Capitol Reef National Park
is an exceptional hike to a natural bridge in Capitol Reef
National Park. This outstanding hike is one of the more popular hikes in
the park and for good reason, as the adventure is well worth the effort.
Cassidy Arch is
not difficult and can be completed by any healthy adult or older child in
average physical condition. No special gear is
required other than footwear suitable for walking over rough ground. The hike involves
walking approximately 1 1/2 miles miles each way over a well maintained trail. The route will require approximately two or three hours round trip to complete.
Much of the
route is exposed to the sun and there is little shade available. During hot weather an
early morning or evening hike is recommended. Every member of your hiking party should
carry at least one liter of water. This hike should be easily accessible year round.
for this hike is easy. The route is well marked and signed. A GPS is extreme over kill but
I have included the important waypoints for the gizmo junkies. The USGS 7.5' Map titled
"Fruita" covers this hike. You should have no problems completing this hike
using only commonsense.
Cassidy Arch is often
combined with the complete Frying Pan Trail by those wanting to
insert more adventure or create
a longer day. The technical canyoneering junkies will want to combine this
route with a trip through Cassidy Slot Canyon.
From the Capitol Reef
Visitor Center (N38° 17' 28", W111° 15' 41") follow the paved Scenic Drive
south into the National Park for 3.4 miles to the signed Grand Wash Road (N38° 15'
22", W111° 13' 58"). Turn east (left) and follow the well maintained gravel
road for 1.3 miles to the Grand Wash Trailhead. The trailhead is easy to
locate as the road ends in a large parking area with a vault toilet and
information kiosk. All vehicles should be able to access this trailhead in
dry weather conditions.
Grand Wash Trailhead (N38° 15' 49", W111° 13' 57")
hike east down Grand Wash for 1/4 mile to the signed Cassidy Arch Trail
Junction (N38° 15' 57", W111° 12' 48"). Take the Cassidy Arch Trail and
follow it as it climbs the north canyon wall for 1 mile to a second
junction (N38° 15' 52", W111° 13' 29") signed Cassidy Arch. Continue
following the Cassidy Arch Trail west for an additional 1/4 mile to Cassidy
Arch (N38° 15' 40", W111° 13' 33"). Enjoy the views and return the
way that you came.
Cassidy Arch is named after the
infamous western outlaw Butch Cassidy (Robert Leroy Parker). Cassidy was the most prolific
bank and train robber of his time. After a term in prison Cassidy organized a group of
outlaws, including the "Sundance Kid", Harry Longabaugh, known as "The Wild Bunch". From 1896-1901 the Wild Bunch
robbed over a dozen banks and trains throughout the West, relying on secret hideouts,
knowledge of the land and fast horses for escape. It is known that the Wild Bunch used
Grand Wash to traverse the Waterpocket Fold.
Enjoy a short entertaining video of a trip to Cassidy Arch.