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March 18, 2013 / mws

2013 Capitol Reef National Park March

March 19  2013

This morning we left Bryce Canyon City and continued northeast with our target destination of Torrey, Utah.  We travelled on Scenic Byway 12 which spans a route of 124 miles, and travels through some of the most diverse, remote and ruggedly beautiful landscapes in the country.


Captiol Reef National Park

We arrived in Capitol Reef around Noon and decided to do the Scenic Drive.  The first stop was at the historic Gifford House with a museum and a few gift items.  The big hit here is the bakery items.  We purchased cranberry and pumpkin scones…delicious!!

Capitol Reef Scenic Drive displays a majestic landscape of multi-hued rock layers.  The park is a preservation of the natural Waterpocket Fold created millions of years ago.  There are massive domes, soaring spires, stark monoliths, vast canyons and colorful arches.


Capitol Gorge Road

We enjoyed the drive on this crisp sunny day.  The Scenic Drive officially ends at Capitol Gorge.  We continued on the unpaved but well maintained dirt road to drive into the gorge along the canyon walls.  At the end of the dirt road is the Capitol Gorge Trail.  We took the trail partway into the gorge to get the feel of the amazing canyon.

After a long and enjoyable day, we checked into the Captiol Reef Best Western in our room with a view!

March 20 2013

It was a cool and cloudy day; a good day for hiking.  After looking over the maps and info, we decided on trying the Hickman Bridge Trail.

Hickman Bridge

Massive Hickman Bridge

Just two miles east of the Capitol Reef visitor center, the trailhead to Hickman Bridge offers hikers a spectacular scenic trek up to a large natural arch. The trail provides access to some amazing landscapes in every direction.  There were lots of rock stairs on this trail along with some level sandy stretches. Along the trail is a tunnel with open roof windows.  It’s wise to have a hiking stick for this trek.  Since we were here very early in the season we had the trail to ourselves and enjoyed the scenic solitude.

Fruita Schoolhouse

Fruita Schoolhouse

After the hike we took a break and stopped at the Gifford House for more scones!!

In the afternoon we toured the historic district.  This includes the petroglyphs area and the Historic Fruita Schoolhouse.  The schoolhouse was not open but you could peer in the windows.  Even though the photo of the interior of the schoolhouse isn’t that great, it had to be included.  When Lance looked in the schoolhouse window, he said “Oh, Look!  There’s a mini-ipad on every desk!!!” How far we have come in a century!

March 21 2013
Notom Road

Notom Road

Notom Road runs north-south through the Waterpocket Fold.  The Waterpocket Fold is defined as a geological wrinkle in the earth.  The Waterpocket Fold formed between 50 and 70 million years ago when a major mountain building event occurred in western North America.

The Notom Road has a dirt surface and is subject to changes in weather conditions and there are warnings posted about driving in adverse weather.  The view at the beginning of the traverse is dominated by the ubiquitous Capitol Reef domes.
There is a private ranch located where the town of Notom once stood. The Henry Mountains to the east and the many canyons on both sides of the road add to the memorable panoramas.  This was a interesting drive along the edge of Capitol Reef National Park.
IMG_0643The scenic drive area called to us again, so we returned to try the Grand Wash Road.  From the paved scenic drive, a twisting dirt spur takes visitors into Grand Wash.  Here was another view of the domes and spires.  For the least visited national park in Utah, Capitol Reef sure has a lot to offer!
We made one last stop to get a picture of the famous Capitol Reef Barn. Content with our Capitol Reef adventures, we called it a day awaiting the next day’s journey to Zion.

To see more photos of our trip to Capitol Reef  Park, click here  

Today, across our land, the National Park System represents America at its best.     George B. Hartzog, Jr., NPS Director, 1964-1972

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One Comment

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  1. neihtn2012 / Apr 16 2013 2:06 pm

    Very nice photos. We are planning to go there in early June.

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