Capitol Reef National Park
The best vacations zoom you in and out: What’s right in front of your face makes you consider broader contexts, and the expanding horizon helps you understand the value of your current little patch of ground. The beach… the mountains… the Pyramids of Giza… and Capitol Reef National Park.
Capitol Reef National Park is a 100-mile pinch in the earth’s crust in the geographical middle of nowhere, but it’s overloaded with geological, cultural and sensory consequence. A tiny cross-section of the spinning rock we’re clinging to. Named for Read more...
Things to Do
Capitol Reef National Park
From Salt Lake City or Las Vegas
Salt Lake City- 290 miles to Capitol Reef
Las Vegas, NV- 360 miles to Capitol Reef
Traveling on Interstate 15: Take I-70 east (exit 132). At the junction with Utah State Highway 89/259, turn right (south). Then turn left (east) onto Utah State Highway 24. Continue on Highway 24 for 82 miles to reach the Capitol Reef Park Visitor Center.
From Grand Junction, CO
196 miles to Capitol Reef
Traveling westbound on Interstate 70: Take Utah State Highway 24 west towards Hanksville (exit 149). Stay on Highway 24 for 95 miles to reach the Capitol Reef Park Visitor Center.
Travel Bureau Information
Capitol Reef Country Travel Council
Request Info & Brochure
There’s the Waterpocket Fold…
...a jagged scar where the devil dragged his pitchfork on the way to Las Vegas (a.k.a a monocline — the seam left over when shifting plates lifted one side of a fault 7,000 feet). Spend three days absorbing what took 70 million years and two major geologic events to create.
There are red and white rock bands…
…more virtuosic than Jack White hisself. The Waterpocket fold horizontalizes layers of white Navajo Sandstone, red Wingate, shale and pinkish Entrada Sandstone like an entropic chunk of tipped cake. Depending on where you stand, the stripes are half an inch or half a mile wide. (You may find the iron in the red rocks magnetizes your camera lens.)
There are ruined civilizations…
…both ancient and recent. Fremont Indian rock shelters a mile and a thousand years from Mormon settlers’ cabins. Pictographs and grinding stones in the cliffs; a one-room schoolhouse, flourishing orchards and the Gifford House's homemade pie in Fruita down below. See how earlier Utahns lived and see if they didn’t do a few things better than us.
There's one of the darkest skies you'll ever see...
...which equates to the most stars you might ever see. Capitol Reef is an International Dark Sky Park, certified by the International Dark-Sky Association (we're talking gold-tier status). With so little artificial light, you'll see the Milky Way like the area's pioneer settlers did. Click here to see the park's clear sky chart.
Narrow rivers cutting gaping Goosenecks. Chimney Rock. Hickman Bridge. Broken towers’ jagged shadows. Look deep into the earth’s time and space from this one little foothold on, say, a Tuesday.
Drive, camp and hike. Consider the bighorn sheep.
Zoom in. Zoom out.