We at the Lodge have made no secret of our love for Capitol Reef, so when people ask us what makes it so great, here is what we tell them –
Top 5 Reasons Why Capitol Reef is the Best National Park in Utah:
Isolation – Capitol Reef is one of the least visited parks in Utah. On a good year Capitol Reef gets maybe 800,000 total visitors, and most of those are during the summer months. And consider that the majority of the park’s visitors only spend time in the main section of the park – along Highway 24. All this means that you, our awesome reader, can go into the Waterpocket Fold in May, and meet a man who has had no human contact for four days. (This is a true story.) So if you want to get away for awhile…
Grab Bag of Nature – Some national parks are a one-trick-pony (Bryce Canyon we’re looking at you.) And while absolutely their trick is cool, sometimes you want to pack more into your vacation. Which is why Capitol Reef is the best. It has canyons, narrow canyons, and narrower canyons. It has huge monoliths, folded rock formations, and a beautiful river. And don’t forget the arches, the double arches, and the bridges.
Add a Dash of History – In addition to being truly breathtaking, Capitol Reef has real historical significance. Native American tribes settled in the area thousands of years ago. Today, you can still see the petroglyphs on the canyon walls. And near the park in the town of Boulder, UT, the Anasazi Village preserves some of the original dwellings. Pioneers entered the scene in the late 1800s. They built the town of Frutia right in the middle of present-day Capitol Reef. (Stop by the Gifford Homestead and buy some homemade ice cream… because, you know, it’s educational.) Butch Cassidy and his gang liked to lay low in the Waterpocket Fold after a job. The Law usually wouldn’t enter the canyons, for fear of getting lost.
So Much to Do – Ok, we’ve established that Capitol Reef is awesome to look at, awesome for finding isolation, and awesome for historical reasons – but, you ask – how awesome is it if I just want to have an awesome time with my friends and family? There are so many trails in Capitol Reef that we can’t even begin to list them all (plus that’s what a trail map is for, so pick one up at the visitor center.) So, if hiking is your thing, you’re covered. There are designated rock climbing and rappelling routes, for the more extreme adventure. You can take horse-trips in the back country, bike anywhere your thighs can take you, and go swimming in the canyon pools.
But Wait There’s More – One of the amazing aspects of Capitol Reef is it’s diversity (we know, we mentioned this already) but as diverse as it is, there is a lot more to be seen just outside the park boundaries. For example, the Henry Mountain Range is right next door to Capitol Reef, and yet it was the last mountain range to be mapped in the United States. There is a truly, wild herd of American Bison that roams the Henrys (one of only four in the nation.) And just to the south of Capitol Reef is Dixie National Forest, a paradise for hunters and fishermen. Our point is this – if you want adventure, Capitol Reef and the surrounding area is the best place to find it. And that is why this park is our favorite national park in Utah.