The awesome views make a great reward for the runner who is willing to tackle the fairly constant grades over terrain that is sometimes slick.
The Rim Overlook Trail and Navajo Knobs Trail
follow the same route from the intersection with the Hickman Bridge
Trail. The Rim Overlook is reached at about the midway point on the longer run to Navajo Knobs. From the heavily traveled Hickman Bridge
Trail, begin climbing along wide Kayenta ledges, often on slickrock. The ascent to the spectacular views at the Rim Overlook is relieved by a few stretches of nearly level ground as the path contours around side drainages.
The four flats before the rim are pleasant interludes during both the ascent and descent. At the top of the climb after the first flat, runners will notice a close-by exposure of Navajo Sandstone. Following the second flat, the route runs right up a Kayenta ledge at a moderate grade. The way is marked by cairns and the faint remnants of paint. The series of short flats and longer climbs continues for the final mile to the Rim Overlook.
The overlook offers spectacular views to east, south, west, and below. The degree to which the latter can be enjoyed depends upon the viewer’s tolerance of heights, but anyone can take in the more distant vistas without approaching the cliff edge. In any case, pay attention before moving around - it is a long drop to the canyon floor. From there, either continue along the Navajo Knobs Trail
or head back to trailhead. During the late afternoon, the return run provides nearly constant views of the Navajo domes and Fremont River canyon to the east, all nicely lighted with sharp shadows for contrast.
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