Capitol Reef Country has scenic diversity like no other place. Here in the “Land of Contrast and Solitude,” layered rock formations, cliffs, slot canyons, alpine forests, and verdant valleys create colorful contrasts, at elevations ranging from 4,000 to over 11,000 feet. Whether you’re shooting wide-angle landscapes or water droplets on a leaf, most photographers agree that Capitol Reef Country is a paradise of breathtaking panoramic vistas and intimate details.
The Utes called Capitol Reef National Park’s rugged Waterpocket Fold “The Land of the Sleeping Rainbow.” The nickname is easily visible in the colorful contrasts of exposed, eroded rock beneath blue sky. With nearly 250,000 acres of rugged and remote landscape, both casual amateurs and seasoned pros agree that the vast skyscape creates a brilliant backdrop for the colorful cliffs, buttes and monoliths that jut up from the horizon. Erosion has deeply carved Cathedral Valley’s towering red Entrada sandstone monoliths, some of which are capped in by contrasting gray-green sandstone from the Curtis Formation. Massive formations such as the Golden Throne, Chimney Rock, and Hickman Bridge provide an impressive still life as the light and shadows shift throughout the day. Details can also be captured in the ancient petroglyphs and pictographs, glimpses of wildlife, and even in the historic community of Fruita.
Photographers also find joy and opportunity in the diversity of Capitol Reef Country’s forests. Fishlake National Forest boasts gorgeous aspen groves, lush alpine meadows, beautiful lakes, and exceptional scenic drives. Dixie National Forest features high timbered plateaus, mountain lakes, aspen groves, and open meadows. At 11,317 feet, Bluebell Knoll on the Aquarius Plateau is the highest point in Wayne County and in Dixie National Forest. Hell’s Backbone and Death Hollow Wilderness Area’s vertical Navajo sandstone cliffs, remote landscape, and multitude of wildlife also create unprecedented photo opps. Thousand Lakes Mountain, Boulder Mountain, and the Henry Mountains show a diversity of landscape, which also changes on each mountain as you head up to higher elevations. Scenic Byway 12 begins the ascent to Boulder Mountain’ summit, where you’ll find lush aspen and pine forests at the high altitude, around 9,000 feet. Unpaved roads to the Henry Mountains give a completely different perspective. And just think of the panoramics in the distance.
Photographers seeking epic adventure shots need look no further, as Capitol Reef Country’s landscape lends itself to all kinds of thrills. Treks through the rugged back-country lead to breathtaking and unexpected vistas. On the flip side, the tiny communities that dot the region are ripe with quaint cultural and historical details. Fine art photography featuring landscapes, nature, and history can be found in the small galleries throughout Capitol Reef Country. Without a doubt, this is the ideal place to create picture perfect memories you won’t soon forget.