Capitol Reef National Park is legendary Utah minus the crowds. Skip the parks in southern Utah and instead head for this often overlooked area filled with a diverse array of wildlife, plants, and geological formations. Try checking this place out in October when the pinched slot canyons and cottonwood groves are most deserted. For a beautiful, but strenuous 10-mile day hike, start at the Chimney Rock trailhead, following the Chimney Rock Loop Trail until you can leave the trail, heading northeast down a separate canyon. After a mile or so, throw down your packs and take advantage of awesome bouldering in a side canyon to the left. There’s no need for a crash pad since the canyon bottom is sandy and soft. After a jaunt on the rocks, keep going north through the slot canyons. Keep an eye out for groups of desert big horn sheep. For another short side trip, head north up Spring Canyon to locate some of the natural springs. Arrange for a friend to pick you up at the end of your hike at milepost 83 (14.5 miles north of Torrey, UT). When all the side trips are said and done, you can turn this short day hike into a bit more of a physical challenge, adding up to about a whopping 17 miles for the day. Before heading out, make sure to check Fremont River’s levels. If it has been rained the previous week or so, the river can be wide and raging, forcing you to take a swim in order to cross to your pick-up point.