Traditionally, Capitol Reef National Park has experienced minimal use by technical rock climbers and boulderers. However, recent years have seen an increase in climbing in Utah's canyon country. Included here are the park regulations and concerns regarding technical climbing and bouldering.
The rock at Capitol Reef is comprised predominately of sandstone. It varies in hardness from the soft crumbly Entrada to the relatively hard Wingate. The Wingate cliff walls are the most popular for climbing, as natural fracturing has created many climbable crack systems. In addition, the hardness of the Wingate lends itself more readily to the successful use of chocks, nuts, and camming devices; however it can flake off easily and be very unpredictable. Climbing in canyon country is not something to be taken lightly.
Permits are required for climbing and bouldering. Free day-use permits can be obtained in person at the visitor center or via email. Please review all rules and regulations prior to filling out or requesting a permit. A separate permit is required for each climbing zone and for each day.
Email email@example.com for a climbing or bouldering permit. If climbing for multiple days, submit a separate email for each day. Use the following format:
Subject: Name of climbing zone and date you will be climbing. Email Body:
Date of visit (single day only):
Number of people:
Number of motorized vehicles:
If you plan to camp overnight on a climb, you are required to obtain a free backcountry use permit, available at the visitor center.
Information and Restrictions
Subject to flash flood closures.
Chimney Rock Canyon
The vertical surfaces of Chimney Rock are closed.
Subject to flash flood closures.
State Route 24
The section of cliffs and talus slopes north of State Route 24 between the Fruita Schoolhouse and the east end of the Petroglyph Panel is closed to entry.
Zone includes but is not limited to: Basketball wall, Fracture Zone, Ephraim Hanks Tower
Day-use permit is valid for general bouldering within the park. It is prohibited to climb on boulders with historic inscriptions, petroglyphs and pictographs (images carved or painted on rock).
Any other area
Restrictions and Concerns
Capitol Reef National Park is a clean climbing area. Minimum impact techniques that don't destroy the rock or leave a visual trail are required:
The use of white chalk is prohibited. Climbers and boulderers using chalk must use chalk that closely matches the color of the surrounding rock.
The use of power drills is prohibited.
No new climbing hardware may be installed and/or left in a fixed location. Bolts may only be used to replace existing unsafe bolts.
If an existing software item (sling, runner, etc.) is unsafe, it may be replaced.
Where it is necessary to leave or replace existing webbing, the webbing should be black or closely match the color of the surrounding rock.
Protection may not be placed with the use of a hammer except to replace existing belay and rappel anchors and bolts on existing routes, or for emergency self-rescue.
Physical alteration of rock faces is prohibited, such as chiseling, glue reinforcement of existing holds, trundling rocks, and gluing of new holds.
The intentional removal of lichen or plants from rocks is prohibited.
Ropes may not be left in place unattended for more than 24 hours, and these ropes must be out of reach from the ground or other points accessible without technical climbing.
These areas are closed to climbing and bouldering:
The section of cliffs north of highway 24 between the Fruita Schoolhouse and the east end of the petroglyph boardwalk.
Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon
It is prohibited to wrap webbing, or rappel off any arch with an opening greater than three feet.
Within 300 feet (91m) of an archeological site.
Within 1/4 mile (402m) of nesting eagles, hawks, or falcons.
Climbing during the summer is very hot as temperatures frequently reach the upper 90sºF (30s°C). Carry plenty of water. Afternoon thunderstorms are common in July and August. Sandstone is weak when wet, so avoid climbing in damp areas or right after a rain. Please climb safely! Many falls have been taken on relatively easy routes because experienced climbers became careless. Please report all accidents or injuries at the visitor center.
Recorded park information available 24 hours a day. Phones are answered when staff is available. If no one answers, please leave a message, your call will be returned. Questions may also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.