If that title doesn’t confuse you, cool. If it does, here’s what I mean. Lower Muley Twist is like, a 15-mile hike in Capitol Reef National Park. The trailhead is at the top of the Burr Trail switchbacks and the end is at the bottom at least a mile away. We started at the trailhead, at the top (upper, get it?) and went in from there. So we were at the top part of Lower Muley Twist, not to be confused with Upper Muley Twist nearby, which I was confused with until last fall.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into it! If you recall, I’ve done part of this before, just a little tiny part though. You’ll even notice the post names are practically the same. This time, though, I went a lot farther, but still barely made a dent in the entire trail.
And while I’ve only seen a small portion of it, it’s quickly made it’s way to the top of my list of favorite hikes in Capitol Reef. Why? It has cool rocks. Like, really cool. It’s super easy. It feels grand. And there’s practically no one on it. I’ve seen quite a few cars in the parking area, but most are just looking around up there. I’ve only seen like four people total (three together) on the trail that I wasn’t with.
Like I said, the hike, at least this top portion of it, is super easy. You scramble down into the wash, not a difficult scramble, then you literally just follow the wash to your left. The trail does continue up on the other side of the wash from where you entered it, but you can just walk in the wash itself since you’ll be deposited into it shortly anyway. And that’s it. You just follow the wash and admire the scenery!
That’s not a great way to sell the hike, I get it. I think this one offers a lot in terms of details. Like I said, there are some pretty awesome rocks here that you’ll see all over the wash itself. Some of the trees are extremely cool, too. You’ll find the beginning of a slot canyon, and what will be an awesome slot canyon in thousands of years. There are lines in the rocks just before that with crystals in them. The holes in the walls are anywhere from super tiny to suitcase size.
There are also little side things to check out, like some pools that lead up to another little canyon, though it does have very dense foliage. This hike is grand, but all about the little things at the same time. Don’t just look ahead, look down and around, too. Not too far in, on the right, you’ll see a little cave thing up on the side of the hill. If you’re there in the summer, it’s a nice little break from the heat.
I know I didn’t offer too much about what the hike is like, but there isn’t all that much to say. It’s one of my favorites. It’s very impressive. It’s easy. It’s would be pretty tough to get lost since you’re literally following the wash. It’s secluded. It’s overlooked. It’s pretty much the best. I will definitely be back here and will definitely be checking out the other end of it as well, so stay tuned for that.
Tips for hiking Lower Muley Twist:
- You probably can’t do the entire hike in a day. After all, it is almost 15 miles from start to finish. You can do part of it in a day, though and I would highly recommend that.
- It’s perfect in the spring (sometimes super windy) and fall. It’s good in the summer, too, but it would be extremely hot, so be prepared with lots of water.
- Definitely, don’t forget to wear sunscreen in the summer.
- I don’t have much in terms of photography advice, just know it’s not the easiest to take pictures of because of high canyon walls. It makes for a lot of harsh shadows.
- The trailhead is just at the top of the Burr Trail switchbacks.
- This hike is located in Capitol Reef’s Waterpocket District, not the main Fruita district.
- To get here from Fruita, take the Bullfrog-Notom Road. You don’t need 4-wheel-drive (I made it in a Smart Car) but know that if it is super rainy or was recently, there may be some impassable spots.
- It’s worth the drive to see this area of the park, for sure. Then you can follow Burr Trail to Bullfrog or Escalante.
Have you been to Capitol Reef? Did you go to the Waterpocket District? Did you do Lower Muley Twist?