

Check road and weather conditions so you’re prepared to enjoy the outdoors. Be flexible with your schedule, especially in the winter as conditions may close parts of the park.

Hikers at Capitol Reef National Park
Wearing layers when hiking in March at Capitol Reef

March Weather at Capitol Reef

March Temperatures: high 55 / low 31 degrees Fahrenheit – March weather at Capitol Reef will be cold and you may encounter snow or rain. You’ll want to stay informed on the specific weather conditions and forecasts on the Capitol Reef NPS website for the areas of the park you will visit.

Even though March is technically spring, it will still feel like winter. We recommend packing:

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 at Capitol Reef in March

Check out all the fun things to do at Capitol Reef National Park in March.

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

Capitol Reef Ranger-Led Programs in March

Capitol Reef is open all day, every day. The visitor center is open daily, but hours in the early spring may vary so call 435-425-3791 and follow the prompts for current visitor center information.

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.

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

orchards at capitol reef
Orchards at Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef Gifford Farm in March

The Fruita area is the main part of Capitol Reef. It includes the Gifford Homestead, blacksmith shop, barn and orchards.

The Gifford House opens on March 14, Pi Day! You can find unique handmade items and locally baked fruit pies and homemade ice cream!

Another one of the favorite activities at Capitol Reef is picking fruit from the orchard, but this activity isn’t available in March. 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

Capitol Reef Scenic Drives in March

The Capitol Reef scenic drive is a must-do activity to see and photograph the cliffs, canyons, domes and bridges!

If you’re up for adventure, and the weather allows it, drive the Capitol Reef Cathedral Valley loop. It’s a remote, rugged region that requires vehicles with high ground clearance. In the spring you may need four-wheel drive depending on road and weather conditions.

In March 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 a fun way to explore the Waterpocket District in the southern section of the park. It’s remote and rugged, but oh so beautiful! Most passenger cars, pickups, and vans can usually negotiate the roads without difficulty.

BUT 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.

We highly recommend getting the Capitol Reef GuideAlong Audio Tour: use the suggested itineraries in the app tour plan, or divide the commentary to create your own half, full or multi day sightseeing trips. 

Capitol Reef sunrise at Panorama Point
Sunrise at Panorama Point

Capitol Reef Photography in March

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!

In March you’ll want photographer gloves and rechargeable hand warmers for the cold mornings and evenings!

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

Capitol Reef Stargazing in March

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 March the milky way is again visible in the sky in the early morning hours before sunrise from 3:00 am to 5:45 am. Don’t forget you can also photograph the amazing starry skies or star trails!

If you’ll be doing astrophotography, be sure to use a headlamp with a red light. 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

Capitol Reef Hiking in March

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

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 March it is especially important that you take the proper gear, plenty of water and healthy snacks.

Capitol Reef Tours in March

One fun way to experience the park is booking one of the many Capitol Reef National Park tours like guided hikes, llama and horse rides, photography, and Jeeping!

March begins the busy season so tour options could still be limited. Be sure to check ahead to find out what tours are available for the dates you’ll be visiting the park.

Capitol Reef Camping in March

If you’re interested in Capitol Reef National Park camping, 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 the park.

Campsites are reservable from March 1 – October 31, and can be made 6 months ahead of time. Visit to make a reservation. 

It has 71 sites, and each site has a picnic table and firepit and/or above ground grill, but no individual water, sewage, or electrical hookups.

There is an RV dump and potable water fill station. Restrooms have running water and flush toilets, but no showers. Accessible sites are located next to the restrooms.

You’ll also find Capitol Reef primitive campgrounds in the remote parts of the park in Cathedral Valley and along the Notom-Bullfrog Road.

You can also check out the RV Parks near Capitol Reef National Park if you can’t get a spot in the park.

Lodging Near Capitol Reef in March

If camping isn’t your thing, here are a few more lodging options in the Capitol Reef area:

capitol reef guides and map

Things To Do Near Capitol Reef in March

Capitol Reef Travel Planner

Check out these done-for-you itineraries for Capitol Reef based on the time you have to spend exploring the park! Click the graphic below to grab a free copy of the travel bundle with printable itineraries!

Get the Capitol Reef Travel Bundle

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