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Post Cutoff Trail



1.9 mile 3.0 kilometer point to point
81% Runnable


Ascent: 630' 192 m
Descent: -189' -58 m
High: 5,489' 1,673 m
Low: 4,861' 1,482 m


Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 27% (15°)


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Trail shared by Eric Ashley

A short cutoff trail with plenty of steep sections and some notable exposure.

Eric Ashley

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Runner Notes

Challenging footwork and an area of hazardous exposure suggest this isn't the best option for running.


Visitors embarking on this trail will either encounter the trailhead from its departure from the Post Trailhead or from its departure from the Lower Muley Twist Canyon Trail as part of the Lower Muley Twist Canyon Run. Mapped here, the trail leaves from the parking area via a short jaunt on the Halls Creek Drainage.

After a short warm up, this trail will begin to climb a steep fin of Navajo sandstone. While the tread is mostly good, some visitors may be unsettled by the level of exposure apparent on the ascent. Use caution, but know that the next half mile will be the most difficult portion of the journey, and that the rest of the trail is fairly relaxed.

As you continue up the first fin, you’ll eventually reach the top. From there, the exposure is significantly less, and you’ll get a respite from the steady incline. You’ll continue moving over the slick rock of the Navajo formation, following regularly spaced cairns that will mark your way. Have no fear when the trail turns to the north, as you’ll avoid a second fin of sandstone before continuing on.

Soon after passing this second fin, some visitors may be relieved to find themselves at the end of the slick rock and back in a sandy wash. You’ll enjoy rolling terrain from this point to the trail’s end, so be sure to look up and around you once in a while. The route passes through an area rich in fish-hook cacti, and you’ll also see plenty of prickly pear cacti.

Continue along the sandy wash until nearing the end of the Lower Muley Canyon. This last portion of trail will offer you a bit of thrill as a parting gift, and there will be a bit of exposure, and some steeper slopes just before the trail comes to an end.

This content was contributed by author Rick Stinchfield. For a comprehensive running guide to Capitol Reef National Park and to see more by Rick, click here.

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Apr 5, 2018
Joel Lira
Follow cairns or you’ll get lost. Elevated quickly and shaky footing, more walking than running. Water after before heading in the gulch. 2.3mi

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  4.0 from 3 votes
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in Utah


8 Views Last Month
379 Since Sep 2, 2016



Waterpocket Fold from the Post Cutoff Trail. with permission from walkaboutwest *No Commercial Use
Sep 2, 2016 near Escalante, UT
White sandstone contours along the Post Cutoff Trail. with permission from AcrossUtah
Sep 2, 2016 near Escalante, UT
Post Corral in Grand Gulch from the Post Cutoff Trail.
Feb 17, 2019 near Escalante, UT
The Post Cutoff Trail can be easy to miss since the sign is only visible when you approach it from the south.
Feb 17, 2019 near Escalante, UT
Post Cutoff Trail through Waterpocket Fold. with permission from walkaboutwest *No Commercial Use
Sep 8, 2016 near Escalante, UT


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