All About Visiting Capitol Reef Country | Adventure Blog

Capitol Reef Country - Blog

Burr Trail

Originally developed as a cattle trail by stockman John Atlantic Burr, the Burr Trail Scenic Backway passes through three iconic parks starting at Boulder Utah to the north located on Highway 12 to Bullfrog Basin and Ticaboo Utah to the south on Highway 276. The route offers backcountry access to numerous trails and canyons through the painted rock desert of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Waterpocket Fold, Badlands of Capitol Reef National Park, and slickrock […]

Capitol Reef Country Photography Locations

Overview: Capitol Reef Country is a destination with an overabundance of scenic photo opportunities. How can you have too many photo op locations you ask? Well, it’s not so much that there are too many, but the number of locations is so significant that you won’t be able to reach them all in just one trip, nor would you want to rush through these places just to acquire a photograph. Here’s a brief list of […]

Stargazing in Capitol Reef––An International Dark Sky Park

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars. So many people often have to travel great distances to escape city lights and see starry night skies. In fact, nearly two thirds of Americans live in areas where it’s difficult to see stars glimmering, and about one third of the world’s population miss out completely on the beauty of stargazing. Our Southern Utah friends are lucky enough to have easy access to stunning views of the […]

Fall in Capitol Reef Country  

Ah, fall. Is there a more beautiful season in Capitol Reef Country? Truly, every season has something special, but there’s just something magical about this “beUTAHfall” time of year. Surrounded by three mountain ranges of various elevations, the red rock canyons and high plateaus of Capitol Reef Country feature a kaleidoscope of changing colors from September through November, west to east throughout Capitol Reef Country.  Peak Zones Varying elevations create a multitude of peak fall […]

Hiking the Little Wild Horse Canyon & Bell Canyon Loop

Located in the San Rafael Swell, just five miles from Goblin Valley State Park, Little Wild Horse Canyon is a popular slot canyon hike with families and adventurers of all skill levels. The trail is relatively easy, with a bit of scrambling and bouldering throughout, but no major rappelling or technical skills required. Combine it with Bell Canyon for an adventurous, family-friendly loop. Hike Overview Little Wild Horse is the easiest slot canyon to reach […]

Trails I’ve Hiked: Chimney Rock Canyon

By Kurt Repanshek – National Park Traveler    Don’t think that because historic Fruita seems to be mentioned in the same breadth with “Capitol Reef National Park” that this park isn’t for hikers and backpackers. It is one of the more rugged and demanding parks in the system, one that tests not only how much water you can carry, but at times your route-finding skills. My wife and I stuck our collective toes into the hiking side […]

Sunset and Goosenecks Trails

The national parks of Utah are well known for their hiking trails, which offer visitors a front row seat to the iconic landscape of southern Utah. Hiking really is the best way to enjoy the beauty of the parks. Capitol Reef is no exception. The best views of the cliffs, canyons, and its many domes are along the routes with the main attractions often at the end of the trail. Many of the best known […]

A Day at Capitol Reef National Park

Travelers coming to Utah to visit the state’s five national parks known as the Mighty 5,  generally plan a day, or less, at each of the parks. They’re on a tight schedule with much ground to cover. Zion is located in the far southwest corner of the state near the Arizona border, Arches near the Colorado Utah state line on the east, Capitol Reef in the middle. These trips are generally five to seven days […]

Highway 24 Roadside Attractions

Wayne County Utah, aka, Capitol Reef Country, is in the southcentral part of the state with borders that stretch from Fish lake Plateau on the western side to Canyonlands National Park in the east, with the Green River forming the eastern boundary. Between these two borders lies a plethora of scenic attractions, natural wonders, and historic points of interest. State Route 24 is Wayne County’s main highway that connects the region’s small towns and scenic […]

Capitol Gorge

With only two paved roads, UT-24 and the Scenic Drive, a large percentage of the park is accessible only by dirt roads and primitive trails. Most of this backcountry area is rarely visited by tourists since it requires getting off the beaten path and going to areas that often require 4×4 and high clearance vehicles. This is where serious hikers and backpackers will be found who are looking for open space and adventure. There are […]

Boulder Mountain Scenic Overlooks

Where are the best places to view southern Utah’s remarkable landscape? Generally the best views are from high points where you can see in panoramic vision the vastness of its convoluted topography. These elevated locations reveal what looks like earth still under construction. From deep canyons to towering cliffs, mesas and plateaus, you must go high to take it all in. Highway 12, Utah’s highly rated All American Road and National Scenic Byway, connects US-89 […]

Goblin Valley State Park

Visitors worldwide travel to Utah to see the state’s five national parks, the Mighty 5. Utah has become a bucket list destination for millions. But it’s not always Utah’s national parks that get the most oohs and ahhs.  Utah State Parks In addition to the Mighty 5 national parks, Utah has 44 state parks and recreation areas, many of which could easily be national parks. Of these parks, Goblin Valley in south central Utah stands […]

Capitol Reef Scenic Drive

There are only two paved roads within the park boundaries at Capitol Reef National Park; SR-24, which is the main road through the park, and the Scenic Drive. All other roads are either dirt or graded dirt. Of the five national parks in Utah, Capitol Reef  is one of the most primitive, which makes it a popular destination for exploring away from the tourist routes. There is no fee to drive SR-24 through the park […]

Hanksville Basecamp to Adventure

Hanksville Utah     Located at the crossroads of highways 24 and 95, both of which are scenic byways, sits Hanksville Utah, a principal junction for this remote southern region of Utah. From the early years when the land was being explored and settled to today’s visitors seeking adventure and scenic landscapes, Hanksville is one of Utah’s remote places that has changed very little. Its isolated location in an unusual landscape that seems to separate […]

Hickman Natural Bridge

Widely known as a hiker’s park, Capitol Reef National Park is a treasure trove of many scenic trails from classic routes through washes to rim view overlooks. It’s also home to 20 plus natural arches, many having trails that lead to them including Hickman Bridge Natural Arch. With an easy to reach trailhead on highway 24, the main road through the park, Hickman Natural Bridge is park favorite with visitors. Located two miles east from […]

The Curse of Henry Mountains’ Spanish Gold

The Henry Mountains at sunset For over 300 years the curse of the Henry Mountains has persisted. Like many folk stories, the tale begins with greed and ends in ruination. Fact and fiction are woven together in this tale making it more legend than truth. “To him who reopened the mines will some great calamity come,” wrote Edward T. Wolverton in his 1928 manuscript, Legends, Traditions and Early History of the Henry Mountains. “His blood […]

Thousand Lake Mountain: A Year-Round Adventure

An aspen grove in the Thousand Lakes Mountain area Thousand Lake Mountain is never short of year-round, outdoor adventure for those who seek a new favorite place. Nestled away in the eastern part of Fishlake National Forest, Thousand Lake Mountain stands like a centurion guarding Capitol Reef National Park to the southwest. Off-the grid travelers love Thousand Lake Mountain for the solitude. One can expect some form of sensory overload as the terrain changes from […]

Exploring the uncharted territory of the Henry Mountain Range

Standing majestically in south-central Utah, the Henry Mountains encompass nearly 2 million acres of remote, public land. The mountain range extends from the north shore of Lake Powell to the peak of Mt. Ellen, rising in elevation from 3,700 feet to more than 11,600 feet. With recreational opportunities such as hiking, camping, sightseeing, off-roading, wildlife viewing and hunting, the Henry Mountains are a great destination for an enjoyable outdoor adventure. View from Mt. Ellen Perhaps […]

The Horseshoe Canyon Petroglyphs: Utah’s Underrated Tourist Guide

Most likely, you have heard of Utah’s world-famous national parks and its main attractions, such as Delicate Arch, Angels landing and Thor’s Hammer. These popular sights are definitely worth seeing, but they can be overcrowded at times. If you want an adventure that is less crowded, then you need to experience Horseshoe Canyon. Located in Utah’s southeastern desert, just outside of Canyonlands National Park, is Horseshoe Canyon. What makes this canyon worth seeing are the […]

6 Incredible Dog-Friendly Hikes in Utah’s Capitol Reef Country

  One of the main things that the great state of Utah is known for is its incredible access to the great outdoors.  And if there is one thing dogs are known for, it’s that they LOVE playing outside! Utah is a fantastic place to explore with man’s best friend. Capitol Reef Country in particular has so much outdoor fun to offer you and your canine. From high-mountain trails to lush green meadows, here 6 […]

12 Things to Do This Winter in Capitol Reef National Park

It might seem like Capitol Reef National Park is best experienced in the spring or summer, but there’s actually quite a bit to do there in the winter. Since the park includes both low-elevation desert that receive little to no snow and high-elevation areas with mountains and some snow, you’ll find there’s a variety of ways to enjoy the colder months there. Winter in Capitol Reef is stark and uniquely beautiful. Plus, it’s much less […]

ATV, Jeep Adventures – Capitol Reef Country

Hit the trails for the ride of your life on one of Capitol Reef Country’s amazing 4-wheel-drive trails. There’s a trail out there for everyone, from easy-on-the-axle Jeep roads to hardcore, rugged 4WD trails that bring out your inner adrenaline junkie. Easy Jeep and ATV Trails The beauty of Capitol Reef Country is in its diversity. Head deep into outlaw country on the Robber’s Roost trail, take a 4WD trip to “Mars” across the rugged […]

Bird Watching in Capitol Reef Country

Capitol Reef Country’s diverse landscape supports hundreds of bird habitats, including more than 230 documented species in Capitol Reef National Park. From tiny hummingbirds flitting about the campgrounds to massive birds of prey soaring above the slickrock cliffs, recreational bird watchers and ornithologists alike won’t be disappointed. Owl, pinyon jay, chukar, oriole, canyon wren and rock wren are just some of the smaller bird species that make Capitol Reef’s diverse cliffs, canyons, desert grasslands, and […]

Cathedral Valley Utah

Cathedral Valley is a remote district at the northern end of Capitol Reef National Park. This scenic backcountry gem is dominated by southern Utah’s iconic soaring sandstone monoliths scattered throughout the vast high desert. Cathedral Valley is a must-see for photographers and backcountry adventurists. Most visitors tour the 70-mile scenic Cathedral Valley Loop, which requires a high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle. About 12 miles east of the visitor center on Highway 24, the Cathedral Valley Loop […]

Irish Slot Canyons

There’s a little bit of the BLARNEY in all of us, and so it’s time to the turn the tables and get  yourself into Utah’s BLARNEY Slot Canyon.  While you’re at it try Leprechaun and Shillelagh.  These three slot canyons are found side-by-side south of Hanksville, Utah, near the fork in the road for State Road 95 and State Road 276. To get there, go south from Hanksville, for approximately 33 miles, on State Road […]

Forests in Capitol Reef Country

Capitol Reef Country is known for its incredible geography, including the backdrop of high-altitude forests that add incredible greenery to the scenery and provide cool relief from summer heat. Fishlake National Forest Fishlake National Forest covers more than 1.4 million acres, with the Fremont River Districts surrounding the Capitol Reef communities of Loa, Bicknell, Teasdale, and Torrey.  Here you’ll find gorgeous aspen groves encircling lush alpine meadows and lakes. Fish Lake is the largest freshwater […]

Tour of Utah – Cycling Race – Capitol Reef

The Tour of Utah cycling race has just passed through the Capitol Reef region and locals and visitors alike have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of watching these professional riders.     Stage Two of The Tour of Utah ran from Panguitch, Utah to Torrey, Utah, and covered a distance of 131 miles on a course that followed Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 which is rated one of America’s top ten scenic roads. At one point along […]

Road Cycling in Capitol Reef Country

There are four roads in Capitol Reef National Park designated for biking, but the Scenic Drive is best for road cycling.  The road is paved with a few rocky or sandy areas, and is generally considered easy to moderate. You can make your route as short as a mile or ride the entire 24 miles out-and-back through the colorful desert landscape, turning around at Capitol Gorge. Cycling the Burr Trail takes you through extraordinary back-country […]

Capitol Reef – The Waterpocket Fold

Capitol Reef’s Waterpocket Fold is the defining geologic feature of this majestic national park. This wrinkle in the earth’s surface extends for nearly 100 miles, creating a dramatic landscape of rugged cliffs and canyons, striking natural bridges and arches, and distinct formations in the heart of red rock country. This warp in the Earth’s crust is a classic monocline: a steep fold on one side of otherwise horizontal geological layers, about 7,000 feet higher in […]

ATV Riding / Mountain Biking – Hell’s Hole & Velvet Ridge

The Velvet Ridge trail to Hell’s Hole is a combo ATV and mountain bike trail located off Highway 24 between Bicknell and Torrey. The trail is 19 miles round trip from both the Velvet Ridge and Sand Creek staging areas (depending on when and where you stop to play).  This thrill-a-minute trail is moderately difficult, with opportunities for some extreme adventure during the last mile or so to Hell’s Hole.  The rough trail is mainly […]

Capitol Reef – Featured in new 60 Sec. Video

Check out this great new video about Utah’s National Park Parks. Capitol Reef is the center of it all, so make your plans, and come on over!

Torrey, Utah – Key Location for Tour of Utah Cycling Race

Cycling Event Coming to Capitol Reef Country!   Aug 5-11, 2013 – Cycling fans, get ready to hit the highway and push the limits of endurance in the 2013 Larry H. Miller – Tour of Utah.  Attracting some of the world’s best cyclists, the Tour of Utah is one of only four UCI-sanctioned American pro cycling events, taking riders over diverse terrain and some of Utah’s toughest climbs. Second only to the renowned Tour de […]

Hanksville-Burpee Dinosaur Quarry

As if the fact that dinosaurs once roamed Utah wasn’t cool enough, now you can get up close and personal with the prehistoric past at the Hanksville-Burpee Dinosaur Quarry. The 600-foot by 150-foot excavation site reveals a history lesson of Jurassic proportions—literally—with 150-million year-old dinosaur bones unearthed by the Burpee Museum of Natural History as recently as last summer. It wasn’t until excavations began in 2008 that anyone realized the magnitude of dinosaur bones waiting […]

Cassidy Arch & Grand Wash

Hit the trails inside Capitol Reef National Park and walk in the footsteps of history’s most famous outlaws.  The trails through the majestic Grand Wash and the spur trail to Cassidy Arch lead to some pretty unforgettable scenery as you explore the colorful canyon country.  Combining the two trails makes for a 7.5-mile roundtrip hike and hits on some of Capitol Reef’s amazing highlights. How to reach the Grand Wash trailhead: The Grand Wash Trail […]

Utah’s Unique Henry Mountains

The Henry Mountains are a remote mountain range on the Colorado Plateau encompassing about two million acres of rugged backcountry and running about 30 miles from north to south. Elevation ranges from 3,700 feet at the north shore of Lake Powell to a peak elevation of 11,522 feet at Mt. Ellen.  Hanksville to the north is the nearest significant community to be used as an exploration base. A mecca for outdoor recreation, the Henry Mountain […]

Utah’s Scenic Byway 24 – Capitol Reef Country

Scenic Byway 24 runs east and west between Loa and Hanksville, Utah.  This incredibly scenic 75-mile drive winds between the Fishlake and Dixie National Forests, through Capitol Reef National Park, between the San Rafael Swell and the Henry Mountains and near the canyons of the Dirty Devil river basin.  A drive straight through will take just a few hours, but there is plenty to see along the way so allow time to explore.  (View maps […]

Wildlife In & Around Capitol Reef

The region that includes Capitol Reef National Park’s diverse landscape is a natural home to a variety of wildlife habitats.  Along the Waterpocket Fold and throughout the park, pinyon and juniper forests, rock cliffs, biological soil crusts, dry washes and perennial waterways provide homes for dozens of mammal, reptile and amphibian species, and more than 230 species of birds. Large Mammals About 60 species of mammals inhabit the Capitol Reef area, and one of the […]

Thousand Lakes Mountain

Thousand Lakes Mountain is located in the eastern section of Fishlake National Forest, to the northwest of Capitol Reef National Park. It covers an area of about six acres central to the communities of Bicknell, Fremont, Loa, Lyman, Teasdale and Torrey. The mountain looms from 7,000 feet, where the terrain is craggy and rugged, to alpine meadows and forests at its peak elevation of 11,306 feet.  Thousand Lakes Mountain is notably flat at the summit, […]

John Carter Movie – Filmed at Mars Location

SPECIAL NEWS – The upcoming Disney movie called John Carter was partially filmed in an area of Wayne County, Utah that is referred to as Mars.  The area has a base station where scientists do research and study what life might be like, living on Mars.   Learn more about this area here.    View a PDF file with a map and description of the trail to Mars – here.   View more trails in […]

Utah ATV Trails – Capitol Reef Region

A Good ATV Day with Red & Ray A few days ago I was sitting in a local diner eating a delicious cheese omelet, hash-browns, and wheat toast for breakfast. My orange juice was getting low as I heard a couple of guys sit down in the booth behind me. They commenced to talk and from time to time I heard the words ATV and trails escape their lips. I finished my breakfast, paid my […]

Visitor Number 10,000 for 2011

Today we welcomed our 10,000th visitor of the year at the information center.   Pam and Frank Niziolek from Livingston, Texas  

Spring on the Notom Road

The Notom Road takes visitors deep into the southern area of Capitol Reef National Park, in summer it can be a hot dusty drive rewarded by impressive craggy ridges and a good supply of slot canyons. For a few short weeks in the spring however the views are joined by a variety of flowering delights. The rising sun sets the red rocks of the Waterpocket Fold glowing. The eastern side of the ‘Reef’ is penetrated […]

Photographic Capitol Reef

Our web-site offers a very nice video view of the region along with a strong selection of photographs.  We invite you to visit our media page to see a collection of these photos and our video.    The entire web-site includes significant numbers of photographs to help you visualize the dramatic scenery that awaits you as you visit Capitol Reef Country.

Media Gallery

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