Hikes National Parks/Monuments

Grand Wash in Capitol Reef

grand wash capitol reef
(Last Updated On: May 12, 2018)

Grand Wash is one of the most overlooked hikes in Capitol Reef National Park. Most people opt for Hickman Bridge or Cassidy Arch, which are great hikes, too, but we really enjoyed Grand Wash because it was flat, easy, and shady in the morning.

We hiked Grand Wash in the morning and there were sections of shade from the tall walls!

Hike Info

  • Rating: Easy
  • Distance: 2.2 miles oneway, but hike as far as you’d like
  • Elevation Gain: 200 feet
  • Fees: None
  • Tips: We recommend hiking from the Highway 24 side through the narrows, and then turn around and come back. It worked well for our family.

Grand Wash Trail begins and ends on different roads, so it could easily be done as a shuttle. We decided to do it as an out-and-back because we only had one vehicle. The trail runs from the same trailhead with Cassidy Arch over to Highway 24, where there is a pull out off the main highway.

The hike starts right off the main highway. Look for this sign!

The hike through Grand Wash is about 2.2 miles one way. We chose to start on the Highway 24 end and hike into the wash for around a mile and a half. This took us into the section called The Narrows, which is what we really wanted to see. The Narrows is like a slot canyon, but it never gets down to a squeeze. This is probably a good thing, because there are a fair amount of hikers using the trail.

The Grand Wash starts out pretty wide and out in the open.

After about a 1/2 mile of hiking, it begins to narrow.

The narrows aren’t super skinny like a true slot canyon, but the hike is nice and beautiful.

We loved the towering walls as we hiked. They make you feel so small.

The walls of the canyon are beautiful as you hike along, and our boys found dozens of places to explore. The rock is honeycombed with holes, and they wanted to take a picture in each one. In a few places, there are places to climb and explore, including a few natural arches and small grottos. The best part of the hike is that we took it slow with no particular destination in mind, and then we turned around when we’d had enough.

There is sand to play in right by the parking area.

Lots of places to climb into small holes.

There was even a little arch to see!

We found lots of small caves to explore.

Watch for this opening as you hike. Another arch!

Grand Wash is perfect for all abilities because it is simple and easy. You choose how far you want to hike and where you want to start. It says that there is a 200 foot elevation gain, but we didn’t notice any change at all. The trail is rocky and sandy since you are walking through the wash, but the towering walls are stunning as you hike along. For more family friendly hikes in Capitol Reef, check out our Capitol Reef Kid Hikes post.

We really enjoyed hiking through Grand Wash.

Directions

Grand Wash Trail can be started in two spots. One is from the Cassidy Arch Trailhead which is found on the Scenic Drive in Capitol Reef National Park. Take the Grand Wash Road to the end and park at the trailhead. The hike is 2.2 miles over to Highway 24.

The other trailhead is found on Highway 24 about 2.6 miles east of the Visitor Center. There is a sign and a small pull out for parking. This is the side that we hiked from.

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