National Parks of Utah – Capitol Reef

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Utah has 5 national parks, which is the third most in the USA, with Alaska and California having a few more. I thought I’d give a run down of Utah’s as we have now had chance to visit them.

Most recently we visited Capitol Reef, one of the smaller parks, Capitol reef sits near Arches and Canyonlands – which I’ll write about soon. The drive there is fairly straight forward and you also pass through some small rural communities and old towns that look like you could have stepped into the wild west. the park itself is one of the smaller national parks but it has gorgeous red rocks, some of the deepest reds I’ve seen so far, and several petroglyphs.

Capitol reef was settle by a Mormon community and one point and still has some old houses and a historic orchard. There is also aspects of Fremont culture. We spent some time in the visitor centre and went onto the scenic drive. This had lots of rock formations and stunning landscape. And the end of the drive – it’s along a one way road we went along to the tanks and walked for a while, finding some frozen pools and enjoying the near silence.

One of the most exiting part of Capitol Reef, aside from the many back country walks and places out of reach by car is the ‘wrinkle on the earth’ its a geological feature and is known as the water pocket fold. Unfortunately the scenic drive doesn’t offer any views of this, but there are several walks to overlooks, or a drive in the north in summer. In winter you can see it if you drive off road and have a bit of a walk towards the end.

The main canyon areas flood easily so check the weather before venturing out! we had beautiful clear blue skies, although a storm rolled in after we left and driving back in the snow wasn’t a great deal of fun! Fortunately the mid-west prepared us well for this.

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