Capitol Reef’s Navajo Knobs trail

The Navajo Knobs trail in Capitol Reef National Park is a 9.5 mile out-and-back hike that starts from the main canyon floor and climbs to the eponymous “knobs” – small rocky outcrops on the canyon rim that offer panoramic views over the desert. Chris and I tackled this hike on our Spring trip to Utah and it made for an excellent, not too demanding, day out.

I continue to think that Capitol Reef is the most under-rated of Utah’s National Parks (all of which, of course, are objectively fabulous!). It’s not too crowded, and offers hikes that cater to whatever mood you’re in. My recommendations for hikes are:

  • Upper Muley Twist – if you’re up for a long day hike, this is my favorite route (not really a trail) in Capitol Reef.
  • Sulphur Creek – a non-technical route down a narrow canyon that makes for a fun adventure.
  • Sheets Gulch – one of three narrow canyons, with decent slot sections, that can be explored on the eastern side of Capitol Reef.
  • Navajo Knobs – a maintained trail that unlike most of the hikes in this region follows a canyon rim with excellent views.
  • Spring Canyon – a quiet backcountry canyon that makes for a good out-and-back day hike from Chimney Rock, a one-way shuttle trip that ends with a ford of the Fremont River, or longer backpacking trips that include the upper part of the canyon.
  • Grand Gulch – Frying Pan loop – a sampler of the scenery in the core region of the park.
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