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A gentle climb leads to panoramic views of the Cathedrals and the Cathedral Valley.


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Map Key

2.4

Miles

3.9

KM

94%

Runnable

6,726' 2,050 m

High

6,414' 1,955 m

Low

313' 95 m

Up

313' 95 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

14%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Geological Significance · Views · Wildlife

Overview

A quick ascent leads to a gentle climb along the edge of a bench alongside a line of cathedrals. The trail ends on top of a small hill with commanding views.

Runner Notes

A manageable tread and easy grade make this a lovely out-and-back option with rewarding views.

Description

From the parking area, this out-and-back run climbs moderately to the top of the bench that separates the Morrell Cabin drainage from the Cathedrals to the north.

Once on the bench, the grade is gentle as the trail passes through open grassland. After a half mile, the path runs along the edge of the mesa for an excellent view of the Cathedrals lined up to the north.

Look closely at the cathedrals and you might guess the cause behind this fascinating geology. You'll see capstones make of tan-colored Curtis Formation on top, protecting the underlying Entrada mudstone, which is weaker, from weathering. Notice the largest cathedral to the left; it has the biggest cap of Curtis sandstone. The one next to it has less of a capstone, and is therefore a smaller tower. Look around to find two more cathedrals that have lost their capstones, and have consequently suffered much more erosion.

Beyond this point, the path is flanked by numerous piñon pines and Utah juniper. After wandering among the tress and boulders, it reaches another point on the edge, where the view back to the east is especially good, and the thin profile of the Cathedrals is revealed. There are several nicely-framed views for photographers, along with fluted cliffs in the background.

The trail culminates on top of a small hill. Here you'll get another of the panoramic vistas that are so prevalent in Capitol Reef National Park. You can see the tops of the Henry Mountains on the horizon, the impressive road switchbacks leading to the campground, and distant plateaus flanked by sheer cliffs.

The journey back down to the trailhead is just as pleasant as the stroll up, and makes an excellent run in the afternoon for those staying at the campground.

Flora & Fauna

Piñon and Utah juniper are plentiful alongside the trail.

Contacts

Shared By:

Hunter R with improvements by C Webster

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes

#4026

Overall
  4.0 from 2 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#234

in Utah

#4,026

Overall
2 Views Last Month
1,375 Since Aug 30, 2016
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

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Photos

Cathedral Valley, Capitol Reef National Park
Mar 31, 2020 near Loa, UT
Cathedral Valley, Capitol Reef National Park
Mar 31, 2020 near Loa, UT

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