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.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Great ride and scenery but...”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Cathedral Valley

Cathedral Valley
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Scenic area accessible by dirt road vehicles or hikers.
Las Vegas, NV
Level Contributor
175 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Great ride and scenery but...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 October 2013

ONLY attempt this route in a high clearance 4x4 vehicle. Love visiting the Temple of the Sun and Moon and Glass Mountain - which are all located in close proximity to each other and look great no matter what time of the day you happen to be there. With the parks closed more people may be considering this route and there are no park rangers to consut but do heed advice and travel this in the right vehicle - a passenger car will NOT be able to make the trip. No cell service and a tow will run well over $1k if you can ever get help. You will encounter some middling to deep sand along the way and some cavernous holes along the edges to avoid due to rain washouts and the spur road to the three attractions has a very challenging wash to cross which you should not attempt if uncomfortable with it. Do not even consider this route if weather is not clear and dry. This trip we did the shorter route in entering from Cainesville. Its about 18 miles into the temples and then returning out that way. Allow about three hours for the short round trip. You will not encounter many other vehicles but be wary as this road contains many blind hill crests and curves. There are no facilities on this route.

Visited October 2013
8 Thank Meezermeister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

57 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
17 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Breathtaking views and a great drive”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 July 2013

While exploring Capitol Reef National Park, our book recommended something unusual, which was a drive through the park accessible only if you had a 4x4!

We went to the visitors centre and a friendly ranger said the road was open, and was in pretty good condition, and guided us to the map for which we paid $2. This is well worth it.

The route begins with a river crossing! The water was quite low so we drive straight through, and then over the next many hours and 75 miles we saw some amazing sights, each one as striking as the next.

Just a few to highlight : Jailhouse Rock, Cathedral Valley, Temple of Sun and Moon, the Glass Mountain, the Gypsum Sinkhole. The landscape changes every few miles and you o through some tough terrain.

Unlike other National Parks we have been too, Capitol Reef remains undiscovered, and it was very enjoyable to be the only people driving around the desert. I think we encountered just four other cars the entire day!

We would highly recommend this if you are at the Capitol Reef National Park.

Visited June 2013
9 Thank Rimary T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grand Junction, Colorado
Level Contributor
93 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Beautiful, awe inspiring views of one of Utah's lessor visited parks.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 May 2013

28 miles of unpaved roads with little to no traffic. We have a high-clearance 4x4 and had no problems. I do not recall seeing any cars though. It was quiet and beautiful for our hiking and photography of the area.

Visited May 2013
2 Thank Donnafullerton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Bend, Washington, United States
Level Contributor
66 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Consider Avoiding the River Crossing”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 April 2013

I read many reviews and commentaries about this route both on TA and in various travel guides. We did the traditional itinerary starting at the Fremont River crossing onto Hartnet Road and looping back down into the Valley on Caineville Wash/Cathedral Road, driving an Acura RDX AWD SUV. The river depth was about a foot. You have to drive about 100 feet or so IN the river before you get to the exit point. Then there was about a quarter mile of very deeply rutted soft sand to traverse. In our former Volvo V50 4WD we would have bottomed out I think and a passenger car would have surely been doomed. The first half of this loop on the Hartnet Road offers some lovely vistas and views of weirdly colored mounds. But portions of this road are brutally rough; very rocky with occasional fallen boulders to avoid and deep dips in the washes.

I would consider --maybe recommend-- visiting Cathedral Valley starting at the Caineville Road access further north on Hwy 24 and then turning around before the road begins the ascent at about 30 miles. This section of the road has its ruts and some deep washes but its much less rough and hazardous than the Hartnet Road portion. And you get to see all the iconic spires and buttes while missing a few vistas that are quite similar to other views you get elsewhere in the Park.

A few other notes. Morning light is better for photography. There are no facilities whatsoever. We saw just three other cars (two Jeeps, one Subaru) in our six hours on the route: all of them driving from the Caineville Rd access, btw. I wouldn't do this drive without an AWD/4WD vehicle. Don't even think about it if the weather isn't perfect.

Visited April 2013
12 Thank DavidB371
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hayle, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
122 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Third time lucky”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 August 2012

Visited Cathedral Valley in 1998 and thought it was fantastic. On two further occasions we were unable to get through because of adverse weather but spent another day there last October. I think it was even better than than I remembered, really worth setting aside a day for the trip. This time we drove from the West at Fremont, on the thousand lake mountain road, and came out via the Cainville road. This must be one of the very best places to see.in Utah.

Visited October 2011
1 Thank Tim L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Cathedral Valley also viewed

Capitol Reef National Park, UT
Capitol Reef National Park, UT
Capitol Reef National Park, UT
Capitol Reef National Park, UT

Been to Cathedral Valley? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing