Cougar Ridge

Spring in Capitol Reef National Park

Feb 7, 2024 | Capitol Reef National Park, National Parks, Our Blog | 0 comments

Winter is a unique season in Capitol Reef. It’s a season of few crowds, cool temperatures, and even the occasional snowfall. But when winter comes to an end in Torrey, Utah, it ushers in another unique and special season; spring.

While it doesn’t last for long, spring in Capitol Reef National Park is a great season for hiking and exploring the park. Temperatures are warming, flowers are blooming, the days are getting longer, and summer crowds are still a ways away.

If you’re looking for the perfect season to visit Cougar Ridge this year, keep reading. We’re breaking down everything you need to know to plan a spring visit.

When to Visit to Experience Spring in Capitol Reef

Officially, in 2024, spring starts on March 19 and lasts until June 20th. But spring weather, including mild temperatures, frequent showers, and blooming plants and flowers lasts far fewer days. 

Late March and early April still experience frequent cold fronts. While March sees moderate snowfall, it’s not unusual for this to turn to snow. But by mid-April, snowfall has largely ceased. Ski resorts across Utah end their operations at this time, as winter weather finally gives way to spring.

The second half of April is known for spring showers, warming temperatures, and increasing sunshine. May is one of the best months of the year to visit Capitol Reef. Days are getting warmer, but the occasional rainstorm helps to keep things cool for much of the month. Days are often sunny and get longer as the month progresses. By the end of May, summer temperatures are well on their way, and the first crowds of the season begin to frequent the park, especially on weekends.

If you want to truly experience this special season in the park, plan your visit to Cougar Ridge from mid-April to mid-May. 

What to Do During a Spring Visit to Capitol Reef

Great weather is just one of the reasons to experience spring in Capitol Reef. While the elevation of Capitol Reef means that much of the park is pretty arid, spring brings some vibrant color and blooms to the park. The historic orchards of Fruita begin to flower this season. The surrounding meadows fill with wildflowers, and the cottonwood trees that dot the valleys begin to bud as well. You’ll want to plan to take a scenic drive or two during your spring visit to take in the sights.

Another great reason to visit this season is the chance to spot some wildlife. Melting snow and rising temperatures bring more wildlife down into the lower elevations. And spring brings baby animals, too.

Take advantage of the warmer weather with some hiking during your spring visit. Popular Cassidy Arch Trail or Grand Wash are both great options this time of year. The crowds of summer have yet to arrive, and cooler temperatures make more challenging trails a little easier this time of year. 

Another great trail is the Fremont River Overlook Trail. Here, you’ll get great views of the season’s blooms and green lush grasses. Located just outside of Capitol Reef, three miles south of Torrey, Utah, this 2.5-mile easy trail offers great views for an afternoon hike, especially for families or anyone needing an easier trail.

Tips for Visiting in the Spring

While you might not need to pack quite so many layers as you would for a winter visit or worry as much about dehydration or heat stroke as you would in the summer, there are still a few things you should do to prepare for your spring visit to Capitol Reef.

First, it’s still a good idea to dress in layers. While the days might be getting warmer, mornings and evenings may still be chilly, and temperatures can vary widely from one day to the next. Dressing in layers will allow you to adjust as you warm up or cool down throughout the day.

While you might not find yourself sweating quite as much on tough trails as you would during the summer, it’s still very important to stay hydrated. Pack more water than you expect to need, and take frequent drink breaks, even if you aren’t feeling parched.

Click here for more tips for planning your spring visit to Capitol Reef.

Spring Savings at Cougar Ridge

Looking for another great reason to plan a spring visit to Capitol Reef National Park? How about the chance to save big on your stay at Cougar Ridge?

Starting March 1, guests can save 25 percent on their booking of three or more nights. All nights must be consecutive, and some blackout dates may apply. But if you’ve been thinking about planning a visit to Cougar Ridge and Capitol Reef, this sale can help you save big on your stay. Book today to take advantage of the Spring in Capitol Reef sale!

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