Post Cutoff Trail
ElevationAscent: 630' 192 m
Descent: -189' -58 m
High: 5,489' 1,673 m
Low: 4,861' 1,482 m
GradeAvg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 27% (15°)
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“A short cutoff trail with plenty of steep sections and some notable exposure.”— Eric Ashley
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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Land Manager: NPS - Capitol Reef National Park