The Cohab Canyon is a beautiful hike with amazing rock formations, high walls, and side slot canyons.
This canyon runs from the Fruita campground at Capitol Reef National Park, easterly to where it exits onto highway 24 near the Hickman Bridge Trailhead. The total length of the canyon is 1.7 miles and can be hiked in either direction if you have a drop car.
At one mile from the campground there is a side trail to the north which climbs to the ridge top and has beautiful views of the Freemont River and Highway 24. There is a north and south trail spur. From the south spur you can travel for miles through the upper rock formations of Cohab canyon.
On this trip I hiked to the canyon overlook trail, up the overlook trail and explored the rock ridge. I returned to the canyon and exited back the way I came to the Fruita campground.
Overall rating = moderate
Distance: 4.0 miles return – easy
Elevation gain: 800 feet – moderate
Terrain: Sandy, rocky, slickrock – moderate
Exposure: 400 foot overhang at the top – moderate
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.
From the Park entrance travel 1.2 miles south along Scenic Drive to the trailhead which is across the road from the entrance to the Fruita Campground.
You can either park in the campground if you are staying there or at the Gifford Homestead barn, located a short distance before you get to the trailhead.
The trail starts with a strenuous switchback trail up to the canyon entrance. The high point on the main canyon trail is about 400 feet above the campground. The overlook side trail rises another 400 feet above the canyon trail at the 1 mile point.
The trail to the north and south overlooks is one of the highlights and should not be missed. There are amazing views up and down the valley below, and of the surrounding peaks. You can spend hours exploring the rugged and varied rock formations beyond the end of the south overlook trail.
From the junction of the overlook trail you can either continue on to highway 24 or return back the same route that you came.