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Pros and Cons, Couple of Dates

Vancouver
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Pros and Cons, Couple of Dates

I've been down to Utah's national parks three times now, and still haven't made it around to visit Torrey/Highway 12/Capitol Reef/etc. I'm finally hoping to do about a week there next year.

I'm partial to spring as I've gone in April 1x and June 2x now and enjoyed all of those trips a great deal, as it's been fantastic hiking conditions and a sort of "early start to summer".

I'm looking for locals or frequent travellers opinions on what the best time in the spring would be, with respect mostly to hiking in Capitol Reef. Using Las Vegas as a base ( 1 night on either end ), as well as a stop in Zion, our favorite, ( 2ish nights) and 5-7 nights in Torrey/Capitol Reef.

Any thoughts on insects, crowds, rainfall probability, at what point the possibility of a lingering winter storm becomes at least fairly negligible, and, of course, temperature. Would hope for most days to be at least in the 70s. Not blistering hot, but definitely not winter!

We're thinking about three dates;

April 12-20

May 10-18

June 7-15

Kind of leaning towards May as part of the trip is in slightly warmer locales and we should be able to get our "couple of days of 80s, sun and pool time" in there while still likely having great hiking weather in CR.

Torrey, Utah
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21. Re: Pros and Cons, Couple of Dates

KBec - the road was washed out a couple of weeks ago and we ended up hiking for 5 1/2 hours to the Temples and back! Probably not exactly what you had in mind though...

Vancouver
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22. Re: Pros and Cons, Couple of Dates

I'd really love to see the Cathedral Valley, particularly at sunrise or sunset. I hadn't put it as a priority due to the likelihood we'll have a rental, but because there are other alternatives such as jeep tours etc. it's something I'm considering again.

I've looked at a couple of different sources now and it appears my sort of "top 3" priority hikes in the park all have easy highway access and are fairly close together and centrally located ( Spring Canyon, Golden Throne area, Cohab Canyon/Frying Pan Trail/Cassidy Arch ) so that's promising!

We tried to do Island In The Sky and The Needles in the same 4-5 day period last year and that was a lot of driving!

Torrey, Utah
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23. Re: Pros and Cons, Couple of Dates

Sunrise is possibly best at the Temples and sunset probably better at the Cathedrals though I have done both at both this year and they all worked!

Steamboat Springs...
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24. Re: Pros and Cons, Couple of Dates

There is some great hiking scenery towards the southern end of the park too. Both Upper and Lower Muley Twist Canyons, off the top of the Burr Tr, are great hikes. All the side canyon hikes off the Notom Rd are pretty sweet too. Just a thought if you're looking for a little variety. And.... not many people.

Edited: 11:24 pm, November 01, 2012
Salt Lake City, Utah
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25. Re: Pros and Cons, Couple of Dates

"KBec - the road was washed out a couple of weeks ago and we ended up hiking for 5 1/2 hours to the Temples and back! Probably not exactly what you had in mind though..."

Well, alrighty then,,, you can hike out there :-) No, not what I would expect, but probably a great way to enjoy the area.

Santa Ana, CA
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26. Re: Pros and Cons, Couple of Dates

Here are my recommendations:

The CRNP Hiking Map & Guide is a very large fold-out topo map printed on waterproof paper. It shows every road, trail, route, feature, etc. This is published by Earthwalk Press and can be purchased from the Capitol Reef Natural History Association (CRNHA).

www.capitolreefnha.org/product.cfm…

Another favorite is Explore Capitol Reef Trails. This is about 4 inches wide and 9 inches high. With spiral binding at the top it operates as a flip chart. It's only about 40 pages and has complete descriptions of every route and trail. It's published by the CRNHA but I don't see it for sale on their website.

BTW I vote for mid-May.

Here's a fun hike:

http://climb-utah.com/Capitol/sulphur.htm

The one minute video is lots of fun to watch.

Vancouver
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27. Re: Pros and Cons, Couple of Dates

Thanks for that! I'm really into hiking trail books, topographical maps, that kind of stuff, so that's a very useful link.

I have used "From Here to WOW: Utah's Canyon Country on my last 3 trips and have found it to be a very useful resource, combined with Trails Illustrated topographical maps. Unfortunately, Trails Illustrated doesn't have one exclusively for CR; it appears as if you'd have to bring 2 or 3 to cover the park... ( Capitol Reef North/Fish Lakes, Escalante, possibly another... ) So that's awesome to know.

Also, while Kathy and Craig Copeland ( authors of From Here To WOW ) do an excellent job covering what I believe are the highlights of Southern Utah, it's always nice to find material for one park exclusively - sometimes you'll find a hidden gem.

Santa Ana, CA
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28. Re: Pros and Cons, Couple of Dates

BTW that Best Western has a row of rooms with spectacular views of the red rock mountains. You can ask for one of those on the phone.

I gave up on those "general" guides years ago. I'm always scouring the gift shops and visitor centers everywhere in southern Utah when I'm there. Some books are banned by the NPS and BLM stores so sometimes a book rack in a restaurant yields something unique. An example would be a Michael Kelsey hiking book. Government's not too fond of him.

29. Re: Pros and Cons, Couple of Dates

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