The Grand Wash is one of Capitol Reef's most scenic and most accessible hikes. The canyon's 500-foot tall sandstone walls tower over the tiny hikers below. Canyons like these are formed by rushing water that wears away at the rock. Capitol Reef receives only about 7 inches of rainfall per year; imagine the incredible erosive power of flash floods that churn through small cracks in the rock. Each successive flooding event creates deeper and larger cracks until entire canyons are formed.
Keep this fact in mind before heading out for a hike through the Grand Wash Trail. Today, it is still prone to dangerous flash floods. It's hard to believe that the entire canyon bottom could be covered in swirling, flowing water when you see it on a dry, sunny day. Check the weather forecast and watch for any warning signs at the trailhead before stepping foot into the canyon.
This hike can be done as a one-way with a car shuttle from the southern trailhead up to Highway 24 or as a there-and-back hike from either trailhead to The Narrows and back.