Horses grazing in Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park is one of five national parks in Utah (known as “The Mighty Five”). Capitol Reef is the 4th most visited of the parks with about 1.4 million visitors per year.

Overview

Capitol Reef is located in central-southern Utah. It is VERY far away from any major population centers and airports. Because it’s OUT THERE, it is most commonly visited in conjunction with other Utah National Parks such as Arches and Bryce.

Capitol Reef is about 60 miles long and only about 6 miles wide. There are three sections:

  1. Fruita & the Central District
  2. Cathedral Valley District
  3. Waterpocket Fold District

Fruita is where the Visitor Center is located and it is easily the most visited section of the park. It’s also more developed, with paved roads and some amenities.

The other sections are basically backcountry sections with dirt roads (but not to be overlooked!).

Top things to do

Here are some of the best things to see and do:

Fruita

This is an old pioneer town with historic buildings, fruit orchards, horse pastures, and there’s only one campground in the park. Take some time to walk around this charming little place that sits tucked within towering red cliff walls.

image of horse and barn

Capitol Gorge

This is a dirt road located at the end of the paved 8-mile Capitol Reef Scenic Drive. Driving on this dirt road will take you through towering white rock canyon walls, an experience you won’t forget! Get out at the end for a 2-mile round-trip walk through a flat dry wash and search for petroglyphs and the Pioneer Register, where the pioneers signed their names.

image of slot canyon

Hickman Bridge

This is a 2-mile round-trip hike that is rated moderate but has a steep climb at the beginning. You’ll see the Fremont River, Capitol Dome, Pectol’s Pyramid, and Hickman Bridge (a big arch) on the most scenic hike in the park.

image of rock arch formation

Watch a Sunset

Capitol Reef is a wonderful place to watch sunsets because the setting sun splashes on the west-facing red and white rock walls.

Plan your trip

Easy Trip Itinerary

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