The Fremont River waterfall area in Capitol Reef National Park has been closed to public access, and will remain closed throughout the warm months. This is a very unfortunate thing, because, in our opinion, it’s one of the more unique things to be seen in the region.
However, this feature is not a natural one. It was created when the river was rerouted for the construction of Utah Highway 24. The river has since cut a deep slot in the sandstone above the falls, resulting in a very scenic, but quite dangerous area. The area closure resulted from three nearly fatal incidents in the summer of 2011.
While it’s understandable that the park service needs to protect visitors, it’s unfortunate that everyone loses access to this beautiful area. Frankly, it’s very obvious that the area is dangerous, and that swimming there is a terrible idea. Nevertheless, apparently people do it anyway. Because of this, everyone, even those able to exercise care and common sense, can no longer make this area part of their visit. I’ve personally been to this area several times, and never felt in danger. But then, I exercise common sense. This area is no more dangerous than hundreds of other sites in the national parks. Perhaps now, when people drive by this spot and see it closed, they will think twice before doing dumb things at other areas.