Trip Number: 13080A
Staff: Jeffrey Black
- Explore magnificent canyons, natural arches, and bridges
- Complete a challenging project with satisfaction and pride
- Enjoy exceptional photographic opportunities in magnificent scenery
- All meals and work equipment
- Most dinners in restaurants
- Hiking with an experienced leader knowledgeable about avifauna and flowers
Photo: Esta Brand
Unfortunately, this trip has been cancelled. If you
have questions, please
Capitol Reef National Park is located in south-central Utah, approximately
halfway between two of our most popular national parks, Arches and Zion. Because
of its remote, off-the-beaten-path location, it is Utah's least-visited national
park. The Waterpocket Fold, an almost 100-mile long crest of slickrock, resembles
a low but incredibly rugged mountain range, cleaving south-central Utah in two.
A single paved road crosses the Reef along the Fremont River canyon, while gravel
and dirt roads parallel both sides of the Fold. Trails and hiking routes lead
to arches, potholes, overlooks, innumerable slot canyons, and tortuous narrows.
In the 1880s, a few families established the village of Fruita at the junction
of the Fremont River and Sulphur Creek. They planted orchards, which today still
remain. In the 1920s, efforts commenced to establish a national monument to
encourage tourism and preserve the spectacular country, and in 1937 the area
around Fruita became 37,060-acre Capitol Reef National Monument. Residents didn't
leave Fruita until the 1960s, and in 1971, the entire length of the Waterpocket
Fold was added to the small original monument to create Capitol Reef National
Expect an early-to-bed and early-wake-up routine -- our days will be long and
bountiful. You will find that there is not enough time to see and do everything.
We shall have two full days of hiking, likely Sunday and Wednesday, and four
full days of work
Our project, as currently planned, will be to undertake the removal of Russian
olive trees -- a non-native species introduced from the Mediterranean area of
Europe. The trees, which can have sharp thorns and grow to 10 to 15 feet, are
found only in riparian habitats and are clogging the canyons and river courses
throughout the Southwest. Its plant characteristics are such that native plants
find it difficult to grow; additionally, they “steal” much needed
water from the rivers and creeks along which they grow. We shall be working
with, and under the supervision of, the Park's resource management staff. We
are scheduled to work four days along the Fremont River corridor. It is possible
that we may spend one day working in another part of the Park; it is also possible
that we may be asked to engage in other projects as well.
Photo: Esta Brand
All trip participants are expected to arrive at the campground in Capitol Reef
by 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 11. After setting up camp, introductions, an orientation,
and dinner will follow. Sunday and Wednesday are our scheduled off days, and
hikes will be planned; the specific hikes will be determined upon arrival, but
trip members can expect to be walking in a creek on one of our hikes. Last year
the water reached our ankles. The hikes will average 6 to 8 miles, and on one
day there will be 1,000 to 1,500 feet of climbing. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday,
and Friday are our scheduled work days, and specifics about these days will
be provided upon arrival.
The group will meet Saturday evening, as previously mentioned. Capitol Reef
is located about 225 miles from Salt Lake City, the closest major airport. Drivers
should allow about five hours for the drive (the roads are good, the scenery
wonderful, but many of the highways are single lane). Las Vegas is an alternative,
but is over 300 miles from the Park. The town of Torrey is en route to the Park,
and has lodging, restaurants, and gas stations. Each trip member is responsible
for making travel arrangements to the trip’s starting point. You will
receive a trip roster to assist in coordinating the sharing of rental cars,
which is highly recommended.
Accommodations and Food
We shall be camping in the Capitol Reef group campground, which has flush toilets,
water, sinks. The trip leader has been told that our hosts also will provide
a camp shower. Each trip member is responsible for his or her own camping gear.
The first meal will be dinner on Saturday, our arrival day. The last meal will
be breakfast on Saturday the 18th; any remaining food will be distributed. Most
dinners will be in restaurants. Meals (breakfast and lunches) will be prepared
by participants under the guidance and with the assistance of the leaders. The
menu will have a vegetarian slant, and all cooking gear will be provided. Please
bring your own personal eating utensils, bowl, cup, etc. During the week, we
shall be following the guidelines of the LNT (Leave No Trace) ethic, particularly
while we are working and hiking.
Photo: Esta Brand
This trip is rated Moderate due to the difficult terrain, altitude (4,000'-6,000'),
likely high daytime temperatures, and the nature of removing Russian olive trees.
On our hikes there may be some degree of exposure on high-angled talus or sandstone
On our trail work days, plan to work a six- to seven-hour day. The removal
of Russian olive trees can be strenuous work under a hot sun (no power tools
are permitted), but you won't be asked to do more than your capabilities. The
health and safety of all trip members are of paramount concern to the leader.
You are asked to bring a good pair of work gloves. Our hosts will provide all
tools and equipment.
All participants should be in excellent health and physical condition. Should
you apply for this trip, plan on preparing yourself with regular aerobic exercise
several months in advance. Trekking poles (at least one) are strongly recommended
for our day hikes.
Equipment and Clothing
The Outings Committee Equipment List (included in your reservation confirmation
packet) can serve as a rough guide for what to bring. Camping gear should include:
sleeping bag, sleeping pad and ground cloth; adequate shelter from rain (a tent
is required); and comfortable, broken-in, lug-soled hiking boots (above the
ankle) suited to our work project and our hikes.
The weather can be warm by day (70F to 90F) and cool at night (45F to 55F).
While the weather is usually dry at this time, showers and even sandstorms can
occur. Winter clothing is unnecessary, but a light to medium sweater or equivalent
and rain gear should be carried. Windy days are not uncommon.
For hiking in the desert sun at this time of the year, lightweight clothes
are advised. Bring a change of socks and light footwear for evening in camp.
You should carry a first-aid kit with your own medications and personal needs
(moleskin, bandages, Advil, etc.). Other important items are a hat, sunglasses,
sunscreen, lip balm, and a lightweight flashlight with new batteries and new
bulb. The extensive first-aid kit carried by the leader is reserved for emergencies.
Optional but popular items include a camera with plenty of film (check the
camera battery before you depart), a book to read, a trip journal, a wildflower
guide, and lightweight binoculars.
Photo: Esta Brand
- Capitol Reef, the Story Behind the Scenery. (Las Vegas: KC Publications,
- Abbey, Edward, Desert Solitaire.
- Houk, Rose, Capitol Reef: Canyon Country Eden. (Capitol Reef Natural
- The Sierra Club Guide to the National Parks of the Desert Southwest.
(Stewart, Tabori, and Chang)
- Adkison, Rod, Utah's National Parks. (Wilderness Press)
For additional resource materials, write to Capitol Reef Natural History Association,
Torrey UT 84775.
Sierra Club National Outings is an equal-opportunity provider and will operate
under permits from the Escalante Interagency Office and Capitol Reef National
See the How to Apply for an Outing section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation Policy.
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
Jeffrey Black has been leading trips in the southwest -- camping trips, backpack trips, service trips -- for nearly 20 years. In 2011, he led a service trip to Ramsey Canyon Nature Preserve in southeast Arizona. Last year, he led a base camp trip to Capitol Reef and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. He lives in Berkeley, California and considers himself an outdoor enthusiast with interests in hiking, cycling, flowers, birds, and protecting the wilderness. He also is an excellent cook, and has over 20 chocolate cake recipes.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips