These trails are all in the middle of the Waterpocket Fold of Capitol Reef National Park. The fold being a 100-mile long geologic monocline (a wrinkle in the earth) running north/south in southeast Utah.
We left one car at the east entrance to Grand Wash Trail
and the other at the parking area for Hickman Bridge (only 2.6 miles apart on Route 24). As suggested by a helpful park ranger, we began the hike on the east end of the Cohab Canyon Trail
(off of Route 24) and enjoyed looking over onto the area we'd hiked the day before, near Hickman Bridge.
The gradual ascent along the worn trail into Cohab (as Mormon polygamists were called in the 1800's) Canyon lead to a signed junction with the Frying Pan Trail
. The Frying Pan Trail, with cairns aplenty, wound it's way past unusual rock formations, multi-colored cliff faces, sandstone drink coaster-like geology, pock-marked sandstone walls, alcoves, windows, and incredible panoramic vistas.
We then came to the signed spur over to Cassidy Arch
, named after the famous outlaw Butch Cassidy. The 1-mile out-and-back trek to the arch is definitely worth the time and effort as the Arch is difficult to see and appreciate during the remainder of the Frying Pan Trail. We were pleasantly surprised to see several people rappelling the 150-foot drop from the side of the arch to the bottom. We enjoyed a quick lunch in a bowl-like area out of the wind and then hoofed it back to Frying Pan. From there we quickly made our way down into Grand Wash. Note that just before you actually reach Grand Wash there's a somewhat treacherous stretch of maybe 75 feet with very loose footing. Go slow. I don't think anyone in our group was especially looking forward to the 2.8-mile Grand Wash part of the hike. You know washes...flat, gravel, sand, boring. Wrong! The wash's walls of Navajo sandstone reach 800 feet tall and the canyon gets as narrow as 20-feet wide. The colors and shapes continued to amaze us until we reached the end back at Route 24. We're so happy we took the advice of the Capitol Reef park ranger and strung these four hikes into one!