capital-reef

  • Southern Utah
  • Established December 18, 1971
  • 375 square miles

Why is a dry, rocky bunch of rock in southern Utah called a reef? It’s a fair question. According to America’s National Parks, “Early pioneers, who were not geologists, called any rocky barrier to their travel a reef, and this reef’s sheer cliffs, which are nearly 1,000 feet high in some places, blocked the east-west travel in this region for decades.” It is also true that parts of the upward-swept sandstone look like a massive swell of ocean waves. Capitol Reef National Park is just one patch of the Waterpocket Fold, an immense pleat where the earth’s crust has, amazingly, buckled upwards in parallel ridges for 100 miles across the desert of southern Utah.

Capitol Reef is characterized by rock the color of blood oranges and sandstone structures that look like cathedrals. It’s hard to escape the feeling that the place is a kingdom of giants or gods. But it’s not just for rocks that people come to Capitol Reef. There are also horned owls. And badgers, mountain lions, fish, peregrine falcons, and even pelicans. And there are petroglyphs carved by the Fremont people between 700 and 1500 CE.

National Parks Revealed customizes trips to Capitol Reef National Park by working with local, private guides who know the area very well and enjoy showing little-known parts of the park to visitors, as well as giving the full tour of the regular attractions. We can arrange for jeep tours to and through the park, short or long hikes, and a picnic while you’re there. We recommend combining a trip to Capitol Reef with a trip to other nearby national parks, and we can set up the whole itinerary to be just what you want. As always, we arrange for luxurious accommodations in the area.