Capitol Reef National Park
The Rim Overlook provides perhaps the best view of Fruitta. You will look down 1,000 feet on the Visitor Center, the Orchards, and the Campground. You will have grand views of the Henry Mountains and the Waterpocket Fold. Along the way, you will have an outstanding view of Hickman Bridge from an overlook vantage point.
The Rim Overlook Trail follows the Hickman Bridge Trail until it reaches numbered stop 5. Just between stops 5 and 6, there is a signed junction. Take the right fork to continue on the Rim Overlook Trail. You will first surmount a small hill, then descend a sandy slope and cross a Navajo Sandstone wash. The trail continues on the other side of this wash, along its north bank.
At about 1 mile into the hike, you will come to the signed overlook of Hickman Bridge. Up to this point, you have been walking on a well defined trail. Here is a good time to sit down, view the arch, drink some water, and get ready for a steady climb on slickrock slopes.
The next 1.25 miles to the Rim Overlook are strenuous and can be confusing if you are not familiar with looking for and following cairns on slickrock slopes. There is seldom a well defined trail on this section, so skill at following cairns is a must. The route winds in and out of a number of side drainages, finally ending at the Rim Overlook.
What a great sight is before you. You almost believe you are in an airplane, looking down on Fruita and across to Boulder Mountain and the Henry's. Return the way you came.
Maps: USGS 7.5 Minute Series: Fruita or Earth Walk Press, Capitol Reef National Park. Available from the CRNHA at the park Visitor Center.
Trailhead: At the signed Hickman Bridge Trailhead, two miles east of the Visitor Center on Utah Hwy 24.
Distance: 2.25 miles one-way, 4.5 miles total round-trip.
Note: The ascent to the Rim Overlook is strenuous; you will climb about 1,000 feet from the trailhead elevation of 5,320 feet above sea level. In the summer, take water with you and wear a hat. Avoid dehydration! There is a number of sections where cairns guide you over slickrock sections. Keep an eye out for those little piles of rocks!
You can continue beyond the Rim Overlook for another 2.25 miles to the Navajo Knobs. The Navajo Knobs will provide you with 360 degree panoramic views of the Capitol Reef area. Continuing to the Navajo Knobs will turn your walk into a strenuous 10-mile all-day hike. Be sure to start early; bring food and more water for this trip.
The route is generally the same type as that from the Hickman Bridge Overlook to the Rim Overlook, winding its way along the bench, in and out of side canyons with cairns marking the way until reaching the Knobs. One of the side canyons will allow you to look down on the Castle and the Visitor Center.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication