Capitol Reef National Park is a place of spectacular beauty; it has so many areas of special, natural wonder. Unfortunately, very few people get to visit these special places. In an effort to make these hidden treasures known to the public, we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch have created this blog series to highlight the best-unknown places of Capitol Reef. Watch for new “Special Places” posts. This blog focuses on Burro Wash.
Burro Wash is one of the best slot canyons in Capitol Reef National Park. It becomes extremely narrow in places (much like the slot canyon systems in Zion National Park) and usually requires the hiker to wade or swim through standing pools. It is a strenuous route, and should be attempted only by experienced hikers. However, if you are up for the challenge, Burro Wash is not to be missed.
Burro Wash is located in the Waterpocket Fold, on the Notom-Bullfrog Road 9 miles south of Highway 24. Park at the trailhead.
Follow the streambed for about a mile and a half, until you enter the canyon. It will swiftly become much narrower. There are several side slots and crevices to explore as you continue into the main slot canyon. (There are usually markers in the canyon, but be sure to bring a map and compass, and know how to use them.) About four miles up the canyon you will find yourself underneath a 30-foot dryfall. Most people head back at this point. But if you have the gear and skills, you can continue past this blockage by backtracking and climbing to the top of the Waterpocket Fold above the canyon.
Be sure to bring all the necessary safety equipment. And pack plenty of water. Have fun in one Capitol Reef’s best narrows: Burro Wash.