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Things to Do Near Capitol Reef

Things to Do Near Capitol Reef

Posted in: Outdoor adventures, Travel on June 25, 2024.

Always More to Explore

Capitol Reef is the best! It’s probably our favorite place in the world, and we write about it all the time! (Check out this post, this top ten, this itinerary if you want confirmation.) Sometimes, however, it’s nice to know what else you can see that’s near the park. To help you find some extra fun, we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch have a couple of suggests of what to do around here – besides Capitol Reef National Park.

A car drives up a red sandstone canyon

Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan via unsplash.com

Road Trip on Highway 12

Utah’s Highway 12 Scenic Byway is probably the greatest stretch of road in the state – and maybe even America. It’ll lead you from the forests of Boulder Mountain, through the deserts and mesas of the Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument, to the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon. You will get to experience the vast expanse of the desert wilderness that a lot of people miss out on. Plus, it’s the gateway to one of our other favorite road trips, The Burr Trail. When you’re driving this route, be sure to stop at the Anasazi State Park in Boulder, Utah and hike to Upper or Lower Calf Creek in the Calf Creek Recreation Area.

Hoodoos in the Goblin Valley basin

Photo by Intricate Explorer via unsplash.com

Do A Day Trip!

There are a lot of really cool places near Capitol Reef that you can add on as a day trip. Goblin Valley State Park is a great one! It’s like a mini version of Bryce Canyon – an amphitheater filled with sandstone hoodoos. Plus it’s only 90 minutes away from us here, and you can see it all in an afternoon. Or how about Lake Powell? This huge man-made lake is the perfect place to get away when the summer is starting to get a little too warm. There are boat rentals in the area, but honestly, it can be fun to just swim and explore the desert around the lake in the Glenn Canyon Recreation Area. Pack a lunch and make a day of it. And there are more of these great locations only an hour or two from Capitol Reef: Fish Lake, the town of Boulder (mentioned above), and Thousand Lake Mountain to name a couple.

A large monolithic sandstone formation in the empty desert

Factory Butte. Photo by Greg Rakozy via unsplash.com

Exploring Trails More Trails, Fast or Slow

Off-road vehicles aren’t allowed in Capitol Reef, which makes sense, national parks are supposed to protect everything within their borders. And ATVs/Jeeps/dirt bikes can leave an impact on an environment. So instead, head to the off-road trails on Boulder Mountain, Thousand Lake Mountain, or in the desert areas surrounding the national park. (Like Caineville and Factory Butte.) If you need to rent an ATV or Jeep, call our friends at Dixie Top Outfitters, and they’ll help get you sorted.

Or if you want to slow things down, go explore the trails and mountains on horseback! There are a number of tour companies that will take you to some of the best locations near Capitol Reef. We recommend Hondoo Trail Guides.

See All You Can See

Obviously spend lots of time in Capitol Reef! But if you want to add to your experience, don’t forget that there are a lot of other things to do in the area surrounding the park. You might as well see all you can in this amazing part of the world!

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