Looking for things to do in Capitol Reef National Park? A quick Google search will reveal plenty of amazing hiking trails. We’ve even covered some of the best trails in and around Capitol Reef and Torrey, Utah in our blog!
While you’re thinking about where to stay in Utah, you’ll no doubt want to consider adding a few of these trails to your itinerary. And when you choose to stay at Cougar Ridge, you’ll be just minutes away from the entrance to Capitol Reef, making it easy to enjoy a day of hiking.
But what if you find yourself facing a cold or rainy day or one that’s too hot to hit the trails? Maybe you’re tired from a long day of hiking, and want to give your feet a break. Or maybe someone in your group needs an activity that’s more accessible than hiking. You’re in luck! There are plenty of things to do in Capitol Reef that aren’t hiking!
From riding horses to faster-paced adventures on ATVs, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Southern Utah without hiking. Here are just a few you can choose from.
1. An Off-Road Adventure
Want to experience Southern Utah’s incredible landscapes, but need to get off your feet? An ATV or UTV tour is a great alternative! This heart-pounding adventure will take you on some of the area’s rough back trails. While off-roading isn’t allowed within the national park, depending on the tour that you choose, you’ll get to explore some of Torrey’s other wild stretches of desert.
There are plenty of local companies offering off-road tours. You can choose from shorter tours, or opt for a full day of adventure. This is a great way to give your feet a break while still enjoying an exciting adventure and enjoying some memorable views.
2. Family-Friendly Off-Road Fun
If you want to explore the backroads but want something a bit less adventurous than ATV or UTV tours, a Jeep tour is a great alternative. You won’t even have to drive; simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the sights while a guide drives your Jeep. This activity is ideal for all ages, as well as those who may be unable to enjoy the sights on foot. They’ll still get to experience the parks and surrounding areas up close, but without needing to take a single step!
As with ATV and UTV tours, there are a variety of companies and tour options to choose from in Torrey.
3. Explore the Desert on Horseback
While it may not be quite as fast-paced as some of the other options on this list, horseback riding is still a not-to-be-missed way to explore Southern Utah. In fact, it’s the very way that early settlers to the region saw and explored it.
4. Capitol Reef Canyoneering
You’ll actually still need to do a bit of hiking to get to this activity. But Capitol Reef canyoneering is an exciting, unique way to explore the park in a way that few visitors ever get to see.
Canyoneering is an outdoor sport that involves hiking, scrambling, rappelling, and more to get from point A to point B in narrow slot canyons. Southern Utah has one of the highest concentrations of slot canyons in the world, making it one of the most popular places for canyoneering. It draws adventure-lovers from around the world.
Near Torrey, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is perhaps the best spot for canyoneering in the region. While canyoneering on your own, without a guide, requires knowledge, training, and practice, visitors to the park can still get a taste of the sport safely and without having to buy gear by booking a tour. You don’t need any prior experience to give it a try.
By booking through Cougar Ridge, you can choose from tours anywhere from 4 to 6 miles and rappelling between 80 and 275 feet. We can even accommodate guests as young as 7 years old, making this a great family-friendly way to experience a new, adrenaline-inducing activity.
5. Go Stargazing
You won’t cover much ground during a stargazing party. But you will get to see and experience one of the region’s most beautiful features. Lie back, look up, and take in more stars than you’ve likely seen in one place in your entire life. That is unless you’re lucky enough to live in another dark-sky community like Torrey.
At Cougar Ridge, we offer Bonfire and Star Parties on most Tuesday and Saturday evenings. Enjoy a hot drink and roast marshmallows for s’mores while learning about the stars and constellations stretching out above you. The Party is open to guests of Cougar Ridge and the public and can host up to 30 participants each evening.
6. Mountain Biking on Capitol Reef’s Trails
If you’re a biking enthusiast, you’ve come to the right place. Capitol Reef National Park is known for its heart-pounding mountain bike trails.
With 12 trails total, you can choose from the stunning scenery of the 19-mile Capitol Reef Scenic Drive, the more strenuous 14-mile Tantalus Flats, or any of the other great options.
7. Enjoy a Scenic Drive
After a long day of hiking or enjoying any of the other great activities on this list, you can always hop in your car and hit the road to see more beautiful scenery and breathtaking landscapes. There are plenty of scenic drives to choose from.
You could cruise the 75-mile ride from Loa to Hanksville, which takes you through Capitol Reef, over the green valley of the Fremont River, and past countless other overlooks. Or simply ride the 25 miles through Capitol Reef at different times of the day. Go early in the morning for fewer crowds and a chance to spot wildlife. Hit the road just before sunset for views you won’t soon forget.
Choosing Things to Do in Capitol Reef That Aren’t Hiking
If you’re able to, you’ll definitely want to plan for a bit of hiking during your visit to Torrey. But that doesn’t mean that the only way to explore the region is on foot. There are plenty of other things to do in Capitol Reef and the surrounding area that aren’t hiking!
Now that you have a few ideas for what to do during your visit, it’s time to decide where to stay in Utah on your next trip. Cougar Ridge’s location in Torrey, Utah, just a short drive from Capitol Reef, makes it the perfect base camp for your next adventure. We offer a variety of on-site and off-site activities, including horseback riding, off-road tours, and more!
Now is a great time to book your next visit to Cougar Ridge! From December 1 to March 31, 2023, when you book a stay of 2 or more nights, you’ll get 40 percent off your entire booking. Book today to take advantage of this amazing deal!