"Freemont River Falls"

Capitol Reef National Park / Wayne County, Utah, USA

Rating: 1.5     Difficulty: 1
Freemont River Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

"Freemont River Falls" is an informal name that I've given to this waterfall since I haven't seen any official moniker for it. Given that it sits on the Freemont River, which is a river that goes through the typically hot and dry Capitol Reef National Park, this could very well be the park's only waterfall that's reasonably accessible. It's for that reason alone that I found it rather strange that I couldn't find an official name for it.

Although the falls wasn't very tall (probably 15ft or so), my Mom and I noticed that it had surprisingly good volume. Thus, we could easily envision people coming here to cool off from the desert heat. We showed up in the morning so we saw some faint rainbows in the morning light. The tall white sandstone cliffs providing an unusual backdrop for this waterfall also made it rather memorable.

Years after we had last visited this waterfall in 2003, we had learned later that the falls was actually a result of the re-routing of the Freemont River due to the construction of Hwy 24 through Capitol Reef National Park. Upon learning this bit of information, that would put this waterfall in the same category as Oxararfoss in Iceland or the "Mossy Cave Waterfall" in Bryce Canyon since those waterfalls had also resulted from water diversion resulting in their creation. Perhaps that was also the reason why this waterfall didn't really have an official name.

Recently in 2012, the National Park Service closed off Summer access to the falls due to near drownings resulting from undercurrents and aeration from the velocity of the water conbined with the desire of visitors seeking relief from the desert heat. Now, the waterfall area would be accessible only when the water would be too cold for a swim.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

A very worthwhile diversion while driving east along Hwy 24 through Capitol Reef National Park is this 2-mile round trip hike to the Hickman BridgeA very worthwhile diversion while driving east along Hwy 24 through Capitol Reef National Park is this 2-mile round trip hike to the Hickman Bridge
On the same day we passed through Capitol Reef National Park along UT24, we would eventually make it to Arches National Park by Moab.  That park was where we hiked to the famous and iconic Delicate ArchOn the same day we passed through Capitol Reef National Park along UT24, we'd eventually make it to Arches National Park by Moab. That park was where we hiked to the famous and iconic Delicate Arch
Opposite Arches National Park was the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park, where we caught a sunrise at the Mesa ArchOpposite Arches National Park was the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park, where we caught a sunrise at the Mesa Arch
Instead of going northeast of Capitol Reef, we also went southeast of there towards the Natural Bridges National Monument where we saw three major natural bridges, including the Owachomo Natural BridgeInstead of going northeast of Capitol Reef, we also went southeast of there towards the Natural Bridges National Monument where we saw 3 major natural bridges, including the Owachomo Natural Bridge
View of the Freemont River Waterfall backed by tall sandstone cliffsView of the waterfall backed by tall sandstone cliffs

Faint rainbow in the mist of the Freemont River WaterfallFaint rainbow in the mist of the Freemont River Waterfall

Another bonus for doing the Hickman Bridge hike (just minutes from the Freemont River Falls) is the Capitol Dome, which can be seen from the trailheadAnother bonus for doing the Hickman Bridge hike (just minutes from the Freemont River Falls) is the Capitol Dome, which can be seen from the trailhead


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We found this waterfall a little over 6 miles east on SH24 from the Fruita turnoff in Capitol Reef National Park (near mile post 86). The pullout for the falls was not signed during our visit so I'd imagine a combination of a map plus the car's odometer would help you find the correct place to pull over and check out the falls. Fortunately, it has a very large pullout and chances are there'll be other people and cars present so that might help make this spot easier to find.

To give you a little context, Fruita was about 12 miles drive west of Torrey. Torrey was about 9 hours drive from Los Angeles via Circleville and about 10 hours drive from Los Angeles via Escalante. You can cut 4 hours off of these drive times if you're coming from Las Vegas.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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