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Capture That Iconic Photo of "the Reef" at Sunset Point

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

View from the Sunset Point trail in Capital Reef National Park, just after the sunset
View from Sunset Point just after sunset of the Reef that gave Capitol Reef its name

Looking for the perfect spot to take the photo of "the Reef" that gives Capitol Reef National Park its name? Consider a quick hike to Sunset Point. At the end of this .3 mile hike you'll get a panoramic view of the colorful sand stone "reefs" for which the park is named.

The entire .3 mile hike to Sunset Point is filled with breath taking views of Capitol Reef National Park in Utah
View along the Sunset Point Trail

The Sunset Point hike starts at the north east end of the Goosenecks parking lot. To get to the trailhead, turn south off Highway 24 (the main road through Capitol Reef) towards Panorama Point. Follow the dirt road for about 1 mile until you arrive at the Goosenecks parking lot. Even though the road isn't paved it is typically in good shape and can be managed by most vehicles.

This is an easy hike, and is a great choice for families with small children. The trail has just a slight incline as it leads out to a viewpoint on the bluff. There a couple of benches along the trail and at the destination so you can sit down and take in the panorama views.

If you head so the South side of the bluff on the Sunset Point trail you'll get a great view of the Goosenecks in Capitol Reef National Park
View of the Goosenecks from the Sunset Point Trail

The trail gets its name because the setting sun hits the sandstone reefs lighting them up and causing them to almost glow red in the fading sun light. I'd get to the trailhead 45 minutes before the sunset so you have plenty of time to hike the trail and see the natural light show while the sun is setting.

Once the sun sets, the lighting becomes a lot less dramatic, but still makes for a great picture. You can also get a great view of the Goosenecks from just off the Sunset Point trail. The Goosenecks are a very narrow, meandering canyon just to the southwest of sunset point formed by Sulphur Creek.

Unfortunately on this trip I didn't quite make it in time for the setting sun, so these photos don't do it justice, but you can bet next time I am out that way, I'll be sure to be early and update this post with some better pictures.

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