In the wealth of things to do in the canyon treasures of Capitol Reef National Park, you may never consider the Fremont Gorge Overlook and its simple 2.2 mile trail. I have never seen the Fremont Gorge highlighted in any review of the area's wonders.
But do it. And do it on a sunny late afternoon /early evening like I did. You will not regret it.
I decided after getting to Torrey at 4 PM to find something to stretch my legs after a long flight and drive. I can guarantee both legs and eyeballs will get a good stretching. The 1000 feet of elevation gain will take care of the legs, and the eyes will take care of themselves.
The trailhead begins on the scenic drive that starts at the Capitol Reef Visitor Center on Route 24. Take the scenic drive a short distance south about a mile and several speed bumps. On your right you will spot the solitary Blacksmith shed, and its small parking area. Park here.
The signed trailhead begins on the gated dirt service road that leads up from the parking area, you will stay on the road for a bit before reaching another impossible to miss sign that takes you right off the road and up a steep trail.
You will be surprised that this trail will bring you up about 1000 feet above your starting point, and the elevation gain is concentrated on the first and last third of the trail. Your first trail climb will deposit you on a large grassy shelf littered with black boulders. These boulders were the result of an ancient volcanic eruption far from Capitol Reef.
The nearly flat trail through the meadow like shelf ends as you approach a rising horizon. More and more of the gorge starts to become visible on the left as you ascend past a large blocky monolith. Any pause to look around will be rewarded with stunning views.
Soon you are doing more strenuous and rocky climbing, up the trail, and cairns make an appearance. Fremont Gorge's walls become more and more visible.
When you ascend the last part of the trail, you will see the heart of Fremont Gorge, and its size and scope is unexpected and primeval .
Take social trails to the left to get even better views and great places to soak in the viewshed. Any direction you choose to look on the way back has BIG views. A great introduction to the park on a trail that does not get a lot of press.
From a topo map it looks like you could press on and continue to explore the rim of the gorge up canyon. I did not do so, so I cannot comment on that.
The normal essentials.