Your Safety

A rappeller with hard hat moves with a metal basket for patients down a cliff.

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When hiking, climbing, or driving, your safety depends on your good judgment, adequate preparation, and constant awareness. Your safety is your responsibility.

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Steep Cliffs & Slick Conditions

Falls from cliffs on trails can result in death. Loose sand or pebbles on stone are very slippery. Be careful of edges when using cameras or binoculars. Never throw or roll rocks. There may be hikers below you. Learn more about hiking safely.

  • Stay on the trail.
  • Stay back from cliff edges.
  • Observe posted warnings.
  • Please watch children and keep them close.
  • Avoid narrow canyons when storms are threatening.
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The desert is an extreme environment. Carry enough water, one gallon per person per day. Drinking water is available at the visitor center, picnic area, and campground. Do not drink untreated water. Do no drink water from the sprinklers.

Flash Floods

Flash floods can be caused by run-off from intense, localized thunderstorms that drop a large amount of rain over a short period of time. They are most common in July, August, and September, but can occur at any time of the year. Check the visitor center for current weather conditions, and look at the forecast before you hike in canyons. Learn more about Monsoon Safety.

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Capitol Reef's roads are used by vehicles, bicycles, walkers, and even wildlife. Obey posted speed limits. Unless otherwise posted, the maximum speed limit is 25 mph (radar enforced).

  • Seat belts or child safety seats are required for all occupants in a vehicle, and failure to use them is a primary offense in the park.
  • Don't drink and drive. For your safety, rangers enforce laws against alcohol and drug-related driving offenses, including open container violations.
  • To protect the park's vegetation, please park in designated or posted areas only.
  • Check at the visitor center for weather conditions. Even small amounts of precipitation can make roads completely impassable.
drawing of person climbing on rope

Canyoneering & Rock Climbing

Canyoneering and rock climbing (permits required) are inherently dangerous activities. Groups should fully research the intended route and be prepared for unknown obstacles. Many canyons require full commitment once started and escape is often not possible.

  • Know the latest weather information. Be familiar with the terrain and know your escape routes. Deadly flash flood waters can travel from many miles away with travel times of 10 hours or more. Don’t enter slot canyons or rugged terrain during stormy or wet weather. Sandstone can become weak when wet.
  • Consider your group’s experience and skill level before selecting and entering any canyon. Groups can overestimate their abilities and become delayed or stuck.
  • Notify a friend or family member of your plans before leaving.
  • Rescue resources in a canyon environment can be limited and groups may be forced to self-rescue. Many canyoneering routes are in remote, seldom-visited areas with no cell phone service.
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Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses more fluid than is taken in. Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Pale appearance
  • Stomach cramps
  • Cool, clammy skin

If a member of your party begins to experience any of these symptoms, stop your hike immediately. Find a cool, shady area and have the person rest with their feet up to distribute fluids throughout their body. It is important to drink fluids, but it is also important to eat. While suffering from heat exhaustion, drinking fluids without eating can lead to a potentially dangerous condition of low blood salt. If heat exhaustion symptoms persist, seek medical help.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is an advanced stage of heat exhaustion. It is the body's inability to cool itself. Symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Behavioral changes
  • Seizures

If you believe that a member of your party is suffering from heat stroke, it is imperative to cool them using any available means and obtain immediate medical assistance.

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Hypothermia occurs when the body is cooled to dangerous levels. To prevent hypothermia, avoid cotton clothing (it provides no insulation when wet) and eat high energy food before you are chilled. The signs of hypothermia include:

  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • Stumbling and poor coordination
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion or slurred speech

If you recognize any of these signs, stop hiking and immediately replace wet clothing with dry clothing. Warm the victim with your own body and a warm drink, and shelter the individual from breezes. A pre-warmed sleeping bag will also prevent further heat loss.

drawing of stick figure climbing tree, red circle with line around it


Hand-held fruit pickers and ladders are provided to aid in picking. Never climb the trees to pick fruit! Be sure the ladder is on firm, level ground with the third leg fully extended and the chains pulled tight. Do not stand on the top three rungs and avoid leaning to either side while picking. Children should not use ladders unsupervised.

symbol of a handgun


Firearms are permitted in Capitol Reef National Park. As of February 22, 2010, a federal law allows people who can legally possess firearms under federal, Utah, and local laws, to possess firearms in the park. It is the visitor's responsibility to understand and comply with all applicable Utah local and federal firearm laws. If you have questions please contact the park at (435) 425-3791 or visit Laws & Policies for more information. Firearms are not permitted inside federal buildings. The discharge, display, brandishing or any indiscriminate use of firearms (including hunting) within the park is strictly prohibited.


Learn More about Having a Safe Visit!

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    Last updated: February 17, 2023

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    HC 70, Box 15
    Torrey, UT 84775


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