Capitol Reef National Park


Our all-around favorite park on our recent Utah trip was Capitol Reef National Park.  See our itinerary here.  The landscapes were amazing, and the trails were not crowded in mid-May.

Disclaimer #1 – Do your research about the rainy season.  I would not want to be on these trails in the rain, and flash floods are a concern in many areas.

Disclaimer #2 – If you prefer structure and the company of your fellow man to a little gentle isolation, then Zion and Bryce are your parks.  And they are gorgeous parks.  That said, the trails in Capitol Reef are clearly marked, there enough fellow hikers to help keep the mountain lions away (yep, I said mountain lions), and there are very convenient rest areas.


We parked and walked down to a boardwalk view of petroglyphs.  This was my first view of drawings done by ancient peoples, and these were designed between 600 and 1300 C.E.  Apparently, things have changed since my school days, and we are using C.E instead of A.D. now (had to look that one up).


We saw strange human figures, lots of bighorn sheep, and we saw dogs and horses at other sites.  Going in search of a snack, we visited the Gifford House for a huge cinnamon roll and old-fashioned bottles of soda.  For safety and convenience, we also traveled with six gallons of (cheap Wal-Mart) spring water and trail mix.  I always make our own trail mix so that I don’t have to remove all those pesky raisins.  I hate raisins.


Mini marshmallows are much better.  We love our Nalgene bottles, but Zion had these great reusable bottles for the filling stations at the national parks.


Our two main hikes at Capitol Reef were the Capitol Gorge/Tanks trail and the Grand Wash trail.  I’ll link over to them as soon as they are posted.  Happy travels!


4 thoughts on “Capitol Reef National Park

  1. darwinontherocks July 12, 2015 / 11:21 am

    I’m glad to be able to discover a bit more about this park we didn’t have the chance to visit ! The petroglyphs are really interesting ! But flash flood sounds terrifying 🙂


    • ottergardens July 12, 2015 / 12:01 pm

      We didn’t have any trouble with the trails, but there were two new rivers when we drove back from red canyon!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. placestheygo August 12, 2015 / 12:12 am

    I saw that you checked our blog so I thought I would hop over and check out yours:) I was attracted when I saw that you had been to Capital Reef NP. Visiting southern Utah is tough. It takes so long to begin to see it. Two years ago we spent three months doing the area. We spent a month around Zion (the east side of the park is the best because it isn’t on their maps), a month in Moab, and a month in Capital Reef, Bryce, and Kodachrome. We, then, did ten days in Bluff, Utah to hike the canyons to see the Indian ruins. We were in Torrey in May this past spring, also! We have friends that live there. We got into the little pies at the Gifford House. There are so many trails in the area. Andrew’s site (Live and Let Hike) is great. We used his blog for several new hikes. Glad you enjoyed your tour of southern Utah:)
    We are heading west tomorrow. So before long we will be on the trail and I can’t wait!!


    • ottergardens August 12, 2015 / 12:30 am

      I’m so glad you came over to visit 🙂 We are in love with Utah after our visit. Maybe someday we can spend a few months there and really see the area properly as you did!


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