Overview

This Capitol Reef boardwalk trail passes through a scenic grove of cottonwood trees while offering a close up view of ancient petroglyphs. The boardwalk is level and suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. This trail is suitable for children and adults of all ages and skill levels.

The Trailhead

The Capitol Reef Petroglyphs Trailhead is located on Highway 24 in Capitol Reef National Park. To reach the trailhead from the junction of Hwy 24 and Hwy 12 in Torrey, UT:

  1. Drive east on Highway 24 for 10.9 miles.
  2. Turn left (north) into the signed parking area for Petroglyphs (38.288106,-111.242340).

The Hike

From the parking area, begin walking on your choice of two separate boardwalks. The first, and shortest of the two, begins near the center of the parking area. The short walk down the boardwalk leads to two viewing areas. The petroglyphs from this viewpoint are visible on the rock wall at the top of the slope near the end of the boardwalk. These may be the most impressive petroglyphs in the area but they are also some of the furthest away from the boardwalk. Interpretive signs and fixed binoculars are available.

After the first boardwalk, continue walking to the east end of the parking area to the second boardwalk. Follow the walkway as it traverses the canyon wall, offering a much closer look at the historic markings on the rock. These particular marks are called petroglyphs because they are chipped into the rock, as opposed to pictographs, which are painted on.

While many of the petroglyphs are easy to spot, many more are faint and can be easily missed, so pay close attention. There’s a good chance you’ll see even more on the walk back to the trailhead.

Rules and Regulations

  • Pack out all trash.
  • Do not draw or carve on rocks.
  • Do not touch or disturb artifacts.

Special Considerations

  • This area can be extremely hot during spring, summer and fall. Carry plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing.

Credits

This trail guide is provided by Backcountry Post.