Just past Chimney Rock on Utah State route 24 there is a turnoff onto a paved road that leads you to Panorama Point and the Sunset Point Trail. At the fork in this road you can turn left and make your way, carefully, down a dusty and bumpy gravel road to the Goosenecks Overlook.
Park your car at what is basically a cul-de-sac at Panorama Point and go walk up to get a very nice view. It’s also a great spot for viewing the sunset which we did a couple of nights. I spoke with one photographer who was facing the opposite direction of the sunset one night because he wanted to capture the mountains and canyon glowing from the sunset light and not the sunset itself; he had a good point.
Here is a sunset view from Panorama Point
And this is what the rocks were beginning to look like right behind me at the same time.
We didn’t take the Sunset Point trail as I wanted to see a special sight that awaited me at the end of the road to Goosenecks Point. Here you park at the small (and can get filled in no time) parking lot and get greeted by these signs.
It’s a nice short trail with dramatic views. It’s not very dangerous unless you are not watching where you are going or are someone who may be so obsessed with getting a selfie or a photo that you aren’t careful because there is no fencing at the canyon edge until you get to the actual overlook. No photo is worth you getting injured or worse. Common sense people!
The views from the trail are gorgeous; you can see for miles and if the weather is cooperative, the clouds will do beautiful formations for you. You just have to decide what you want to see and then time your visit accordingly in order to see this or that side of the canyons or mountains glowing. That information is readily available online or with guides from the Capitol Reef Visitors Center.
In this image if you look to your far right midway of the photo at the mountain range you can just make out Mummy Cliff and Chimney Rock; close but yet so far.
In order to get to the Goosenecks overlook you take an easy climb over and around some rocks until you are greeted with this amazing sight and the trail towards the overlook. This is where I had to take a deep breath and walk mindfully because it was a bit scary at first. The second time I walked a bit quicker and without the anxiety but I still was mindful of where I was going. The overlook is about 800 feet up from the creek below!
The view, once you get to the well fenced in overlook, is stunning. While it’s no Horseshoe Bend it did remind me a bit of it as I looked down into the canyon at Sulphur Creek. There is a 6 mile one way or 12 miles round trip hike in the creek which is supposed to be quite beautiful. I read a suggestion that if you are hiking with others, park a car at both ends of the trail so you don’t have to do a 12 mile hike… unless you want to.
I grasped the railing of the fence to give it a bit of a wiggle to test it’s steadiness (very steady and safe) and then leaned over just a bit to get these shots of the canyon and creek. This is one part of Capitol Reef where visiting when the sun is high gives you better colors in the canyon and where a wide angle lens is your best friend.
If your time to visit Capitol Reef National Park is limited, then these are two sights that are short and easy to reach which will give you wonderful views. But even if you do have more time to visit, they are both great spots to spend some time at… especially when the light is right.
Next time: The Hickman Bridge Trail