The geological characteristics of Capitol Reef National Park are no doubt just as intrigueing as they are beautiful. These incredible rock formations of all shapes and sizes were formed over millions of years as a result of water, erosion, weather, and other natural activities of the earth. My visit here, though very short, was amazing and eye opening. I put together this photo journal of our visit from 2018 of things to see in Capitol Reef National Park. I hope you enjoy these brilliant landscapes of pure beauty!
Covid19 Update: The park is now open for all recreational opportunities. Camping is available on a limited basis, visit the national park website for current information.
Red Cliffs and Landscapes
Capitol Reef National Park can be described by its vibrant palette of red hues that are on display everywhere across the landscape in this part of Utah. This park consists of folded geological shapes, lifted rugged earth that was created millions of years ago. There are an abundance of amazing things to see in Capitol Reef!
The geological feature that defines Capitol Reef is a wrinkle in the earth’s crust that extends nearly 100 miles from Thousand Lake Mountain to Lake Powell. The Waterpocket Fold was created as a result of deposition, uplifting, and erosion of the rock layers. (Source: Capitol Reef info brochure)
Last Minute Road Trip
A business trip to Utah is our main reason we were here. We made a last minute decision to take a road trip to visit another national park while here in Utah. And wow; it was the best decision we made! The drive from Salt Lake City is over 400 miles round trip. As a result of being so far, it did make for a bit of a stressful experience. Unfortunately, our time to explore the park is very limited because we had a flight scheduled to return home from Salt Lake City later on this day.
This national park did not disappoint with its towering cliffs, massive domes, arches and bridges; this bedrock of beauty is spectacular! Our park experience primarily consisted of the nature drive along the ‘Scenic Drive’ in the park.
As you peruse through the park, you might think there is no life here. But if you look closely, this place is home to over 100 species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish; 239 species of birds; over 900 species of plants; and 33 ecological systems. (Source: Capitol Reef Park brochure)
Take a preview of these captions; they include some highlights and points of interest of the surrounding landscapes.
The Fluted Wall
More Capitol Reef Features
The magical place of this land is truly mesmerizing. It has the potential to leave you speechless. There is a short trail in this area of Hickman Bridge that takes you to an overlook with incredible views.
Utah is one of the prettiest places to visit during the Fall season. It was in October when we explored this beautiful national park. And as you can see, the vibrant color of the leaves on the trees is quite dramatic against the red canyon rocks in the back drop!
Path to the historical petroglyphs area.
“…the light seems to flow or shine out of the rock rather than to be reflected from it.”-Clarence Dutton, geologist and early explorer of Capitol Reef, 1880s.
This is a mare sneak peek of what we saw here today. There is still much more to explore in this unique and interesting national park. If you’re an avid hiker, there is an abundance of trails. Here are a few more must-see points of interest:
- Chimney Rock
- Grand Wash
- Cassidy Arch
- Cohab Canyon
- Scenic Drive
- Hickman Bridge
More info below for your next visit:
Capitol Reef National Park
HC 70, Box 15
Torrey, UT 84775
Want to see more of Utah? Read about my amazing hiking adventure here:
Zion National Park