Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

Spring Canyon

Latitude, Longitude: 38.324016, -111.269746

Spring Canyon is deep and narrow with towering Wingate cliffs and Navajo domes. It originates on the shoulder of Thousand Lakes Mountain and extends to the Fremont River. The route is marked with rock cairns and signs in some places, but many sections are unmarked and carrying a topographic map and GPS unit is recommended. It is extremely hot in summer and the only usually reliable water source is at the spring in Upper Spring Canyon, 1.5 miles west of the junction with Chimney Rock Canyon. Use caution in narrow canyons during the flash flood season in July through September and any other time that storms threaten.

The canyon route is divided into Upper and Lower Spring Canyon sections. It can be accessed midway via Chimney Rock Canyon. The entire canyon is best done as a 3 to 4 day trip. Upper Spring Canyon is a good 2 to 3 day trip, while Lower Spring Canyon can be done as an overnight or long day hike. Backcountry permits are required for all overnight trips and can be obtained at the visitor center.


1) Upper end of Spring Canyon: Holt Draw, which is a dirt track on the right (north) side of Hwy 24, 0.9 miles west of the park boundary and 7.2 miles west of the visitor center. The road is closed to vehicle traffic beyond the gate at the forest service boundary. 2) Midway, for access to the lower end of Upper Spring Canyon and to the upper end of Lower Spring Canyon: the Chimney Rock trailhead, located 3.2 miles west of the visitor center on Hwy 24. 3) Lower end of Spring Canyon: across the Fremont River 3.6 miles east of the visitor center on Hwy 24 (just east of mile marker 83). Look for unmarked parking areas on both sides of the highway.