Jax overlooking Chimney Rock

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Chimney Rock and Canyon - Capitol Reef

  • Distance 11.12 km
  • Time 3 h 18 min
  • Speed 4.0 km/h
  • Min altitude 1790 m
  • Peak 2033 m
  • Climb 870 m
  • Descent 872 m
June 21, 2018 1:20 am
Earlier start this morning to avoid the heat, planned to finish by noon. I made up a bowl of fresh fruit to take with us for a late breakfast rather than having something in the camp site. We had chosen Chimney Rock as our last hike in Capitol Reef as it sounded delightful from the write up in our guide book. We were not disappointed.

From some aspects Chimney Rock looks as though it is a standalone stack, comprised of horizontal rock bands (sequences of mudstone, siltstone and limestone) capped by a harder creamy rock.  However, this is a bit of an illusion as when one walks round the loop it is evident the outcrop is still attached to the surrounding cliffs and is a prominent fin.

Cliffs and rock buttress from Chimney Rock ridge

The circular loop trail quickly climbed via a series of switchbacks up about 600 feet to a scenic trail traversing the edge of top of the  ‘Chimney ridge’. This trail provided expansive views of the surrounding area to the south of R24 including Sulphur Creek and the goosenecks overlooking Sulphur Canyon, as well as the cliff line running parallel to R24. Great to be doing this early in the morning when the light and shadows on the rocks were beautiful and it was nice and cool. Noticed how the desert glaze on the red cliff faces glistened in the early light.

We had decided to extend our hike along Chimney Rock Canyon which leads to Spring Creek, a trail we had initially wanted to hike but decided against it due to the need to arrange a shuttle or hitch a lift. Chimney Rock Canyon was delightful, we found a place in the shade to enjoy our fruit at the start of the Canyon and then hiked down it for about 2 miles, in and out of shade marvelling at the sheer cliff walls, interesting twists and turns of the canyon and beautiful colours in the rocks.

View from trailhead

All too too soon we reached the trail junction with Spring Creek and on a cooler day would have continued our hike, probably up the upper trail. However, we made the right decision as it was notable that on our way back the shady areas were fewer and the Canyon temperatures had started to rise. It was a relief to get out of the Canyon and rejoin the loop trail where we benefited from a cooling breeze on the hike back to Big White Beastie.

Quick drive up to the Goosenecks viewing point to look down on the tree where we had stood and waved up to ‘spectators’ a couple of days before. Nice feeling of symmetry.

Went out for dinner to a local steakhouse, one of our rare meals out. It was very good and a nice way to celebrate our holiday.

See below a video of our hike followed by a compilation of our photos

Compilation of photos, press play to view