Capitol Reef National Park


Capitol Reef was my favorite Utah park.  The marquee feature here is the Waterpocket Fold, alternatively known as a monocline.  It’s a wrinkle in the Earth’s crust.  That just sounds amazing, doesn’t it??  NPS describes it as a one-sided fold in otherwise horizontal rock layers. The Waterpocket Fold is a magnificent feature that can be seen from far away.

Okay, so I took geology for my science credits but I’m nowhere near a geology nerd.  I liked this park for a number of reasons.

We took the scenic drive from Fruita to Capitol Gorge.  The last couple of miles were gravel.  Then we took off on foot into the gorge.  Nice, hot walk.

Along the way, we came across American Indian petroglyphs as well as the Pioneer Register.  The Pioneer Register contains names and dates inscribed by pioneers as they traveled through the gorge.


Near the Visitor Center is the small historic settlement of Fruita.  This was a Mormon settlement in the 1880’s.  They irrigated the fields and planted orchards.  The National Park Service still maintains the orchards, including apples, apricots and nuts, and lets visitors pick and eat fruit while in the orchards and pay a nominal fee if they want to take fruit out of the orchard.  There was a campground right next to the apricot orchard.  My Dad would have loved this place.  I can just see him walking from the old Airstream or Dreamer camper over to the orchard and chomping down on a juicy piece of fruit.

There was a gift shop in one of the old pioneer homes and each morning they bake individual pies for sale.  I bought an apple pie and enjoyed it the next morning for breakfast.

Our route from Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef took us along Utah’s Highway 12 which is a treat in itself.  It travels through the Red Canyon and along the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.  It’s a beautiful drive but not for the faint of heart.  A section of it is known as the Hogsback and the road literally drops off into the canyons on both sides with very little shoulder as cushion.  One of the viewpoints said that this area was the last in the lower 48 to be surveyed.  We have been so fortunate to have stumbled onto beautiful drives like this one during our trip.


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