Capitol Reef National Park was the second stop on our tour of the five Utah national parks. Along with those five national parks, we’re also planning to hit Four Corners and the Grand Canyon.
Capitol Reef is named for the Capitol-like dome formations found among the enormous cliffs and for the nearly 100 mile long reef-like fold in the earth’s crust known as the Waterpocket Fold.
This park is much different from Bryce, even though they are both located in southern Utah on the Colorado Plateau. Where Bryce is filled with gigantic, weird limestone rock formations called Hoodoos, Capitol Reef has towering red and yellow cliffs, narrow washes and canyons, and ancient petroglyphs carved almost 2,000 years ago by the predecessors of the Piute Indians.
We enjoyed hiking down the Grand Wash, a place you definitely don’t want to be if there’s even a hint of rain. Then we drove down some narrow canyons along bumpy dirt and gravel roads.
One unique feature in Capitol Reef is the small settlement of Fruita, a Mormon community from the 1800s. There are several historic buildings there along with a variety of fruit orchards. The orchards are “U-Pick”, so we picked 10 pounds of delicious fresh apples for $1.00/pound.