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Strike Valley Overlook

The Strike Valley Overlook is an awe-inspiring viewpoint in a remote corner of Capitol Reef National Park. The overlook is located on a high sandstone cliff, offering expansive views of the Waterpocket Fold; a large geologic formation that spans nearly 100 miles and defines Capitol Reef National Park. This hike is suitable for most healthy adults and children but can be very hot during the summer.

Trailhead

The hike to the Strike Valley Overlook begins at the Upper Muley Twist Trailhead on the Burr Trail road in Capitol Reef National Park. Accessing the trailhead requires driving a significant distance on remote dirt roads with no services or cell phone reception. Under good conditions, the trailhead is accessible to passenger cars but a 4WD vehicle is sometimes required. Check with the Capitol Reef Visitor Center for current road conditions before heading out.

From Torrey, Utah:

  1. Drive east on Highway 24 into Capitol Reef National Park for approximately 20 miles.
  2. Turn right onto the Notom Bullfrog Road and drive approximately 33 miles. The road surface changes from pavement to dirt after the first 10 miles.
  3. Turn right at the signed junction for The Burr Trail and follow the road 3.2 miles as it ascends the famous Burr Trail Switchbacks to the top of the reef.
  4. Turn right at the signed junction for the Upper Muley Twist Trailhead.
  5. Continue approximately 300 yards to the trailhead.

The trailhead is also accessible by driving west on the Burr Trail from Boulder, Utah. There is a $5 per vehicle fee to enter Capitol Reef National Park. No facilities are available at the trailhead.

NOTE: The first 3 miles of the trail follows a rugged dirt road that can be driven by high clearance 4WD vehicles to a signed parking area for the Strike Valley Overlook. Driving to the 4WD upper parking area requires good off-road driving skills and a capable vehicle. From the upper parking area, the hiking distance to the Strike Valley Overlook is just one half mile round trip.

The Hike

From the Upper Muley Twist Trailhead, begin walking north on the dirt road. It soon descends into the wash bottom of Upper Muley Twist Canyon and becomes more rugged. From here to the upper parking area, the route follows the wash bottom, passing by small undercuts and alcoves as well as two beautiful arches along the way.

The first arch is called Peek-a-boo Rock and is visible directly ahead as you begin walking from the parking area. It is a unique arch consisting of a small hole through a thick sandstone fin at the top of the reef. The second arch you will encounter is called Double Arch (37.875613,-111.045871), located in a small drainage on the west canyon wall, about 2.5 miles from the trailhead. The arch is very close to the trail but because of the angle, you might not see it until you are nearly right in front of it.

After about 3 miles of walking up the canyon, the 4WD trail ends at a small, signed parking area for the Strike Valley Overlook on the right (37.881562,-111.046648). Continue hiking a quarter mile on the signed trail heading east from the parking area. Watch for rock cairns along the way as the trail transitions from sand to slickrock, eventually climbing to the top of a ridge before arriving at the Strike Valley Overlook (37.883334,-111.042049).

The route ends at a massive precipice at the edge of the reef, offering breathtaking views of the Waterpocket Fold and much of Capitol Reef National Park. The Waterpocket Fold is the defining geologic feature of Capitol Reef National Park and spans nearly 100 miles from north to south. The Strike Valley Overlook is one of the best locations in the park from which to view this unique formation.

Total hiking distance from the Upper Muley Twist Trailhead to the overlook and back is approximately 6.5 miles.

NOTE: This route may be extended farther north into Upper Muley Twist Canyon. A narrow canyon and several more arches can be enjoyed but the route is significantly more difficult. Check with the Capitol Reef Visitor Center for more information about the Upper Muley Twist Canyon hike.

Rules and Regulations

  • No pets allowed.
  • No littering.
  • Pack out trash.
  • Permits are required for overnight use and can be acquired from the Capitol Reef Visitor Center.

Special Considerations

  • This area can be extremely hot in the late spring and summer. There is very little shade from the sun and no water along the route. Carry plenty of water and wear sunscreen and appropriate clothing for the conditions.
  • The trailhead is located in a very remote area of Capitol Reef National Park. Check with the Capitol Reef Visitor Center for current conditions before attempting the drive.

Credits

This trail guide provided by Backcountry Post.