Capitol Reef National Park

We only spent a day driving through Capitol Reef National Park but it was a beautiful drive. We forgot that we came through this little visited national park in 2008 during our drive to Moab from San Jose, CA. We did much of the “Grand Circle” loop in 2008. Our version then included Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. This time around we added the national monuments within the Navajo Nation (Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly and Navajo National Monument). We missed seeing the Grand Canyon in both tours.

From Moab we took 191 north to 70 west then 24 west into Capitol Reef. The drive gets interesting once you turn onto Hwy 24; before that it’s fairly barren. Capitol Reef is a fairly small park and very narrow. There are some interesting petroglyphs on the way into the visitor center.

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This time through, we decided to take our time and drive the Notom-Bullfrog Road through the park which runs along the Waterpocket Fold. This is an almost 100 mile warp in the Earth’s crust created between 50-70 million years ago. It amazes me how geologists are able to think about time of this magnitude and decipher the events that caused the features that we see today. I won’t try to go into any more detail about the “how” of the geology but I will share with you the resulting beauty!

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We found a nice place to camp in the Grand Escalante-Staircase BLM land which borders the western side of Capitol Reef. It was a beautiful spot for us to spend the night.

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While on our evening stroll through the area we surprised a horned toad. It jumped out of its hiding place across the path ahead of us. Although I saw where it settled in along the path I could barely see it. Can you find it in this photo?

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