Chimney Rock Loop Trail

Chimney Rock Loop is a moderate hike in Capitol Reef National Park. Though Chimney Rock can easily be seen from the roadside parking lot, this hike takes you to the foot of beautiful soaring red rock walls that are especially beautiful in the morning or evening sunlight. We loved the views along the Chimney Rock Loop hike.

There are so many pretty spots along this hike.

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock is not a hiking destination, but a road-side pullout with a trailhead. You can easily see Chimney Rock just by driving by. However, we enjoyed the 3.6 mile loop that takes you into the small canyon behind Chimney Rock.

You can see Chimney Rock from the road, but we liked seeing the rock from above.

The Trail

This hike is steep, which is the reason we label it as moderate. It starts out with the first third mile climbing nearly as steeply as a staircase. The overall elevation gain is 590 feet. About a half mile into the hike, the trail splits. There is a sign directing you to the right to follow Chimney Rock Loop Trail. However, you’ll see this sign again because the loop starts here. To the right, the trail climbs to the ridge.

The trail is easy to find and well marked.
It starts out flat and then you climb up on top of the cliffs.
It was steep, but our kids managed well.
The trail climbs for the first mile.
Watch for the junction.

The next half mile after the split, the Chimney Rock trail continues to climb all the way to the top of the ridge. Luckily, the climb is much more steady and manageable. When you reach the top, the views back toward the highway are really beautiful. You can also get a nice look of Chimney Rock.

The views are amazing on this trail.
You can see in all directions at the top.
This trail would be gorgeous at sunset.

After you reach the highest overlook and begin to descend, you’ll see amazing red cliffs that look like they’ve been cut from the mountainside with a knife. They are stunning Utah red rock walls that tower high above the valley floor. The trail walks right to the base of these cliffs and then turns back toward the trailhead. Make sure to notice the layers of color at the base of the cliffs, too. We loved hiking this trail in the early morning sunlight, but sunset would be just as nice.

This is my favorite part of the hike. Walking among these red rocks.
Look at those colors.
The trail walks along the base of the cliffs after the climb.
It was nice to walk down on the way back to the car.
There is limited shade on this trail, so morning or evening will be the best times.

It’s almost all downhill back to the car from this point, and that climb definitely seems worth it! You will pass the sign where the trail originally split, and then head back down the steep switchback climb back to the Chimney Rock Loop trailhead. If you are looking for other trails that we enjoy in Capitol Reef, there are plenty of easier hikes. Use our Family-Friendly Hikes list to plan a fun day in this national park.

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