Sunday, October 11, 2009

Capitol Reef NP

I think the unique feature of Capitol Reef National Park is the variety of rock type and color in the formations. In addition to the prevalent red and white, there are rocks in green, gray, brown, and even yellow.

We arrived on Wednesday afternoon and grabbed one of the few unoccupied sites in the park campground. We checked out the visitor center and headed out to Panorama Point to see if it lived up to its name. It did.

Looking west, those mountains are about 40 miles away. Capitol Reef brags that it has the cleanest air in the continental United States.

These ripple marks and mud cracks in the rock are evidence that this area was once covered by tidal mudflats. I thought these rocks would make a great patio.

We returned to the campground in time for the nightly parade of deer.

The next day we met up with Diana and Phil for a trip out to Cathedral Valley in the northern section of the park. Although it only requires a high clearance vehicle, we thought Phil's 4-wheel drive would be safer. You never know when you're going to run into some deep sand.

The loop begins with a river crossing. Wow! We didn't expect there to be this much rushing water. Maybe we should rethink this.

On to plan B - drive the loop from the other end to Cathedral Valley and return the same way. That's better.

Lots of pretty formations on the way.

These are two named formations - Temple of the Sun in the foreground and the much smaller Temple of the Moon in the rear. (Sorry, looking right into the sun.)

But such is the power of optical illusion that when taken with Temple of the Moon in the foreground, their relative sizes look very different.

Hey, guys, wait for me! (Just kidding, the car was parked.)

I thought this was the best-looking 'cathedral' in Cathedral Valley.

Back on the paved road, we stopped to admire Navajo Dome.

The next day we did some hiking and climbed to Hickman Bridge. Hey! Is that the ghost of Mr. Hickman on the far right?


  1. We came "this close" to stopping at Capitol Reef, but decided to leave it for our next trip in that area...I have to go see that Hickman Bridge since thats my last name!! Maybe I can stake out a that would be a great view to wake up to each day!

  2. I see I missed a few hot spots in Capitol Reef. I guess I just left something for next time!!