Utah’s underrated national park is chock full of wild domes, natural bridges, and slot canyons. Have you visited Capitol Reef before? Share your favorite memory below!
ICONS: The Waterpocket Fold is the name of the defining, 100-mile-long sandstone barrier that made travel difficult here for centuries. Temple of the Sun and Moon are two towering monoliths in the park - you can’t miss ‘em! Fremont River and Sulphur Creek flow in the park, and their confluence marks the spot for public apple orchards. There’s Chimney Rock, a solitary rock spire of Moenkopi Sandstone. Other geologic formation are the natural Hickman Bridge, Capitol Gorge, and Cathedral Valley (not to be missed!).
THINGS TO DO: You can pick fruit from the park’s orchards when it’s marked as ready for harvest! And don’t miss driving and hiking to the icons above. Take Utah 24 for Hickman Bridge, Grand Wash, Capitol Gorge, and Scenic Drive. You’ll need to be ready to off-road through the desolate Cathedral Valley, but it’s well worth it! And there’s always Burr Trail Road if you’re looking for for slot canyons. If you want overlooks, you’re in luck: check out Panorama Point, Goosenecks Overlook, and Strike Valley Overlook don’t disappoint.
HISTORY: The Fremont people lived in the area around the year 1000, followed by Paiutes Mormon pioneers arrived in the 1880s, planting fruit trees by the thousands. Then, a local club began pushing for a state park in the 1920s. Pres. Roosevelt created Capitol Reef National Monument in 1937, and it became a national park in 1971.
LEAVE NO TRACE: Plan ahead and bring plenty of water, food, and protection from the sun! And don’t forget: don’t bust the crust! Stepping on biological soil crust destroys the important cryptobiotic soil - which is alive with microorganisms that lead to plants being able to grow in the desert. Instead, stick to slick rock, loose sand, gravel, trails, and washes.
Next week’s feature: Badlands National Park
1. Temple of the Sun @alphawanderlust
2. Rim Overlook Trail to Navajo Knobs Trail @ksway_26
3. Gifford Homestead Barn @jakesout
4. Cathedral Valley @talontroycullimore