Hippie Hikes

Upper Muley Twist Canyon | Capital Reef National Park

Easily the best and most diverse hike in Capital Reef National Park and one of the top 5 best hikes in all of Utah. Along this 9 mile trail you'll explore slot canyons, natural arches, and a hundred-mile-long Waterpocket Fold amongst many other jaw-dropping geological features.

14.8 Miles | Loop | Moderate

5,800 - 6,600 ft. gain | Not Dog Friendly

4WD road to trailhead

dirt road leading to trailhead, parking available here

Saddle Arch

indian paintbrush


First Arch

Last push up to the Waterfold Pocket

following the bottom of the desert canyon

following the bottom of the desert canyon

petrified sand dunes

tarantula and swap mesa

waterfold pocket | strike valley

following the slickrock ridge

From the trailhead this hike is a 9.4 mile loop but if you are driving in an ordinary car you will need to find a parking spot when you see the sign advising only 4WD vehicles. This will add 4.8 miles to your total hiking time. When I did this hike we turned it into an overnighter and parked before the trailhead doing the 9.4 plus 4.8 making 14.2 miles total.

There is no developed trail but is pretty easy to follow and when the trail seems to disappear keep your eyes open for cairns which will easily keep you on track. Most of the trail follows the bottom of a desert canyon where you will get to enjoy many views of different natural arches. After getting out of the bottom of the canyon you will start climbing up the slickrock where you will be able to see the Waterfold Pocket. This wrinkle in the earth’s crust is truly magnificent. The wrinkle will be on one side with Tarantula and Swap Mesa beyond and Wingate Formation that houses all the arches previously seen. Scrambling up to this view was the most difficult part where I had lost the trail but if you don’t see a cairn for a minute or two make sure to retrace your steps until your back on track. It’s also very important to carry water in this area as there is no water in the canyon at all.

Tip: Get a free overnight permit at either the Capital Reef NP visitor center or Escalante park service. Turning this into an overnight gives you extra time to explore the slot canyons near the halfway point of the hike.

Hippie Hikes © 2016

Explore Similar Hikes