NPS / C. Roundtree

Scenic Drive rehabilitation project in Capitol Reef National Park

The National Park Service (NPS), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), will begin work on an approximately $12 million project to rehabilitate Scenic Drive and multiple parking lots in Capitol Reef National Park.  

To complete the work, Scenic Drive will be closed for construction beginning April 29. Scenic Drive is a paved 8-mile road that goes south from the visitor center and offers views of the Waterpocket Fold. The visitor center parking lot will also be partially closed, and the Chimney Rock parking lot will be closed later in the fall 2024.  

While Scenic Drive is closed, the majority of the park will remain open and accessible. Visitors can still access the Fruita area, including the visitor center, orchards, the Gifford House, and trails along Utah State Route 24. When planning a visit, be prepared for full parking lots and congestion at popular locations such as the trailheads for Hickman Bridge and Grand Wash. Have a backup plan and consider hiking these popular trails early in the morning or later in the afternoon. 

Much of the park’s infrastructure was originally designed and built in the 1960s when the park received about 160,000 visitors per year. Currently, more than 1.2 million visitors experience Capitol Reef National Park annually and improvements are needed to increase safety and accommodate the increased visitation. Work on Scenic Drive will improve drainage issues due to the area’s flood-prone landscape; widen roads especially in tight curve areas; and make accessibility improvements including additional accessible parking spaces, sidewalks, and low-slope grading. 

More information and updates throughout the duration of the project can be found on the park website at This page includes a link to the project planning page which provides information about the improvements and project design.


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