Solitude in Capitol Reef Country
If there’s one thing you’re likely to stumble across in Capitol Reef Country, its peace and quiet. The scenically diverse landscape includes mountains, forests, and high desert defined by unbelievable sandstone formations, cliffs, canyons, lakes, and more—to create the haven of beauty, contrast, and solitude known as Capitol Reef Country.
Capitol Reef Country’s highlands are dominated by mountains, forests and lakes perfect for wildlife viewing, fishing, hiking, and mountain biking. The Henry Mountains are the most remote mountain range on the Colorado plateau, and two million acres ranging from 3,700 feet to over 11,000 feet, you are sure to find a quiet spot. The Fremont River, Fish Lake, Johnson Reservoir, and Boulder Mountain’s high-altitude lakes, not to mention smaller creeks dotted throughout the mountains and forests, offer some of the most peaceful fishing experiences imaginable. Thousand Lakes Mountain, especially in the high alpine country, is renowned for its quiet solitude. Bird watchers can explore any of the quiet backcountry or head to Bicknell Bottoms Wildlife Refuge, so peaceful you never know what you might see.
Within Dixie National Forest’s boundaries, Hell’s Backbone and Box Death Hollow Wilderness Area are some of the most remote and peaceful backcountry in Capitol Reef Country. Slickrock desert, pine and aspen forests, sheer vertical sandstone cliffs set the stage for quiet hikes, wildlife watching, and serene fishing in “The Box.”
The eastern high desert has been carved with canyons, cliffs, gorges, and mesas. Here you’ll find some of the most out-of-this-world landscape you’ll ever see on earth, resembling Mars and the moon. Hike remote North or South Caineville Mesa trails for a quiet, other-worldly experience. The badlands and bentonite hills east of Hanksville are especially remote, and you’re not likely to run into other hikers. There are many quietly beautiful slot canyons waiting to be explored also, like the “Irish Slot Canyons” near Hanksville.
Even Capitol Reef National Park delivers on solitude—it’s the least visited of Utah’s five national parks, but not because it’s lacking in scenic beauty and things to do. Quite the contrary, in fact; the “Land of the Sleeping Rainbow” is filled with beautiful, colorful contrasts of sandstone cliffs, arid deserts, and verdant riverbanks. Its sheer remoteness is the perfect setting for a quiet, peaceful getaway, especially in winter. Cathedral Valley is one of the most remote backcountry districts in Capitol Reef National Park, a vast, high desert landscape that sets the stage for its iconic sandstone monoliths.
Wherever you go in Capitol Reef Country, you can rest assured there is a quiet spot waiting just for you.