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Capitol Reef to Moab Roadtrip

Capitol Reef to Moab Roadtrip

Posted in: Travel on February 24, 2021.

We’re in the Mood for a Drive

Last month, we wrote a blog post about one of the best scenic drives in the country – Highway 12. And it got us really excited about the idea of roadtripping this spring. So, since we’re kinda still on the topic, we at the Lodge thought we’d share another really great road trip idea. This time from Capitol Reef to Moab. Trust us, you’re gonna love it!

A scenic road flanked by red rock cliffs

Capitol Reef Scenic Route. Photo via shutterstock.com

Start in Capitol Reef

This road trip starts in our backyard, in the great Capitol Reef National Park. We have lots of ideas on what you can do here, but be sure to check out the Scenic Drive inside Capitol Reef. (This is a roadtrip, after all.) It’s a fairly short one-way-in, one-way-out highway that leads you past some of the most iconic views in the park. The Capitol Reef Scenic Drive (official site here) is a toll road, so expect to pay $20 per vehicle at the self-serve kiosk.

Head to Hanksville

After you’ve spent a few days hiking and exploring Capitol Reef, hop in you car and head to Hanksville, Utah. You’ll be driving along Highway 24, right through the heart of Capitol Reef. So stop and take some photos. Once you’re out of the park boundaries, you’ll pass through the badlands of Cainesville. The gray and pink sand dunes in this area are striking at anytime of the year, but in early spring you have the chance to see the wildflowers bloom. Stay on Highway 24 until you arrive in Hanksville.

An overlook of a desert lake

Lake Powell. Photo by Zetong Li via unsplash.com

South to Lake Powell

In Hanksville, you’ll see the road to Lake Powell clearly marked. Head south on Highway 95. You’ll be crossing over the Colorado River at Hite Crossing. (Just in case you didn’t know, Lake Powell is a man-made lake, created by damming the Colorado.) There is a great little overlook of the a little ways outside of town. You can see it marked on Google Maps here. Be sure to stop and check it out.

Lake Powell is located inside the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. There is so much to do there. So if you want to boat, or fish, or hike, plan on spending a few days here. You’ll just need to detour before Hite Crossing, and take Highway 276 to the lake. You can start making your plans by going to the official site here. It’s a little out of the way of this roadtrip, but if you’ve got time, we recommend getting to Rainbow Bridge.

A large natural stone bridge overhead

Natural Bridges National Monument. Photo by Hugo Kruip via unsplash.com

On to Natural Bridges

Once you’re back on the road, continue on Highway 95 to Natural Bridges National Monument. There are three really striking natural bridges that you can check out there. There are some of the longest in the world. The are some cliff dwelling ruins as well, which you can spot with binoculars. There is a fee of $20 per entering vehicle.

Edge of the Cedars State Park

The next big attraction on your way to Moab is at the Edge of the Cedars State Park. Located near Blanding, Utah, Edge of the Cedars is a historical and archeological park and museum. It displays and protects artifacts from the Anasazi people that used to live in the area hundreds of years ago. There are even recreations of the types of the ancient dwellings that you can explore. If you’re historically minded, this is a great stop to add to the list.

An lone arch stands on a sandstone mesa

Arches National Park. Photo by Carlie A via unsplash.com

Up to Moab, to Arches, and to Canyonlands

At Blanding you’ll connect to Highway 191. Head north toward Moab. This part of the roadtrip is absolutely packed with things to see. Plan on detouring to Canyonlands National Park. (And don’t short change yourself, Canyonlands is the most overlooked park in the state, but it really is worth spending a couple of days exploring it.) You can check out what to do in Canyonlands here. There is also nearby Dead Horse Point State Park, where we highly recommend you stop. And, of course, Arches National Park. You’ll definitely need to spend a few days here. Check out our post on Arches too. The point is, there is a ton to do on the way to Moab. And then you’ve still got all the cool stuff to to once you’re in in Moab too.

That’s a Wrap!

And that’s it! From Capitol Reef to Moab, you’ll get to see a great slice of Southern Utah on this awesome roadtrip. So have fun out there!

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