Sunset Point, Sunset Point Trailhead, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Sunset Point - .8 miles
Sunset Point Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||.8 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||6,352' - 6,398' (6,398' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+46' net elevation gain (+68' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Sunset Point - .8 Miles Round-Trip
The Sunset Point Trail leads to panoramic views across the Waterpocket Fold, Henry Mountains and Fremont River in Capitol Reef National Park. This short trail leaves from the Goosenecks Parking Area and winds along open rims to an overlook that's brilliantly lit at sunset.
The Waterpocket Fold is an 87 mile long warp in the earth's crust that formed 50-70M years ago when a major mountain building event in North America (the Laramide Orogeny) reactivated an ancient fault.
Fault movements thrust overlying rock layers up and over the fault, with a pronounced west (high) to east (low) tilt.
Uplifts in the Colorado Plateau occurring 15-20M years ago exposed the monocline at the surface, and to erosive forces that sculpted the landscape we see today.
This wrinkle in the landscape forms a natural barrier, or 'Reef'. 'Waterpocket' refers to the many sandstone basins that have been eroded by water throughout the formation.
The Henry Mountains rise behind the Waterpocket Fold to the east, topped by Mount Ellen (11,522'). The Fremont River cuts a deep gorge below the overlook, with a series of tight bends, or 'goosenecks', that are visible with a little maneuvering.
Interactive GPS Topo MapKey GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84
- N38 17.941 W111 17.862 — 0.0 miles : Sunset Point Trailhead
- N38 17.797 W111 17.678 — .4 miles : Sunset Point
- The trail is surprisingly vague in places, and can be difficult to follow at and after dusk. Carry a headlamp if planning to be out late in the evening.
- Be mindful of cliff edges, which are naturally unstable and and deceptively slick when moisture is present.
Rules and Regulations
- Dogs are not permitted on hiking trails and routes in Capitol Reef National Park.
- Writing on rocks is strictly prohibited. Significant fines apply.
Directions to Trailhead
The Sunset Point Trailhead is located 3.2 miles from the Capitol Reef Visitor Center.
Drive 2.4 miles west on Highway 24 to the marked turnoff for Panorama Point, then turn left for Sunset Point and Goosenecks. Follow the graded dirt road to the large parking area.
Capitol Reef National Park
16 Scenic Drive
Torrey, UT 84775
The Visitor Center is open every day 8:00 am - 4:30 pm, with extended hours in the spring and fall.