We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Road conditions in late ecember

San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
36 posts
9 reviews
Save Topic
Road conditions in late ecember

Hi All,

I am thinking about spending a day (or 2) in CRNP around Xmas time and wanted to know what to expect for the road conditions - we will be driving a Sedan.

I am assuming the Burr trail would be a no-go for a Sedan in December, will that hold true?

Also, how about access road to other attractions like Capitol Reef, Gorge trail, Cathedral valley etc. We will be having a 3 year old toddler hence avoiding lot of hiking (I am planning to carry him on a kelty for short hikes) and trying to be safe when it comes to driving on gravel/dirt roads.

TIA.

(Sorry I was trying to capitalize the D in December in the title but somehow ended up hitting Enter and the post went through :) )

Edited: 13 November 2013, 21:12
Mentioned in this post
Burr Trail
Burr Trail
202 Reviews
Capitol Reef National Park, UT
Capitol Reef Resort
Capitol Reef Resort
1,452 Reviews
Torrey, UT
Atascadero...
Destination Expert
for Lake Powell
Level Contributor
1,612 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Road conditions in late ecember

Anything is possible on the Burr Trail in winter, but it's worth noting that the highest elevation on the road is about 6,800 feet--so snow is certainly possible. (Nearby Boulder is at 6,600.) At the same time, the highest elevation portions of the road are paved. Where the road turns to dirt, it's at 6,600 feet, and it drops steadily down to the valley floor in Capitol Reef, which is at about 5,000.

Rain is the other possible concern, which can make the dirt part of the road impassible--of course, rain can be an issue any time of year. But if the weather is clear, and has been dry for a few days, and no major snowfall has recently occurred (three big "ifs"), the road should be fine...

Edited: 14 November 2013, 00:10
Mentioned in this post
Burr Trail
Burr Trail
202 Reviews
Capitol Reef National Park, UT
Boulder
Boulder
Colorado
Capitol Reef Resort
Capitol Reef Resort
1,452 Reviews
Torrey, UT
Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Winter Sports
Level Contributor
19,824 posts
428 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Road conditions in late ecember

Definitely chance of snow but shouldn't impact you having a good time. As noted, the Burr Trail is actually paved from Boulder to the park boundary to the east. Also, a good part of the road through Waterpocket Fold is now paved. Just watch for weather. With a sedan you won't be going up into Cathedral Valley. But I'm thinking you should be able to do Capitol Gorge.

Have fun.

Mentioned in this post
Burr Trail
Burr Trail
202 Reviews
Capitol Reef National Park, UT
Boulder
Boulder
Colorado
Bedford,U.K
Level Contributor
1,523 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Road conditions in late ecember

Late ecember is much worse than December. I'd stick to December if it was me.

Torrey, Utah
Destination Expert
for Torrey, Capitol Reef National Park
Level Contributor
1,549 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Road conditions in late ecember

Burr Trail: It all depends how much snow has already fallen, parts of the paved road in Long Canyon are in permanent shade and tend to develop a sheet of ice, less than a hundred yards long but pretty hairy. If there is no snow you can certainly do the paved road and the good gravel road to the top of the switchbacks.

Notom Road: again depends how much precip there has been, if it's dry and you don't mind sand you can do it in a sedan, but note your rental company might disagree! There will not be many people out there to help you if get stuck and it's cold at night!

Cathedral Valley: highly discouraged, very remote with very few people and unknown road conditions at that time of year. The road was really beaten up this summer and is rough. I was out there last December 28th and there was 2" of snow at the Temples and 6" at the Cathedrals - it was wonderful in a high clearance 4WD truck!

Scenic drive (Capitol Gorge & Grand Wash): again depends on snow fall, after a storm the scenic drive is often closed past the camp grounds, it gets icy. The Gorge and Wash conditions depend on precip even more.

It's unlikely to rain, it almost always snows Dec-Feb in this area but not very often and we rarely get any great depth. The paved roads are kept plowed during daylight hours but UT12 is not plowed at night any more. The most difficult road is actually UT24 from Richfield to Loa which for some reason has abysmal winter storm weather.

Mentioned in this post
Burr Trail
Burr Trail
202 Reviews
Capitol Reef National Park, UT
San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
36 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Road conditions in late ecember

Thanks everyone for the feedback, I will try to keep an eye for weather reports for the week earlier and plan according. Thanks for the red flags for the cathedral valley.

Axel - exactly, won't be touching ecember with a 100 foot bole :).

6. Re: Road conditions in late ecember

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 18 February 2015, 17:17