Things to do Near Capitol Reef National Park

On our recent trip to Capitol Reef we found quite a few fun things to do near this Utah National Park. We love finding unique spots in Utah that are a little less traveled, and the area around Capitol Reef fits that description. So here is our list of Things to do Near Capitol Reef National Park.

Scenic Highway 12

We highly recommend driving Scenic Highway 12. You can drive all the way from Capitol Reef to Bryce Canyon. If you are just visiting Capitol Reef, then we recommend driving up to the Larb Hollow overlook and then back to Torrey. The overlook offers a beautiful look at the Capitol Reef area, and we love going from red rocks to the high alpine trees.

Circle Cliff Ranch Alpaca Farm

Located near Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon and Goblin Valley, this arch is a neat little hike. It is a steep climb up the slick rock, but you will love the huge alcove where the arch is found. And there won’t be very many people on the trail.

Schedule a personal visit to the Circle Cliff Ranch Alpaca Farm. This little farm is located right outside of Capitol Reef, and the owners are amazing. They taught us about alpacas and let our boys feed them and play farmer for a little bit. This was one of our favorite stops on our trip.

Moonscape Overlook

This overlook is amazing!! It truly feels like you are looking at the surface of the moon. You will need good clearance to travel out to this viewpoint, but we did make it in our mini van.

Bentonite Hills at Mars Desert Research Station

The striped rocks near the Mars Desert Research Station are beautiful. They are best viewed at sunrise and sunset to get the best colors. Another dirt road, but easier than the Moonscape.

Temple of the Sun and Moon (and Glass Mountain)

These amazing rock features are technically in Capitol Reef National Park, but they are often overlooked because they are 16 miles off the main road. Driving down this dirt road was a fun adventure, and we enjoyed Glass Mountain almost as much as the large rock temples.

Goblin Valley

This spot is the busiest on our list, but it is such a fun state park, that we usually pair Goblin Valley and Capitol Reef together. You can camp or just visit for the day (it’s about an hour from Capitol Reef). Our boys love exploring and playing games among all the hoodoos. Make sure to add this to your list.

Little Wild Horse Canyon

little wild horse canyon

This is another popular spot, but if you hike in the morning you should miss most of the crowds. This slot canyon is beautiful and very family friendly. We love that you can hike as far as you want and then turn around and head back to the car. Little Wild Horse is right by Goblin Valley.

Wild Horse Window

Wild Horse Window is also located right by Goblin Valley. This trail hikes across the slick rock to this interesting hole in the rock, which looks like a window!

Anasazi State Park

This state park is located in Boulder along scenic Highway 12, and is only about 50 minutes from Capitol Reef. It is a small historical state park, but our boys enjoyed seeing the ruins and participating in the Junior Ranger Program. If you head down this way, you might consider doing some adventures in Escalante.

Fish Lake

This is a beautiful spot about an hour away from Capitol Reef. We visited in the fall and saw the salmon swimming upstream, walked along the edge of the lake, and did some fishing and kayaking. It would be a great spot to visit in the summer to cool off because it is so high in elevation.


If you are looking for a great restaurant near Capitol Reef, we recommend Slacker’s in Torrey. They have great burgers and ice cream. We also love Stan’s Burger Shak in Hanksville. This spot has a big variety. If you explore a little further out, Tamarisk Restaurant in Green River has a lot of choices and was delicious.

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