Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
779.00 ft (237.44 m)
Trail type
11.88 mi (19.12 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Lower Spring Canyon is a spectacular hike located within Capitol Reef National Park. If you are looking for a long day hike this is an excellent option. It is also very possible to overnight this trail. Either way you’ll experience a stunning canyon landscape and a surprising amount of solitude for a hike within a national park. The hike is just shy of 12 miles one way. Unless you want to double that millage and hike back, you’ll need to arrange a shuttle or hitchhike (it should be an easy hitch) back to the trailhead.

For the majority of this route you’ll follow the sandy/gravely wash as it depends slightly down Lower Spring Canyon. The hiking is fairly easy, although the sandy terrain will provide a calf workout. It should go without saying, but do not attempt this hike if the weather is bad or threatening. Flash floods are a very real possibility and you don’t want to be out here when one happens!

Beginning from the Chimney Rock Trailhead you’ll have a short but steep initial climb. This is essentially the only climb of the hike. Stay left at the junction at the top of this climb. Continue hiking to the next junction where you’ll also stay left.

The hike now follows the beautiful Chimney Rock Canyon gently downhill until it meets up with Lower Spring Canyon. The stunning high canyon walls are a sight to behold.

About 4 miles into the hike you’ll come to the “narrows” section. Feel free to venture down and explore a bit, but to get past you’ll need to follow the “bypass” that takes off to the left. This user trail is easy to spot and takes you up and to the left of the narrows. A few portions traverse steep terrain with only a narrow footpath to follow. Use caution and take your time here. The “bypass” then descends back down to the wash below the narrows where more stunning canyon terrain awaits.

As you work your way through the latter half of Lower Spring Canyon the terrain will eventually open up and more vegetation and trees can be found. If planning on camping I’d recommend looking for a campsite in this area. Down canyon from here there may also be pools of water (most likely in the spring, drying up by summer). These pools may also be frozen during colder months.

As you approach the end of the hike the canyon becomes brushy. The final obstacle is to cross the Fremont River. There is no footbridge here, but it is an easy ford (shin deep) most of the time. The crossing can be extremely dangerous if the river is flooding, but hiking the canyon during periods of bad weather is off the table anyway so this shouldn’t be an issue.

After crossing you’ll come out to Highway 24 and the end of your journey.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Stunning scenery. Solitude.


Trail is sand/fine gravel for most of duration. Need to shuttle or hitch back to trailhead.

Trailhead Elevation

6,047.00 ft (1,843.13 m)

Highest point

6,327.00 ft (1,928.47 m)


Vault toilet
Backcountry camping
Geologically significant
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah


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