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:
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: