The Grand Wash is a narrows section in Capitol Reef is perfect for all ages and abilities. In the morning this is partially shaded, but not very shady in the afternoon. The Grand Wash got it’s name, because it’s where all the water collects after running down the canyon walls after the rain, so you definitely cannot hike this if rain is expected. This is one we took our kids on when they were all young, because it’s nice and flat. The Grand Wash actually goes all the way through from Highway 24 to the Cassidy Arch Trail, off the Scenic Drive. You can begin on that side and go through however long and then turn around, or if you have a shuttle you can do it one way though. The narrowest part of the canyon is on the Highway 24 side, so I will explain it that way.
The Highway 24 trailhead (northeast side) begins with some sand and cairns that kids can play in.
At first the canyon is fairly wide to walk though.
About a half mile into the hike, the canyon walls start to narrow, but it never gets super narrow like a slot canyon.
There are lots of little holes in the canyon walls for kids to play in.
When we hiked this originally, it was an August afternoon, so it was super hot. So we just went a little past the narrows and then turned around. If you go the full 2.2 miles of the Grand Wash, you come to the side by Cassidy Arch, so here are pictures from the southwest end of the Grand Wash Trail when we came back a few years later.
Stats: Distance – 4.4 miles there and back (can turn around at any point or do a 2.2 miles one-way)
Approximate hiking time – 2-4 hours
Elevation gain – 400 feet
Difficulty – Easy
Trail – trail of dirt and rocks
Bathrooms – At Trailhead
Seasons to hike – Year-Round
Permits needed – $20 per car for a 7-day pass (or a National Parks Pass)
Pets allowed – No
Map to Highway 24 Trailhead (northeast side near Narrows)
Map to Scenic Drive Trailhead (southwest side by Cassidy Arch)