Humans do like giving names to things; their children, themselves, cars, cameras, where they live and in the case of the park here – rock formations. Not only is there the looming chimney rock itself but there is also a 3.5 mile trail with an elevation of 580 feet gain (over the elevation of 6,837 feet in nearby Torrey) with a 360 degree panorama view at the top. See here for more information about the trail.
There is a small parking lot at the start of the trail with rest rooms and a sign that tells you about the trail and the flora and fauna of the area which included gopher snakes. While we saw plenty of the lizards, trees and flowers no snakes were seen and frankly I was very good with that.
Sadly we didn’t take that hike and how I wish we had. I must confess that there were two trails (this one and another) with great views that for some reason or another we didn’t take. I take full responsibility for their omission as often I would be so excited by something else I’d forget about the trail or had worn myself out on another one and wanted to call it a day. I could kick myself for forgoing this trail but it gives me a reason to go back.
Chimney Rock is formed of sedimentary rock from the Moenkopi Formation formed during the Triassic period over 200 million years ago. I cannot begin to explain the geology and geological terms but that link from the geology department of the University of Utah explains it very well. I can just imagine my college geology professor shaking his head at me now.
Connected to Chimney Rock is Mummy Cliff shown below. Why it’s called that I cannot say but if you know please share the info!
Chimney rock did serve as the first spot from which we took our first ever Milky Way photos which was the main reason for our trip to Capitol Reef. We set up in the parking lot at 3:30 in the morning in the cold and practically pitch black with gear in hand and lights on heads to capture something so beautiful… which I will share in the next post.
In the lower left hand corner of the image below you can see some cars parked in Chimney Rock’s parking lot. We pulled over here across from Chimney Rock on our way to Fruita, Utah for this shot; just one of the many pull over spots in Utah and in the park that people can take photos from safely. Thanks, Utah!
We were going to go back the next night to go off the parking lot and into the desert a bit for better foreground interest for astrophotography but we missed the turn in the dark and ended up some place else. This is the spot we “planned” to take photos from with Chimney Rock and the dead tree for interest. Where we eventually set up for night two of shooting (because it had a bigger sign pointing it out) did turn out well and it’s where I saw parts of a meteor shower. Not a bad trade off I’d say.
Capitol Reef is one of the smaller national parks in Utah and I found that to be much more to my liking. It afforded us places to go without jockeying for position with tons of other people and often there were times on some of our hikes – and drives – were we were the only ones around. Now maybe that could also be attributed to the time of year we went but don’t pass up this park, it’s a gem!
Have you ever been here and what were your adventures like? Have a favorite trail you hiked or did you just go for the pie? More about the pie later too!