3 Days in Capitol Reef National Park
Updated: Nov 26
Visiting Capitol Reef National Park way an awe-inspiring journey into the heart of Utah's striking red rock landscapes. Nestled in the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic monocline that stretches for nearly 100 miles, the park offered a mesmerizing blend of rugged canyons, towering cliffs, and unique rock formations. As we explored the park's scenic drives and hiking trails, we encountered breathtaking sights such as the iconic Capitol Dome, Hickman Bridge, and the stunning red cliffs of Cathedral Valley.
The 5 top things to do at Capitol Reef National Park:
1. Visit the Fruit Area
2. Hit the road on Hyw. 24
3. Hike to Hickman Bridge
4. Drive the Burr Trail Road
5. Visit the Pando at Fish Lake
It is 230 miles from Baker Nevada to Torrey Utah just outside of Capitol Reef National Park. This made the drive about 290 miles. This was the 2nd stop on a 3 destination road trip.To see the start of this road trip click here
Upon arrival in Torrey, we stayed at the Wonderland RV park for 3 nights in a full hookup site just 3 miles from the park entrance.
The Fish Lake area in Utah is a breathtaking natural gem, offering a wide range of outdoor activities and scenic vistas. The main attraction is Fish Lake itself, which is famous for its crystal-clear waters teeming with trout and other fish species. The surrounding mountains and forests offer ample opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing, with stunning vistas of the surrounding valleys and mountain ranges.
Comprised of quaking aspen trees, the Pando spreads by sprouting new trees from the root of the parent, resulting in a grove of genetically identical trees that function as a single living organism. With approximately 47,000 trees in its grove, the Pando is among the largest single organisms worldwide, although the title for the largest organism belongs to fungal mats in Oregon.
The Fruita area, once known as Junction and settled way back in the 1870s is a former farming community famous for its orchards. We had the chance to pick apples straight from the trees to munch on during our lunch. We also took a stroll around the area and took in the sites Including the famous Fruit Barn.
And that's not all - we hit the road on Highway 24 to take in the stunning scenery of the area.
The next morning we were up early and did the hike to Hickman Bridge. The hike to Hickman Bridge is a popular activity In Capitol Reef for nature lovers visiting the park. The trail, which is approximately 1.7 miles round trip, leads hikers through stunning desert landscapes, past towering rock formations, and across a babbling stream. The highlight of the hike is reaching the Hickman Bridge, an impressive natural arch spanning over 120 feet across and standing at 133 feet high. The bridge is a breathtaking sight to behold and provides hikers with incredible photo opportunities. The trail is considered to be moderate in difficulty and is suitable for families with older children.
Driving the Burr Trail Road in Capitol Reef National Park is a truly exhilarating experience. We drove along the scenic Burr Trail Road, covering about 125 miles from Fruita to Torrey with a good portion of it being on dirt roads, and the rugged terrain along the Burr Trail Switchbacks up to Boulder made it one of the highlights of our trip.
In conclusionCapitol Reef NP in Utah is a hidden gem for nature lovers, offering a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. From picking apples straight from the orchards to hiking to the impressive Hickman Bridge, there is no shortage of things to do in this beautiful part of the state. The scenic Burr Trail Road provides a stunning drive with breathtaking views of the rugged terrain along the way. Whether you are traveling with your family or on your own, Capitol Reef offers something for everyone. So, plan your visit and explore this wonderful destination for an unforgettable experience in the heart of nature.
Do you want to know where the next leg of the trip went to? Find out here!
Lorna’s Tips and Lessons
In addition to emphasizing the importance of good rain gear, which I wrote about in our post for Olympic National Park & Exploring the Majestic Wave of North Coyote Buttes, I have also found it beneficial to keep an inexpensive rain poncho in the truck for unexpected rain.