Capitol Reef National Park is like all the other Utah parks smoothed into one: towering slot canyons like Zion, mind-bending rock formations like Bryce, spans of Natural arches and bridges like Arches and expansive overlooks like Canyonlands. Throw in the Historic Fruita district at the center of the park where you can tour an old Mormon settlement, pick your own apples or pears and get incredible fresh pies and homemade ice cream and you have a park whose diversity is hard to beat.

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During our whole stay we were trying to figure out why Capitol Reef was the least visited of the 5 Utah National Parks. It’s probably just that it takes a bit more work to get there being secluded center of southern Utah.

We experienced firsthand the ruggedness of the park. Many of the destinations – in the south of the park and even on the most popular scenic drive – are reached by rough gravel roads (I was sweating for our car a lot). There’s even a whole section called Cathedral Valley in the north that requires driving through a river! We really wanted to check it out, but didn’t want to risk the drive with predicted rain. Even all our favorite hikes (Upper Muley Canyon and Sulphur¬†Creek) were not on trails, but suggested routes with cairns to mark the way.

In the end we fell in love with Capitol Reef and could have stayed another whole week. There are endless adventures to be had and  the extra effort it takes is so worth it!

Also check out our post on How to Visit Capitol Reef for (Almost) Free, Itinerary and People of the Parks!

Written by Cole

  • Dee

    Another memory through your beautiful pictures. Never thought anyone in our family would be writing about a little place called Fruita!!

  • Elizabeth, are you letting your hair grow and not cutting it during this adventure? Cole, I see you are not sporting a beard. (guess these are very stupid questions) “Curiosity killed the cat.”
    We just got back from a(week-long) cruise along the East Coast & into Canada. Touring: lighthouses, coves, Quebec City, architecture, sap-tapping, French-speaking Canadians, and so much more. Biggest challenge: customs!!! Heightened security is my guess.
    God Bless

  • T-Mama

    This is a great video. Lvoe the music. Could hear the sound of hte rushing river too. Great job!