Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Monday, September 19, 2016

Capitol Reef National Park

Part 4 in my 7-part series on our trip to Utah's National Parks.

Capital Reef National Park proved to be one of our trip's most unexpected pleasures. It doesn't have the wildly-popular reputation or following of parks such as Bryce Canyon or Zion. In fact, I'd never heard of this park prior to planning our vacation. But Eric had done some research on Utah's national parks and found it. From what he read, it sounded "pretty" and it had "orchards where we could pick our own fruit." So yeah, we added it to our itinerary.

National Parks are notorious for having hard-to-get campsites, unless you make reservations a year in advance. So we got up very early and left Moab and drove the couple hours to Capital Reef. It was one of those drives where you go and go and hardly see another vehicle. In other words, it is in the middle of nowhere! I suspect the remoteness of Capitol Reef is one reason it is less popular.

But we can tell you, it is worth the trip! Terrific hiking and scenic beauty. AND -- a true perk for an introvert like myself -- no crowds! The campground had plenty of grassy sites open. There were no crowds at the Visitors Center. We hiked trails without seeing a single other person. There were no lines for anything. Well, maybe a short line in the small gift shop that sold homemade fruit pies!

Our brand new tent.

We followed this dirt road down, down to Capitol Gorge Trail. Beautiful!

Indeed, there were many orchards with all kinds of fruit. And it is true -- guests can pick to their hearts content. Sadly, we were there between apricots and apples. Nothing was ripe to pick.

Hickman Bridge

Another thing we loved about this park was the ranger hikes and the evening ranger programs at an amphitheater next to the campground. It was all very personable.

Sunset over Capitol Reef. Serious drama!

And we saw this incredible rainbow. It touched the ground on both ends.

We had only planned to spend one night at Capital Reef, but we were so enchanted, we spent a second night. As we were leaving the park, I stopped in the rest room, looked in the mirror, and my shirt read, "boog si efil." So true!


Common Household Mom said...

There is such a stark contrast between your header photo (of Louisiana) and the photos of this park in Utah. It's hard for me to imagine orchards in Utah! And yes, it's wonderful to discover a gem of a landscape that is not overcrowded with people.

Angie Kay Dilmore said...

CHM, yes, I think that is why we were so fascinated by the landscapes in Utah. They were so different from anything we'd ever seen before.