Fremont Gorge Overlook

Round Trip Distance: 4.6 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation: 5429 - 6500 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 2 hrs..
Trailhead: Fremont Gorge Overlook
Fee: $7 individual, $15/vehicle
Attractions: Scenic canyon views

The Fremont Gorge Overlook trail is located in Capitol Reef National Park near Torrey, Utah. The trail begins at the trailhead near the old implement shed between the Visitor Center and the Fruita Campground. The trail starts off with a steep climb for about a quarter mile to the top of Johnson Mesa. The next mile of the trail is very easy as it crosses the mesa heading west toward the gorge. The last mile of the hike to the view point is once again a steep climb. The trail gains almost 1100 feet of elevation overall.

The trailhead is at the north end of the parking area near the Merin Smith implement shed. If you walk over from the campground you will want to add about 1 mile to the total round trip distance.

The trail starts out easy enough following a road. Hikers are almost instantly treated to pleasant views of the orchards and campground area.

As the road levels off the trail to Fremont Gorge departs to the right.

The climb for the next couple hundred yards gets pretty steep as the trail works its way up the ridge to Johnson Mesa.

The elevation gain for the next mile is very gradual making for some easy hiking. There are striking views of the surrounding cliffs and knobs of Capitol Reef. As you cross the mesa it appears you are headed straight towards the gorge and that the hike will soon be over with the steepest section of trail behind you. The trail actually still has another 700 feet of climbing to get to the overlook which is just under a mile away.

After crossing the lava boulder strewn mesa the trail transitions to a pleasant stretch of red sandstone and dirt. A small prominent butte dominates the sloping mountain side. The trail heads toward the prominence before passing it by on the right hand side and continuing to the higher cliffs above the gorge. Judging from the tracks and wear on the trail most, but not all, hikers turn around in this area and never actually journey up to the overlook. Perhaps they are somewhat discouraged after thinking they were almost at their destination.

The end of the trail is marked with a very large cairn that sits right on the rim above the gorge.

There is a good view of the gorge from the overlook. It is interesting to peer into its depths and wonder whether it is possible to complete a passage through the gorge on foot. As though there aren't enough trails to hike it seems we are always wanting to explore somewhere else.

The return hike is all downhill with much to look at and enjoy.

The Fremont Gorge Overlook trail is best tackled during the early morning or evening hours for a chance to catch a glimpse of a coyote, deer or bighorn sheep. There were scat and tracks from all 3 with the deer and coyote signs on the mesa and the bighorn in the red dirt area. Far more hikers might venture all the way to the overlook if they were better prepared mentally with what to expect. Beginning the hike at the trailhead rather than the campground cuts down considerably on the overall effort even though the trail to the campground is a pleasant trek by itself. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.