Chimney Rock Hike – Capitol Reef NP

Torrey, UT

On Thursday we intended to drive to the southern section of Capitol Reef for a long hike.  But it was quite cold for most of the morning, so we decided to take a hike much closer to home.  The Chimney Rock Trailhead is just a few miles west of town, so after it warmed up a bit we drove over to take the three mile loop hike.

Chimney Rock

From the trailhead, the hike quickly goes up the side of the mesa for almost two miles.  From the summit you get a beautiful view of Chimney Rock below and the cliff running west to Torrey.

On the other side of the summit there is a great view to the Waterpocket Fold to the east.

The trail then turned to the north toward the red cliffs.

Along the way we spotted several pieces of petrified wood by the side of the trail.

The Chimney Rock Trail is a loop, but about half way around it intersects with another trail leading into Spring Canyon.  A couple we spoke with on the loop had just been on the trail to the canyon and said it was a great hike.  So the next day we returned to the Chimney Rock Trailhead and took the cutoff leading to Spring Canyon.  The hike is basically in a wash, but the rocks and canyon walls provide spectacular scenes all around you.

After hiking for a while, we found a perch on a rock to have lunch while enjoying the steep canyon walls all around us.

Across from our lunch site we found a beautiful rock formation with a variety of swirling  colors.

Nearby was a large formation that appeared to be a solid dark rock.  A closer look at places where the rock had eroded revealed the dark rock was just a thin covering.  Once the dark covering had eroded, the swirling colorful rock below was revealed.

Along the way we spotted some cool arches above us.

At times, the trail snaked through numerous huge boulders of sandstone.

After joining Spring Canyon, the trail continues for over six miles.  We hiked about three miles into the canyon before turning around and hiking back to the trailhead.   Like most hikes, the return trip revealed many great views we missed on the trip into the canyon.

The loop hike at Chimney Rock is pretty cool, but the Spring Canyon is much more interesting.

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18 Responses to Chimney Rock Hike – Capitol Reef NP

  1. Aren’t you just the little cutie inside that rock.

    Beautiful rock formations. I love the swirl in the rock. Makes me think of Red Rock Swirls, AZ.

    Another beautiful day in paradise!

  2. Ingrid says:

    Another great day of hiking. I’m so antsy to get out there and explore. We hear all about your stops for lunch, ever thought about sharing what lunch is? Perhaps one of your wonderful photos 😉

    • placestheygo says:

      Can you tell my husband writes the blog! I am surprised the Hell’s Backbone food made it. Food, flowers and birds don’t make it usually. I take the same thing every time for lunch…very simple. We each get a half pita with chicken salad made with Bolthouse Salsa Ranch salad dressing and stuffed with greens. I then cut an apple in half and core it carefully. I stuff each half with powdered peanut butter that I mix extra thick. I put the apple back together and put it in a bag. We each get half. I also bring along 2 squares of an energy bar I make. We usually spread out eating stops if it is an extra long hike. Hope you get on the road soon!!!

  3. Leigh says:

    I love the stripes on those rocks!

  4. Deb says:

    Did you see the Nittany Lion head in the one rock?

  5. Pam says:

    Beautiful views and striations on the rocks. Looks like a good place to pick up some agates or jaspers for making jewelry, such rich, earthy colors.

  6. Joan says:

    You guys really should write a travel book!
    Love the pictures and hike descriptions!

  7. Lisa says:

    What a gorgeous hiking day! Love, love, love the pics!

  8. Sue says:

    I know what you mean about picking pictures and not overdoing it! That is the hardest thing about blogging I think! So, John writes the blog! Now I know why we never see or hear about any food…..we love to hear about food, and flowers and birds, hint hint John

    The pictures of the wavy rocks were fabulous! Thanks for sharing them with us.
    Sue

  9. Deb Dominick says:

    12th pic from the end

  10. Erin says:

    Cool is an understatement … fantastic … those swirling colors are just fabulous.

  11. LuAnn says:

    I agree with Joan. You really should write a travel book or at least a hiking book for Utah. These are fabulous photos. The patina on the rocks and the striations are so interesting.

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