Capitol Reef national park

Capitol Reef National Park

Located in south-central Utah, Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden treasure filled with gorgeous red rock formations that include cliffs, canyons, domes, and bridges in a geologic wrinkle on the earth. (literally)

We were road-tripping to Mars and chose to do the scenic route back home. This amazing drive included some breathtaking sandstone scenery through Capitol Reef National Park and iceskating on Fish Lake!

Fish Lake

Fish Lake Utah
Fish Lake Utah

Fish lake was frozen over when we went, which made it both sketchy and beautiful! If you look at the first image, you can actually see the ice cracking around me! I’m not scared, you’re scared.

If you’re in the area, I highly recommend making a stop here to check it out. I hear its absolutely gorgeous in the spring and summer as well! To see more photos of Fish Lake National Forest, including some AMAZING hot springs, click here!

Capitol Reef

The Waterpocket Fold makes up Capitol Reef National Park. It is a nearly 100-mile long warp in the Earth’s crust. It’s estimated that the formation occurred between 50-70 million years ago. Movement along the fault caused the west side to shift upwards. The overlying sedimentary layers were draped above the fault and formed a monocline. Basically, nature is awesome and we are lucky enough to be able to see these formations with our own eyes!

Simply driving along Highway 24, you’ll literally drive through the park. Even if you just do the drive, it’s totally worth it! Check out these views literally taken out the car window while going full-speed. Pretty awesome.

Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park

If you choose to simply drive through the park, the Scenic Drive is 7.9 miles of awesomeness.

Capital Reef
Capital Reef
Capitol Reef National Park
Capital Reef

Hiking Capitol Reef

Located along Utah Highway 24 and the Scenic Drive, you’ll find 15 day hikes! You can download the full hiking map here.

Since we were doing a drive-through of the park and not doing a full day here, we chose to just stop a few places along the way. You can easily pull off the road anywhere and do short hikes along the way. We definitely weren’t disappointed!

Chimney Rock Trail

chimney rock capitol reef
Chimney Rock Capitol Reef

These next photos make me laugh. It was really windy at the top. In the first photo, I look like an eagle perched on a cliff. If you look at the second photo, my hair is a real hot mess. Doesn’t get any better. I have no shame showing it because it’s hilarious. You’re welcome.

Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park

This hike is right off the road and has some amazing rock formations and views. I highly recommend it, even if you don’t do the entire hike. The full hike is a 3.6-mile loop and is considered strenuous. You’ll get panoramic views of Waterpocket Fold cliffs and if you hit it during sunset or sunrise, it’s breathtaking!

Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park

Hickman Bridge

Hickman Bridge is one of the most popular attractions at Capitol Reef National Park. It’s a large natural arch in a scenic side-canyon far above the Fremont River. It’s surrounded by the great white domes of Navajo sandstone that the national park is known for. It’s also easy to get to! It’s only a 1.2-mile hike from UT 24.

capitol reef hickman bridge

Capitol Reef Petroglyphs

To reach the trailhead from the junction of Highway 24 and Highway 12 in Torrey, UT: Drive east on Highway 24 for 10.9 miles. Turn left (north) into the signed parking area for the petroglyphs. Super short walk with beautiful views. We also watched a bald eagle flying above them which made it super neat! 

capitol reef petroglyphs

You can easily spot the petroglyphs along the route. They also have binoculars along the route to see them up close. This trail is super easy and can be done by all ages and fitness levels.

capitol reef petroglyphs

Panorama Point

panorama point capitol reef
panorama point capitol reef

A quick walk up will give you some beautiful canyon views. You can also walk down to the road. Watch for traffic, of course. That’s my disclaimer so no one sues me.

panorama point capitol reef
panorama point capitol reef

Capital Reef National Park has even more to offer! Not only can you do the scenic drive and hike, but you can also go fishing, horseback riding, rock climbing, join a ranger on a tour, and even camp! It’s a great place to visit to see Mother Nature’s art at it’s finest.

Have you been to Capital Reef?

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Leave a Comment

  • Vera Dooley
    2020-02-19

    Love this place! Haven’t been there since our kids were little! After seeing your pics I need to go back!! Your posts are always informative and fun! Love to follow you on all your adventures!! Great photos as always!!

    Reply
    • Jessi Bang
      2020-02-19 Vera Dooley

      Thank you so much! And yes, you should go back! It’s such a beautiful area! You both would love the entire scenic drive!

      Reply
  • Kimaya
    2020-02-24

    Lovely pics Jessie. Mostly the frozen lake… ?seriously I scared for a while…

    Reply
    • Jessi Bang
      2020-02-25 Kimaya

      Thank you! A little sketchy haha

      Reply
  • Jade Braham
    2020-02-25

    Oh my god, it looks extraordinary out here! Like something out of a movie! I love to hike so this has to go on my bucket list now!

    Reply
    • Jessi Bang
      2020-02-25 Jade Braham

      Agreed! Hiker’s paradise!

      Reply
  • Mike
    2020-03-27

    You have so many cool places to go see in Utah. I want to do the same thing with Texas as soon as the parks open up again. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Jessi Bang
      2020-03-28 Mike

      Thank you! Utah is rad!

      Reply
  • Manahil
    2020-03-27

    The images in your post are so beautifully clicked. I think I have to add this place to my bucket list.

    Reply
    • Jessi Bang
      2020-03-28 Manahil

      Thank you so much! I appreciate it!

      Reply
  • Ana
    2020-03-27

    Gorgeous photos! I have to get out west and see some of nature’s creations. Absolutely stunning. Not sure I’d walk on any frozen lake– brave lady 😉

    Reply
    • Jessi Bang
      2020-03-28 Ana

      It’s so fun! I used to go ice-fishing as a kid with my dad!

      Reply