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  • Writer's pictureBrian Childress

Capitol Reef National Park - Utah

Capitol Reef National Park is an American national park in south-central Utah. The park is approximately 60 miles long on its north–south axis and just 6 miles wide on average. The park was established in 197 to preserve 241,904 acres of desert landscape and is open all year, with May through September being the highest visitation months.

The majority of the nearly 100 mi long up-thrust formation called the Waterpocket Fold—a rocky spine extending from Thousand Lake Mountain to Lake Powell—is preserved within the park. Capitol Reef is an especially rugged and spectacular segment of the Waterpocket Fold by the Fremont River. The park was named for its whitish Navajo Sandstone cliffs with dome formations—similar to the white domes often placed on capitol buildings—that run from the Fremont River to Pleasant Creek on the Waterpocket Fold. Locally, reef refers to any rocky barrier to land travel, just as ocean reefs are barriers to sea travel.

We visited this park in the fall which helped with the Utah sun and heat. The views were spectacular to include the dome formations throughout the park which change colors based on the sun location.

Wildlife to expect include desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, mountain lions, white-tailed antelope squirrel, rock squirrel, and various reptiles.

Our experience is this park is one you should go out of the way to visit. The various domes, natural bridges, and water pocket folds set it apart.

Contact Information:

HC 70, Box 15

Torrey, UT84775 Website:

Phone: (435) 425-3791

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