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    The Fruita Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    5.0 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    60 m
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    Directions to Trailhead
    The Fruita Trail

    The Fruita Trail is an easy stroll through the historic Fruita district in Capitol Reef National Park. This area was a Mormon settlement in the late 1800s and early 1900s before the land was adopted and protected by the National Park Service. This trail will lead you past the historic orchards, the Gifford Farm House and even features petroglyphs that were drawn by the Indigenous peoples of the area, long before the Mormons arrived. If you have time, check out the one-room schoolhouse, built in 1896, that still stands tall today.

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    Route Description for The Fruita Trail

    The Fruita Trail is a great hike past wonderfully preserved pieces of American history. This trail gets very hot in the summer, so lather on the sunscreen, wear a sunhat and bring along enough water so that everyone in your hiking party can enjoy their walk. The trail itself is a flat stroll through the pioneer settlement of Fruita to the site of ancient petroglyphs that date back hundreds of years. Please do not touch or lean against the petroglyphs, and do not leave any markings of your own along the trail.

    This hike is a great way to get out with the whole family and spend some time exploring and learning about the history of this area. On your hike, check out the Gifford House: a farming homestead that was built in the early 1900s by Mormon settlers. If you have time, swing over to the Fruita Schoolhouse: a one-room school originally built in 1896 where all the children of Fruita learned under one roof. Orchards surround the entire walk with trees bearing apples, peaches, pears, plums, and more. The original pioneers of the area planted these trees. Picking fruit from these trees is permitted with payment during harvest season.

    From the Visitors Center, follow the path westward past the orchards to a divide. A quick out-and-back along the path to your right will take you to the Gifford House and farm. Continue along the trail to cross highway 24. On the north side of the highway, head west just 0.3 km to the petroglyphs. You can also head east a short distance to the schoolhouse.

    When you’ve had your fill exploring historic Fruita, follow the same path back to the Visitors Center where you began.

    Trail Highlights

    Fruita Schoolhouse

    The one-room Fruita Schoolhouse was originally built in 1896 and educated children from 1st grade to 8th grade all under one roof. The original school teacher, a young woman, named Nettie, began teaching classes at age 12. This building served the Fruita community as a schoolhouse and as a dance hall, election office, church, and community center.

    Gifford Homestead and Pendleton Barn

    The Gifford Homestead and barn were originally built by a man named Calvin Pendleton in 1908. Pendleton sold the home to a man named Jorgenson who then sold it to his son-in-law Dewey Gifford. The Gifford Family ran the farm for 41 years, raising cows, pigs, chickens, and cattle. They also grew fruit and nuts in the surrounding orchards. The Giffords were the last family to leave Fruita when they sold their land to the National Park Service in 1969.


    The Fruita Petroglyphs are a series of drawings created by the Fremont people who are Indigenous to this area. The Fremont people were Indigenous farmers, hunters, and gatherers who lived along the Fremont River 700-1400 years ago.

    Insider Hints for The Fruita Trail

    • This is a great hike for families with kids of all ages
    • Hike this trail in April-May to see the orchards in full bloom

    Getting to the The Fruita Trail Trailhead

    This hike begins at the Capitol Reef National Park Visitor’s Center off of highway 24.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Fruita Campground

    • When to do

      April to October

    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    The Fruita Trail Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

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    The Fruita Trail Reviews

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