Adventures in the Torrey Area

Adventures begin with good planning! From Day Hikes to Back Country hikes, horseback riding, and fly-fishing.

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Day Hikes

In the Fruita area, there are 15 day-hiking trails with trail heads located along Utah Hwy. 24 and the Scenic Drive. These trails offer the hiker a wide variety of options, from easy strolls along smooth paths over level ground to strenuous hikes involving steep climbs over uneven terrain near cliff edges. Hikes may take you deep into a narrow gorge, to the top of high cliffs for a bird's eye view of the surrounding area, under a natural stone arch, to historic inscriptions...and much, much more! Round trip distances vary in length from less than 1/4 mile to 10 miles. All trails are well-marked with signs at the trail head and at trail junctions and by cairns (stacks of rocks) along the way. A free guide to the trails is available at the visitor center.  Some trails have self-guiding brochures which are available, for a nominal fee, at the trail head or at the visitor center.


Back Country Hikes

Capitol Reef offers many hiking options for serious backpackers and those who enjoy exploring remote areas. Marked hiking routes lead into narrow, twisting gorges and slot canyons and to spectacular viewpoints high atop the Waterpocket Fold. Popular back country hikes in the southern section of the park include Upper and Lower Muley Twist Canyons and Halls Creek. Back country hiking opportunities also exist in the Cathedral Valley area and near Fruita...the possibilities are endless! Stop in the visitor center and talk to a ranger if you are interested in a back country hike. They can help you pick out a hike that will fit your time and abilities. If you plan to take an overnight hike, you need to obtain a free back country permit at the visitor center prior to your trip. Back country group size cannot exceed 12 people.



After a leisurely tour of the museum displays in the Visitor Center, take a walk along the "Petroglyph Pullout" on Utah Hwy 24, 1 1/2 miles east of the Visitor Center. Petroglyphs and pictographs, the so-called "rock art" of prehistoric peoples, have long held a special fascination for young and old alike. From the parking area, a short path leads to the base of the Wingate Sandstone cliff. Visible from this viewpoint are some of the most interesting petroglyph panels at Capitol Reef (see photo above).

Please DO NOT attempt to climb the talus slope in front of you. Use a telephoto lens for close-up photographs. Rock art panels are very fragile and many have already been seriously damaged through vandalism, carelessness, or ignorance. DO NOT TOUCH ANY PETROGLYPHS OR PICTOGRAPHS. Each touch removes a few more sand grains from the rock surface. We need your cooperation to protect and preserve these treasures of the past.

The pathway that leads to the east parallels the base of the cliff for about 500 feet and provides an opportunity for easy viewing of additional examples of Fremont rock art.

The path is uneven and narrow in places and may become slippery when wet. There are shady places along the way so the walk is not unpleasant even at midday. Many of the petroglyphs visible from the path are badly weathered and difficult to spot, especially in certain lighting. There is no best time of day or year for viewing - lighting conditions change from hour to hour and sometimes from minute to minute, depending on the play of sunshine and shadow on the cliff face. Take your time, walk a short distance, stop and explore the sheer Windgate Sandstone cliff with your eyes. Then, go a bit further and repeat the process. The excitement and thrill of discovering a petroglyph panel for yourself is a major part of the enjoyment of petroglyph watching and will be a rich reward for your patience and effort.

About 500 feet down the path are the last petroglyphs along this section of the cliff: a large beautifully done image of a bighorn sheep and, on a large detached slab, the head and shoulders of a nearly life-size human figure. From this point, you can retrace your route, taking the left-hand fork in the path just before you reach the irrigation ditch crossing. This will bring you back to the parking area.

For unparalleled adventure in the Capitol Reef National Park area, check out these Outfitters:

Horseback trails

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Our incredible high mountain lakes coupled with off the beaten path small stream fishing makes southern Utah a fly-fishing destination you won't soon forget. Fremont River Guides has been fishing these waters for many years and will show you why our waters are some of the finest.  They are a full-service outfitter for Utah's rivers, and can arrange a fine experience for your group (

The Fremont River is the crown jewel of Utah's less traveled trophy-trout waters, and in some ways may be the most demanding dry fly finshing you will ever encounter. The experience of the Fremont's crystal clear slow moving water and lush riparian zones set against the stark contrast of the Red Rocks of Capitol Reef can seem surreal.  Here you will find some enormous Browns, Rainbows, Brookies, Cutthroat and Tiger Trout consistently rising to strong hatches of aquatic insects throughout the season. An angler will quickly see what makes the Fremont River, the Boulder Mountains, Fishlake Mountains, Thousand Lakes Mountain, Markagunt Plateau and other neighboring streams or lakes so sought after. Our guides can help you unlock the secrets of the area and teach you the necessary skills to succeed. Any fly angler that is able to learn the basics of fishing these waters will find that all other places become easier and more enjoyable to fish.

After a nice hot breakfast, our guides will meet you on the steps of the Torrey Schoolhouse for a short drive to many superb fishing waters.  The Fremont River runs through the town of Torrey and the Boulder Mountains (only 10 miles away).  We supply all the necessary equipment and terminal tackle for a day on the water.  We are a licensed and insured permittee of the Dixie and Fishlake National Forests as well as the BLM.  Our experienced guides will show you what fly fishing southern Utah really has to offer.  Dry-fly fishing various streams and rivers or casting to cruisers on a high mountain lake can be a reality here in Torrey.  (We have hosted several fly fishing television shows including the Fly Fishing Masters and Reel Outdoors on the Sportsman Channel.)

Our guides will pick you up at the Torrey Schoolhouse for daily trips to these local waters for half-day and full day excursions.  Call us now or visit our website for more information.

Fremont River Guides

Shawn Saunders