Creek walkin' in Capitol Reef
Sulphur Creek is a perennial stream that flows through Capitol Reef National Park. The flow rate varies depending on snow melt, rain, etc. The creek/canyon contains a variety of terrain including narrows and waterfalls. Hiking this route includes crossing the creek many times, and walking in the shallow water in many places as the trail wanders in and out of the creek. Some scrambling may be required in certain sections.
There are two ways of doing this hike. The first is the longer route which is 5.5 miles one way. You would need more than one car or arrange for a shuttle. The longer route would have you start at the chimney rock trail head off of highway 24. You follow the trail in and out of the creek as it returns to the visitor center. The trail is not really maintained, but the route is easy to follow, just stick to the creek and you will get there. There are pools and waterfalls along the way. As with any creek/canyon always check the weather for flash flooding dangers. If a shuttle is not available since this park does not offer any sort of tram service, you could always hike the 3 miles up highway 24 from the visitors center to the chimney rock trail head.
The second way is the shorter route which will let you experience the creek/canyon without needing a shuttle. This route has you start at the visitors center and hike up the creek up to the first waterfall. The park service lists this waterfall at .75 miles away, but my GPS says its more like 1.1 miles one way. I guess it depends how much you wander in, out, and about the creek. The first water fall here is about 4-5 feet and there is a nice area there to relax and listen to the water. You could always go as far as you want and then turn back, this way is an out and back from the visitor's center. If you are standing at the front of the visitors center the trail is obvious as it leads you around the back to the creek. It is not marked other than a no dogs sign.
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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