Headquarters Canyon |

Notom Road

Hiking Headquarters Canyon - Notom Road Hiking Headquarters Canyon
Notom Road

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments


TICKS & TODOS: 10 Todo Lists / 3 Ticks
RATING: Easy Hiking
LENGTH: 2-3 hours
GEAR: Standard Hiking Gear
MAPS: The Post, UT;
WATER: None.
SEASON: Any, hot in the summer
Thu Hi:57 Lo:39 Fri Hi:66 Lo:40 Sat Hi:74 Lo:43 Sun Hi:75 Lo:47 Mon Hi:68 Lo:46
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Short and sweet, this is a family friendly canyon I would highly recommend if passing through the area. It, in my opinion, is quite a bit prettier and more interesting than its very near neighbor Surprise Canyon. A short approach and nice narrows make it a good outing most of the year, though will be brutally hot during the day in peak summer.

Getting There

Travel east out of Capitol Reef National Park on highway 24. Just past the park, 0.25 miles, is the well signed Notom road.

  • Turn south onto Notom Road and reset your odometer. ( 12S 488763mE 4237262mN / N38° 17' 00" W111° 07' 43" )
  • At 13.6 miles, is the Sandy Creek Junction. Stay right on the Notom road here. ( 12S 493913mE 4217290mN / N38° 06' 12" W111° 04' 10" )
  • At 13.9 miles, is the second Sandy Creek Junction. Stay right on the Notom road here. ( 12S 494104mE 4216858mN / N38° 05' 58" W111° 04' 02" )
  • 21.2 miles to the Cedar Mesa Campground on the right (west) side of the road. ( 12S 492760mE 4206611mN / N38° 00' 26" W111° 04' 57" )
  • Burr Trail junction is at 32.5 miles. Stay straight, heading toward Bullfrog. ( 12S 498890mE 4189788mN / N37° 51' 20" W111° 00' 45" )
  • 34.3 miles from highway 24, the Surprise Canyon trailhead is a small turn out on the right (west) side and is signed. ( 12S 500983mE 4187875mN / N37° 50' 18" W110° 59' 20" )
  • 34.8 miles - Headquarters Canyon trailhead parking is on the left. The Post side road is off on the right. This goes 0.5 miles to the Halls Creek/Lower Muley Twist Trailhead. ( 12S 501614mE 4187295mN / N37° 49' 59" W110° 58' 54" )


From the small parking area, head west on the trail toward the reef. Headquarters Canyon is the pink striped canyon visible almost due west of the trailhead. The trail crosses the valley bottom to the base of the sandstone dome, then cuts slightly south over a low ridge and down to the wash bottom.

In the wash bottom, go right (north) and follow the wash. It soon snakes around and enters a reef via a deep and sinuous short section of slot canyon. Beautiful!

Above the slot, the canyon opens. Continuing up, the canyon narrows again after a few bends at an interesting steep section with a sandstone floored bottom. At the top of this short section is a moderately difficult upclimb, then the canyon ends at a steep cliff. Return the same way.


Printable Maps:

12S 501616mE 4187294mN

N37° 49' 59" W110° 58' 54"

Wash Bottom

12S 501241mE 4186754mN

N37° 49' 42" W110° 59' 09"


12S 500905mE 4186749mN

N37° 49' 41" W110° 59' 23"


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