The Grand Wash is an exciting little side trip option in the center of Capitol Reef National Park that simply must be experienced to be believed! Several points of interest are located along this short dirt road and two popular hiking trailheads await at the end point. Just like the name suggests, this is a mountain dry wash road and it is prone to flooding, so the trip should be canceled if rain is forecasted. Fortunately this is a high desert environment, so the Grand Wash can be experienced on just about any given day.
This canyon is really a complex series of ravines squeezed between towering bare rock upheaval bluffs and where the water runs downhill is the easiest path to follow. The Grand Wash actually goes all the way to the Fremont River next to Highway 24, however a hike will be necessary to experience the biggest portion of this long dry wash, which is called The Narrows. Most hikers prefer the downhill trek through The Narrows and the towering bluffs provide plenty of shade, so this is a pleasant pathway to keep in mind when visiting the park.
Central Utah once was where the infamous old west outlaw Butch Cassidy used to roam and there is a namesake hiking trail located near the end point that also is a must to check out. It took a long time for the long arm of the law to catch up with this popular villain, simply because the strange rugged terrain of central Utah offered so many undetectable hideouts. The gigantic golden orange sandstone arch next to the Grand Wash certainly is a fitting tribute and it is easy to picture this famous outlaw crossing this natural bridge on horseback, just like in a classic Hollywood western movie!
There are a few strange anomalies to discover in the Grand Wash too, which include places along the canyon walls where loud echoes reverberate for an extended time. I unknowingly stopped to take a picture at one such spot and I could hear the echoes from group of tourists talking over 50 yards away! I actually walked up to the group to say hello and to point out the spot where the acoustic anomaly occurs and a few of them immediately walked there to check it out while the rest of us waited behind. All it took was a few spoken words to make the echo listeners burst out with laughter and they all appreciated the experience to no end! Capitol Reef National Park certainly is a land full of entertaining hidden surprises, so be sure to do some hiking so you can discover an echo chamber of your very own!
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