Capitol Gorge is a beautiful canyon hike through the Waterpocket Fold easily travelled by families. This canyon is mostly level walking with sheer canyon walls.
Along the way are two side hikes, one to a viewpoint overlooking the Golden Throne, and one to a series of water tanks.
The Golden Throne Towers 1,400 feet above the road at the bottom of Capitol Gorge, and is an icon of the park. The junction to this side trail is 0.8 miles along the Canyon. A moderately difficult trail of 3 miles return and 800 ft elevation gain, reaches a viewpoint of this feature.
The series of water tanks is 2 miles from the start of the hike. The climb to the water tanks is 0.2 miles and 80 feet elevation rise.
Overall rating = easy
Distance: 4.0 miles return to the water tank trail – easy
Elevation gain: <100 feet - easy Terrain: Wide sand and rock wash - easy Exposure: none - easy To see the trail rating system used here see Trail Rating System
If travelling from the west, take highway 24 from Torrey to the Capitol Reef National Park Entrance, a distance of 10.7 miles. If travelling from the east take highway 24 from Caineville to the National Park, a distance of 19 miles.
Drive 7.9 miles from the Visitor Center along the Scenic Drive to the end of the pavement. Veer left onto the Capitol Gorge road and travel 2.3 miles to the parking lot.
The trail through the gorge becomes deep and narrow with several sections of almost slot-like proportions.
The total distance from the parking lot to the water tanks is 4 miles return.