Scenic Drive Through Capitol Reef National Park To Close April 29 For Roadwork

Scenic Drive through Capitol Reef National Park will be closed through the summer for construction/NPS file

The Scenic Drive that runs through Capitol Reef National Park in Utah will close on April 29 to allow for a rehabilitation project that is expected to keep the road closed through fall of this year.

The $12 million project also will include work on parking lots in the park, including the one for the Chimney Rock trailhead.

Scenic Drive is a paved 8-mile road that goes south from the visitor center and offers views of the Waterpocket Fold. The visitor center parking lot will also be partially closed,  and the Chimney Rock parking lot will be closed  later in the fall.

While Scenic Drive is closed, the majority of the park will remain open and accessible. Visitors will still be able to access the Fruita area, including the visitor center, orchards, the Gifford House, and trails along Utah State Route 24. When planning a visit, be prepared for full parking lots and congestion at popular locations such as the trailheads for Hickman Bridge and Grand Wash. Have a backup plan and consider hiking these popular trails early in the morning or later in the afternoon. 

Much of the park’s infrastructure was originally designed and built in the 1960s when the park received about 160,000 visitors per year. Currently, more than 1.2 million visitors experience Capitol Reef National Park annually, and improvements are needed to increase safety and accommodate the increased visitation.

Work on Scenic Drive will improve drainage issues due to the area’s flood-prone landscape; widen roads especially in tight curve areas; and make accessibility improvements including additional accessible parking spaces, sidewalks, and low-slope grading.
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