I was anxious about going to Capitol Reef. It was a bit risky: Arches and Canyonlands are around the corner from each other, while Capitol Reef is getting pretty deep into Utah. So after the first two, we didn’t really know what this third park was going to give us after a 3 hour drive further from our home. The weather was calling for a wintry rain/snow mix, after a night of cold rain already. So I was definitely nervous about the fate of the rest of our trip.
But we didn’t really have another option, so off we went to Capitol Reef.
And it was very, very, very worth it. I hadn’t realized the lack of research I did for this park; I was so hype about Arches and Moab that I didn’t pay as much attention to Capitol Reef. And that was almost better, because not knowing much plus all the anxiety listed above actually lowered my expectations, I think… which then allowed the beauty and astonishing views at the park to exceed them by an insane amount!!!
We travelled in the from east, and started freaking out almost instantly. You enter a park through a really cool canyon, with cliffs and domes surrounding you in your drive. Do you see these color explosions??? Expectations already rising.
We learned the park has a really interesting history – it surrounds a long ‘wrinkle’ in the terrain known as the Waterpocket Fold. The fold caused a lot of layers of golden sandstone, red canyons, and really crazy rock formations. There used to be a village of Mormons that developed the Fruita Rural Historic District. The schoolhouse is still there!!!!
The colors to be found in Capitol Reef National Park really blew me away. Like.. ok. Wow. Expectations completely surpassed and beat and shattered.
I definitely didn’t expect the views, colors, and canyons of this park. It’s in south-central part of Utah, an area that’s not too accessed, and definitely not visited as much as it deserved. Utah has 5 national parks – Arches and Canyonlands in the east, Bryce Canyon and Zion on the west. But Capitol Reef is right in the middle, allowing those who are willing to overcome their anxiety and nervousness to enjoy a really neat park.