The defining geological feature of Capitol Reef National Park is the Waterpocket Fold. This 100-mile exposed fault causes much of the park to tilt higher to the west and lower in the east, and amazing layers of rock are exposed on the western face. There are some good views of the fold on the short Scenic Drive, and magnificent views are available to visitors who want to make the 100-mile loop trip south to the Strike Valley Overlook and the Burr Trail. A great perspective on the fold is available on a moderate hike to Chimney Rock, close to Fruita and the Fruita Campground.
This trail is a somewhat challenging hike up to the top of and around the Mummy Cliffs. After a short, flat lead-in, the trail quickly climbs up a steep slope with Chimney Rock on the right. Hikers should take a good look, because in spite of the trail's name, Chimney Rock won't come back into view until nearly the end of the hike when taking the loop clockwise. Once you have reached the top of the saddle at the half-mile point, the trail heads down toward the Spring Canyon junction nearly a mile away. Great rock formations and cliffs make this part of the hike pleasant. After the junction the trail climbs to the very edge of the Mummy Cliffs and provides more spectacular views to the south after every turn. Once at the top, the trail levels out and allows the hiker to take in the views to the south, west, and north. Chimney Rock comes back into view near the end of the loop as the trail heads back down the slope to the trailhead.
This is a great hike to do before sunset when crowds are lighter and there is great lighting for photographs. It is just a half-mile drive from the parking lot down to Panorama Point, the Goosenecks, and Sunset Point to catch the last rays of the day.