Choosing to do this long drive ended up being a wonderful idea because my kids SLEPT. So, for families who have toddlers/kids who still need that mid-afternoon nap I absolutely recommend doing this.
Do a hike or two in the morning and then instead of trying to get them to sleep in a tent or dealing with grumpy kids, go on a long hike and have them sleep in the car! (If your kids can sleep in the car that is, not everyone is lucky.)
The views on this road are GORGEOUS. The road is in pretty good condition too. It is a dirt road, but there weren’t crazy amounts of boulders on the path. You could take a mini-van to Temple of the Moon/Sun without any problems. :)
The sinkhole was pretty impressive too. It is a short little walk from the road to this giant hole in the ground.
I highly recommend this trip with families who need to fit in nap time somewhere. (Also, if your kids are likely going to sleep in the car too.)
My kids slept on this drive! And I got to soak in the scenes!
Be sure to check other hikes and things to do in Capitol Reef National Park.
From the visitor center I would head towards Caineville. If you get to Caineville you’ve gone too far. The turn off is a “County Road” and it will be on your left, as you are approaching Caineville, it will be on your right if you hit Caineville and need to turn around. ;) Once you turn on to the road you will see a sign that gives you miles of the distances to Temple of the Sun/Moon and the Gypsum Sinkhole. Follow the road. The road bifurcates as soon as you get in. We went left, but we realized the right road was also going to the same direction. You may have some serious doubts if you are on the right road, but if you just stay on the main road and don’t go off some smaller dirt roads you will be fine. Although, I would have appreciated some type of sign or reminder to confirm that I was going in the right direction from time to time.
Potential Hazards and Warnings.
We did a loop that took FOREVER and took us past Cathedral Valley Campground and the Upper and Lower panoramic views. It was really pretty, however the loop required us to “ford” a river to meet up back to State Highway 24. The river was low when we drove our car across it, and this was in the beginning of May, but I’m not sure what that is like throughout the year. If you are familiar with the river flow conditions of this area I would recommend doing the loop, but other than that I do not know if I would recommend the loop for everyone. Depending on your time frame I would either drive out to see the Temple of the Sun/Moon and/or The Gypsum Salt Sinkhole then drive back towards Caineville, the road on which you entered Cathedral Valley.
Also, it’s important to note,that after the Gypsum Salt Sinkhole and before the Cathedral Valley Campground, the road gets pretty rocky with large sharp rocks. I drive a Honda Pilot and didn’t have any problems and I think if you know how to drive a low-clearance vehicle over big rocks, you should be fine too. The road wasn’t that uneven and rocky, but enough that some level of skill is required.However, if you get paranoid about stuff like that, don’t do the loop. Besides this small section, the road seemed great for all car types.