Navajo Knobs Trail

Navajo Knobs Trail

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 38.30570°N / 111.2699°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: May 3, 2018
Activities Activities: Hiking

Overview

Navajo Knobs Trail is an easily accessible trail with spectacular views in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park. The trail starts on Route 24. The first 0.3 miles of the trail is common with the heavily hiked Hickman Bridge Trail. After the split with Hickman Bridge Trail, Navajo Knobs Trail goes up wide slickrock ledges to reach Rim Overlook where you will find yourself at the edge of a cliff 1000 vertical feet above Route 24. Beyond the Overlook, the trail continues on Slickrock ledges to reach the 6979 ft Navajo Knob. The last few tens of vertical feet, require going up a steep boulder covered slope.

I had originally planned to do a one way hike down Lower Spring Canyon on this day. That hike required fording of Freemont River. It had rained fairly heavily the prior two days making me worry that the river might have had become too deep to ford so I came to Navajo Knobs Trail instead.

9.55 miles round-trip with 2450 ft vertical

Trip Report

I was the first person at Hickman Bridge Trailhead on Route 24. Started my hike at 7:10 a.m. I did not see anyone on my way up to Navajo Knobs. The trail headed east going to a narrow area at the base of a cliff next to Fremont River. Looking at the forceful current in the river, I told myself that I had made the right decision to not go to Lower Spring canyon.

Fremont River at the start of the trail
Fremont River at the start of the trail

The trail made a U-turn and began to go up the slickrock slopes going past the split with Hickman Bridge Trail. This impressive pyramid behind me was identified as PFCTOLS Pyramid.

PFCTOLS Pyramid
PFCTOLS Pyramid

PFCTOLS Pyramid
PFCTOLS Pyramid

After just below one mile, I reached the edge of a canyon where I could look down to see Hickman Bridge. I could not see the sky through the opening of the bridge from that spot so it was difficult to say that I was looking at a bridge. I had hiked to Hickman Bridge in May of 1993. It was hard to believe that 25 years had gone by. In 1993, I sure would not have been able to tell what I had done 25 years prior to that, babbling before learning to talk?

Hickman Bridge, hard to see from this angle
Hickman Bridge, hard to see from this angle

At 8:15 a.m. I reached Rim Overlook and was blown away by the fantastic views. The cliff below me dropped 1000 feet to the orchards between Route 24 and Park’s Scenic Drive.

Fremont Canyon & Park Scenic Drive from Rim Overlook
Fremont Canyon & Park Scenic Drive from Rim Overlook

Route 24 and Park Visitor Center.

Visitor Center from Rim Overlook
Visitor Center from Rim Overlook

Zoomed view of Fremont River Canyon and Boulder Mountain (which is really a plateau).

Zoomed view of Fremont Canyon from Rim Overlook
Zoomed view of Fremont Canyon from Rim Overlook

After taking a few pictures, I was back on the trail which went down 100 vertical feet before going back uphill to reach a 6520 ft high point with great views. The 6387 ft formation known as The Castle was right in front of me.

The Castle from Point 6520
The Castle from Point 6520

Navajo Knobs had come to view.

Navajo Knob from the 6520 ft high point
Navajo Knob from the 6520 ft high point

Another view of The Castle.

The Castle
The Castle

The trail continued on wide slickrock ledges going 250 vertical feet downhill and then up again.

On Navajo Knobs Trail
On Navajo Knobs Trail
On Navajo Knobs Trail
On Navajo Knobs Trail

Approaching  Navajo Knob at the end of the trail.

Approaching Navajo Knob
Approaching Navajo Knob
Navajo Knob
Navajo Knob

Had to go up this slope to get to the top of Navajo Knob.

Climb up to the summit of Navajo Knob
Climb up to the summit of Navajo Knob

Reached the summit at 9:40 a.m. Views from the summit. Route 24 was right below me. Henry Mountains remained in clouds to the southeast.

Looking north
Looking north
Route 24
Route 24

Sulfur & Fremont Canyons
Sulfur & Fremont Canyons
Visitor Center, Henry Mountains in clouds
Visitor Center, Henry Mountains in clouds

Had my sandwich, took a few shots with my telephone and texted them to coworkers in Wisconsin and left at 10:20 retracing my way back.

Going down the summit of Navajo Knob
Going down the summit of Navajo Knob

Another view of Navajo Knob.

Navajo Knob
Navajo Knob

As I went back on the trail, I ran into hikers coming up. View of the 6520 ft high point and the uphill to it.

The 6520 ft high point
The 6520 ft high point

On the trail.

On Navajo Knobs Trail
On Navajo Knobs Trail

The wide slickrock ledge to the high point.

Wide ledge pathway to Point 6520 ft
Wide ledge pathway to Point 6520 ft

Route 24, Sulfur and Fremont Canyons from the 6520 ft high point.

Sulfur & Fremont Canyons plus Route 24 from 6520 ft high point
Sulfur & Fremont Canyons plus Route 24 from 6520 ft high point

Continuing down the trail toward Rim Overlook.

A knob on Navajo Knobs Trail
A knob on Navajo Knobs Trail
A knob on Navajo Knobs Trail
A knob on Navajo Knobs Trail

Stopped at Rim Overlook for a minute and was soon on my way again.

Near Rim Overlook
Near Rim Overlook
Near Rim Overlook
Near Rim Overlook

Lower down the trail.

On Navajo Knobs Trail
On Navajo Knobs Trail
On Navajo Knobs Trail
On Navajo Knobs Trail

Ferns Nipple.

Ferns Nipple
Ferns Nipple

Another view of PFCTOLS Pyramid.

PFCTOLS Pyramid
PFCTOLS Pyramid

Black rocks on white background.

Black rocks on white background
Black rocks on white background

Near the junction with Hickman Bridge Trail.

On lower trail
On lower trail

After the junction, the trail became fairly crowded. Route 24 and Fremont River.

Route 24 from lower trail
Route 24 from lower trail
Fremont River
Fremont River

Reached my car at 12:40. The parking was full and people had parked along the road. After a short rest, drove on Route 24 to the road pullover I had seen from the top of Navajo Knob. Looking up at Navajo Knob barely visible on top of the big red wall.

Navajo Knobs from Route 24
Navajo Knobs from Route 24



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