“In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks. ” – John Muir
Hiking around Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Capitol Reef National Park wasn’t on our original itinerary for our Utah parks trip, but when we realized it was not too far out of the way between Moab (the town near Arches and Canyonlands) and our next stop, Bryce Canyon National Park, we headed that way to check it out.
The Drive: Moab —> Capitol Reef —> Bryce Canyon
We left Moab and drove through the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. The scenery was breathtaking. After leaving Capitol Reef we drove all of Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 to get to the very small town of Bryce Canyon. Some areas of this drive were the most remote I may have ever been.
Capitol Gorge Trail
After leaving the visitor’s center, we drove the whole Scenic Drive through the park and then drove down a short dirt road to the Capitol Gorge trail, a great one-mile hike between two canyon walls. It was one of my favorite hikes of our Utah parks trip.
Pioneer Registry and Petroglyphs
We saw both petroglyphs and and a “Pioneer Registry” at the park. The Pioneer Registry was part of the Capitol Gorge hike. The gorge used to be the the only road to town, and the pioneers would carve their names into the canyon walls on their way to town.
The tiny Mormon settlement of Fruita is part of Capitol Reef National Park. Some of the historic buildings, like the schoolhouse, are still standing. They also have orchards — you can pick fruit from the orchards when it’s in season.
I recommend buying homemade pie and coffee at the Gifford Homestead!
INTERESTED IN VISITING THE PARKS IN UTAH?
VisitUtah.com has published several itinerary options for visiting Utah’s “Mighty 5” National Parks.
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