Hiking on New Year’s Eve: Pleasant Creek, Capitol Reef

Ever since reading on FIMBY about their family’s commitment to hike every week throughout the year, I have been dying to try out hiking in the snow.  Our family is pretty determined about hiking, but we have never hiked when the ground was really snowy.  On our get-away to Capitol Reef this weekend, though, we were able to experience a little snow hiking, which led us to believe we could do a little more closer to home.

We drove down the scenic drive at Capitol Reef National Park to where the pavement turns to dirt, then continued on a few more miles to what (I believe) is the end of the road at Pleasant Creek.  Just like the Fremont, Pleasant Creek was surprisingly full and not quite frozen over.  In places, the ice was thick and clear across the creek, but in most places it was not safe to cross on the ice.  Well–it was safe, if you wanted to be cold and wet.

The snow was much deeper here than it had been on our other weekend hike — whether because of the altitude or because of the exposure, or a combination of the two, I am not sure.  Anyway, hiking was more difficult as we were “postholing” wherever the snow was deep.  We also were not ready for this deeper snow, since we were hiking in fabric boots and were getting quite wet.

After just one mile, which felt much longer since there was no trail and we were bushwhacking most of the time, we decided to look for a break and resting place.  We found a protected alcove where we could eat our lunch.  Meanwhile, the little kids did some mining (don’t tell the Park Service please!)

Yes, we kept all the gold they found.  No, we won’t be moving to paradise (also known as Torrey, Utah) anytime soon.

After our sunny break, we headed back to the cars along a snow covered road.  On our trip home, we discussed what we would need to do to enjoy some snowy hiking closer to home.  We are looking forward to trying it out soon, especially if temperatures stay as warm as they have been in the last weeks.

All in all, we had a wonderful weekend.  Everyone arrived home with sun-kissed cheeks and big smiles.  Hope you enjoyed your weekend, too!  If you have an idea about winter hiking, please leave a comment below.  Thanks!

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1 Comment

  1. Pleasant Creek is absolutely one of my most favorite places in the park. I almost always horseback ride there (for work–tough job lol), since hiking demands criss-crossing the stream too many times. My guess on the snow depth is that a) it recently snowed right there more heavily, and b) the canyon walls can keep out the sunlight.

    From the photos it looks to me like you went upstream (west)? Though I’m not sure. Anyway, there are gorgeous views and sites both up and downstream, though there are more rock art panels downstream. Pleasant Creek is also a common area for bighorn sheep sightings!

    Looks like you all had a wonderful hike.


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