Cohab Canyon Trail – Capitol Reef NP

Torrey, UT

The weather prediction here in central Utah has continued to include the chance of rain and thundershowers in the afternoon, not good for hiking in canyons and washes.  So one day we decided to do another short hike, one that went up and through a high canyon then continued up to a couple of scenic viewing points.

The Cohab Canyon Trail is a through hike that can be accessed from either end of a canyon a little under two miles in length.  Once in the middle of the canyon there are two trails that branch off, one leading to a large arch and one leading up to the two viewpoints.  The hike to the arch is a bit lengthy, so we’ll save that for a day without a prediction of rain.

We began the hike at the west end trailhead across from the Capitol Reef NP campground.  The trail immedietly goes up 320 feet in a quarter mile of switchbacks.

Looking west at the top of the switchbacks. The campground is in the trees below.

At the top of the switchbacks the trail turns east and enters a rocky, narrow canyon.

The walls along the beginning of the canyon are filled with swirls and indentations made from blowing sand and water.

Along the way we explored a couple of narrow slots that only went a short distance into the sides of the main canyon before becoming to narrow for hikers.

After hiking the main canyon for a bit under a mile we found the side trail leading up to the two scenic points, one looking to the west while the other to the east.

The view to the west

Looking to the east

On the return hike through Cohan Canyon we enjoyed the views of the pock-marked canyon walls.  The holes are called solution cavities and are formed in certain rocks, such as limestone, where portions have been dissolved by percolating water.

Torrey is a pretty small community (pop. 180) but its proximity to Capitol Reefs NP and other nearby parks attracts many visitors.  A number of small hotels and restaurants are in town cater to the tourists (and the locals).  One of the newer spots in Torrey’s “night life scene” is the Saddlery Cowboy Bar and Steak House ( It was just being completed during our last visit two years ago.).   The Saddlery is only open on weekends from May through October (its closed the rest of the year) and last weekend was their first opening for the year.  Our local friends, Larry and Annette,  invited us to join them for dinner there on Saturday night.  How can you pass up a meal at a place with a giant stuffed bull in the entrance!

John, Pam, the bull, Annette, and Larry

When in Rome . . .

A local cowgirl struts her stuff!

Just as we finished our dinner (the food was great), the band cranked it up.  A group from Salt Lake City entertained us with a great mix of cowboy, country, and oldies rock and roll.

The weather in central Utah has continued to be a bit threatening during the next few days so it looks like we may have to extend our visit so we can get to do all the hiking we have planned.

More on that later . . .

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24 Responses to Cohab Canyon Trail – Capitol Reef NP

  1. Andrew Wojtanik says:

    A great hike – though it’s quite popular, still one of my favorites!

  2. I just love what water and wind can do to rocks! Just beautiful!

  3. Oh, and Pam, you looked right at home on that saddle!

  4. Ingrid says:

    What stunning country. I love the contrast in color between the red rock and green vegetation. We just got to Moab yesterday and it’s been raining making for slick red mud. Hope it dries soon for both of us.

  5. Dick Savage says:

    You are in one of my favorite parks in Utah. If you haven’t been to the little store near the big barn and before you go into the camp ground be sure and visit it. Get there in the morning and pick up one of their individual pies. Apple or berry. Love those.

  6. Janna says:

    The weather was why we packed up and headed for home–that red mud makes for some nasty ATV riding. Hope it clears soon and you can get out to do all those hikes. It is snowing here this morning.

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, the red mud is not fun and the weather just got worse the last few days. We had some snow yesterday and are expecting some today but starting Monday there is a sun for a whole week with temps in the 60’s!!!

  7. Sherry says:

    Beautiful pictures of one of my favorite hikes in the park. The blue of the skies and the puffy white clouds just add to the gorgeous swirling red rocks. We were there in fall and it was fantastic. If we hiked early in the morning, we never saw anyone until 10 or 11:00. Really hoping to return.

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Sherry! This is a gorgeous hike. I couldn’t beleive all the colors in the rock. We went late morning but had the trail to ourselves. I think the afternoon forecast kept people away which was fine with us:)

  8. LuAnn says:

    What beautiful rocks! Love what Mother Nature has created! We are finally getting a sunny day but unfortunately another hike we had planned at high elevation is not going to happen, given the amount of snow that fell in the mountains. Perhaps if we wait a couple of days?

    • placestheygo says:

      Haha! I’m sure Terry is thanking the snow gods for this break:) The conditions will be fine in a couple days!! Be sure to take photos of Terry with snow around his ankles:)

      • LuAnn says:

        Will do. We just left the Forest Service Center and found that many of the routes that we want to take to the hikes are closed due to snow. 😦 I just hope we get enough good weather to get rid of some of the snow before the next round of storms sweeps in.

  9. Gay says:

    We have had lots of stormy weather in Sedona too! Sure have enjoyed seeing the hikes you have been able to do…beautiful slots!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Gay:) It seems to be the same system spinning around a lot of us. Next week finally looks nice enough to get in all those hikes we missed two years ago. Hope your weather improves:)

  10. You look at home in the saddle!

  11. Nancy says:

    A great short hike… YOU LOOK TOO CUTE as a Cowgirl! Hope it dries out for you!

  12. Laurel says:

    Such a beautiful hike! I know those clouds are bringing in the storms, but they sure do make for beautiful skies with those gorgeous red rocks. Looks like you guys are finding ways to have a great time despite the weather — Polygamy Porter, haha! We’ve had some of that beer! Love the shot of you in the saddle, Pam. 🙂

    • placestheygo says:

      This was one of the prettiest hikes we’ve done. The rock coloring and formations were so gorgeous. We managed to find shorter hikes for the first half of the day before the weather changed. However the last few days were total washouts with rain, snow, and hail. But we now have three sunny days so we are off to get those long hikes in:) While the beer bottle isn’t the most appealing, the beer is wonderful!

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