Capitol Reef National Park


This park is named Capitol Reef because it has a formation that apparently looks like the Capitol, and it seemed like a reef to early explorers trying to cross the desert. If you take the long way from Canyonlands to Bryce, you go right through it. It is clearly a less traveled park among the Mighty 5 of Utah. Admission is only $10, and there were a number of available campsites when we rolled in around lunchtime. Of course, this may have been because we were unseasonably early, and temperatures were only in the 50s- low 60s during the day, and dropped to the 30s overnight. The campground sits in a valley and we were subject to gale force winds. After a pretty brutal stretch of busy days at Arches and Canyonlands, we decided to take it easy and only did two little hikes up to overlooks of a few small miles each.

The park is based around the historic village of Fruita, which must be named after the plethora of fruit orchards. The town was a big fruit producer before it became a national park, and many of the buildings are still preserved and the orchards still produce fruit. Adam was a bit disappointed that there was no fruit to pick at this point, since apparently during the summer they let people in for an all-you-can-eat fruit smorgasbord.

This park definitely had the most incomprehensible geological features. Despite reading most of the available explanations in the park literature, I still have no idea how exactly this rock formation happened:

I am hoping Adam will go all XKCD What If on us here with a bonus blog post, but we haven’t sat still long enough for anything that sophisticated.


Adam and I really enjoyed the park, but the gale force winds blowing through the campsite made life in a tent really difficult, so we decided to head for Bryce after just one night here. This was a park we would love to revisit sometime with less wind and maybe a little more summer.

Here are some more pictures from our hikes:

Here’s Adam in front of the rock formation that gave the park its Capitol name.


Hickman’s Bridge. It’s a little hard to tell in this photo but I’m just in front of an arch.


At an overlook on the Hickman Bridge Trail.



2 thoughts on “Capitol Reef National Park”

  1. You both are on such an awesome journey that most could only dream of. I’m so enjoying catching up on your travels. Spectacular views and colors and of course the journal history too 🙂

  2. Looks great. Had to look up ‘XKCD what if’. In case anyone else needs to know as well it’s a serious scientific answer to an absurd hypothetical question. I, too, will now await for Adam’s XKCD what it…

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