Capitol Reef National Park

capitol reef national park

capitol reef airstream view

Had you heard of Capitol Reef National Park? We hadn’t until we started researching our first Big Trip, and much like another National Park we didn’t know, it was a treat.

The park is named for a white domed rock that resembles the a capitol building, and because the rocky cliffs were once a barrier to travel like coral reefs. Those cliffs house canyons, arches, bridges, and views of the crumpled geology along the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile long wrinkle in the Earth’s crust that exposes millions of years of sedimentary rock layers.

Over two days on Big Trip #1 and a quick stop on Big Trip #2, we hiked several trails (descriptions here, and the ranger also recommended Fremont Gorge for sunset):

  • Cohab Canyon (3.4 mile out-and-back)
  • Rim Overlook (4.6 mile out-and-back) (the ranger said if you hike Rim Overlook, there’s no need to do Hickman Bridge separately)
  • Cassidy Arch (3.4 mile out-and-back)
  • Chimney Rock Loop (3.6 mile loop)

and had a brunch picnic in the back of the truck with Bugsy at Slickrock Divide on the Scenic Road. Capitol Reef is lovely, and oddly was not crowded at all–perhaps because it’s a bit off the beaten path, at the far eastern end of Route 12. If you’re visiting Bryce, you should carve out a couple days to swing over the Hogback (stopping at Hell’s Backbone Grill on the way) to Torrey and hike around Capitol Reef.

capitol reef national park

capitol reef national park

capitol reef national park

capitol reef national park

capitol reef national park

capitol reef national park

capitol reef national park

capitol reef national park

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