Frying Pan Trail to Cohab Canyon, Grand Wash Trailhead, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Frying Pan Trail to Cohab Canyon - 8.4 miles

Grand Wash Trailhead

View from high points on the Frying Pan Trail

View from high points on the Frying Pan Trail

Round-Trip Length: 8.4 miles
Start-End Elevation: 5,378' - 5,640' (6,457' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +262' net elevation gain (+2,695' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Frying Pan Trail to Cohab Canyon - 8.4 Miles Round-Trip

The Cassidy Arch Trail joins the Frying Pan Trail on a 4.2 mile route from Grand Wash to Cohab Canyon in Capitol Reef National Park. The Frying Pan Trail and continues past Cassidy Arch to a high rim, drops across a canyon, rises back up and drops again to its terminus in Cohab Canyon.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The route features stunning backcountry scenery along the high western spine of the Waterpocket Fold, and lots of room to improvise across open slickrock.

While distance and net elevation change is modest, two steep climbs in each direction can be cumulatively taxing, especially in summer heat. Consider doing this trail as a thru-hike with a two-car shuttle between Grand Wash and the Fruita Campground:

The trail heads down Grand Wash to the split for Cassidy Arch on the north (left) side of the wash (.2 miles). The Cassidy Arch Trail rises sharply on winding slickrock ledges until easing on open rims and rounding a bend with great views of the arch (1.05 miles : 5,895'). 

It continues past the Cassidy Arch split (1.3 miles : 5,965') with expanding views across open desert, high canyon walls and sculpted formations. Travel moderates on more varied terrain to a crest over a deep canyon (2.2 miles : 6,457'), the highest point on the trail (GPS Point #7).

Here it begins a steep descent down a slickrock slab to a series of tight, shifting switchbacks (2.95 miles : 5,875') that lead to a wash on the canyon floor (3.25 miles : 5,685'). You'll have great views over this scenic canyon while losing 772' in just 1.05 miles to the wash. 

The trail crosses the wash and rises immediately back on switchbacks with great perspective on the route you took across the canyon.

It levels out above the canyon with your first look at Cohab Canyon to the north (3.55 miles : 5,925'). The trail shifts through varied terrain before tilting down another slickrock slab to its terminus at the Cohab Canyon Trail junction (4.2 miles : 5,640').

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N38 15.829 W111 12.939 — 0.0 miles : Grand Wash Trailhead
  • N38 15.932 W111 12.798 — .2 miles : Trail splits left out of Grand Wash
  • N38 15.955 W111 13.218 — .8 miles : Travel moderates across high rim
  • N38 15.860 W111 13.485 — 1.3 miles : Cassidy Arch - Frying Pan Trail split
  • N38 15.774 W111 13.706 — 1.5 miles : Travel moderates along rim
  • N38 15.970 W111 14.077 — 2.0 miles : Level travel on varied terrain
  • N38 16.091 W111 14.194 — 2.2 miles : Reach crest (6,457'), begin long descent
  • N38 16.293 W111 14.159 — 2.5 miles : Steep, steady descent into canyon
  • N38 16.556 W111 13.919 — 2.95 miles : leave rim on twisting descent to canyon floor
  • N38 16.695 W111 13.882 — 3.2 miles: Cross wash on canyon floor
  • N38 16.782 W111 14.074 — 3.5 miles : Wind to high point above Cohab Canyon
  • N38 17.032 W111 14.150 — 4.0 miles : Descend into canyon
  • N38 17.155 W111 14.072 — 4.2 miles : Cohab Canyon Trail junction (5,640')

Worth Noting

  • The roundtrip elevation gain can be taxing in summer heat. Consider doing this trail as a thru-hike with a two-car shuttle between Grand Wash and the Fruita Campground.
  • Cassidy Arch is .4 miles off the main trail and a worthwhile detour.

Rules and Regulations

  • Dogs are not permitted on trails in Capitol Reef National Park.
  • Writing on rocks is strictly prohibited. Significant fines apply.

Directions to Trailhead

The Grand Wash Trailhead is located 4.6 miles from the Visitor Center in Capitol Reef National Park.

From the Visitor Center, take Scenic Drive 3.4 miles to Grand Wash Road. Turn left and follow it 1.2 miles to the cul-de-sac parking area.

Grand Wash Road is a dirt road suitable for 2WD cars in good condition. The road is subject to flash floods and washouts and may not be passable after heavy rain due to standing water or mud.

Contact Information

Capitol Reef National Park
16 Scenic Drive
Torrey, UT 84775

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"I left very early to make the most of cool morning temperatures and avoid crowds to Cassidy Arch. Once past that split you're on your own - this is not a trail you'll see people on. The desert is mesmerizing, and I loved climbing in and out of multiple canyons. Lots of different rock and color as you change elevation too. You definitely have to pay attention though - if you miss a mark it can be really hard to get back on the 'trail' which is mostly just a string of cairns across waves of slickrock."
Reed O'Malley  -  Salt Lake City  -  Date Posted: August 15, 2017


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