Capitol Reef National Park was founded on the concept of protecting one of nature's most amazing geological features: a wrinkle in the earth's crust that spans more than one hundred miles and runs from Thousand Lakes Mountain to Lake Powell. The Capitol Reef Park entrance is located in picturesque Torrey, Utah. As a vacation capital, Reef National Park is without equal. Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, camping, or simply sightseeing, Capitol Reef Park has it all!
Campers may choose from three different campgrounds. First and foremost is Fruita campground which features about seventy campsites that are tent as well as RV compatible. Each campsite has its own picnic table and even a grill. RVers, be forewarned however that even though your rig is welcome at this Capitol Reef Park campground, there will be no hook up service! For the more rugged camper, there is the Cedar Mesa campground which lacks the man-made campsites of Fruita campground. It is a small site, only offering spots for five campers. There is no running water available, so be sure to bring your own. RVs will not be able to park here. Last, but not least, is one of the most famous Capitol Reef Park campgrounds: Cathedral Valley campground. Even though it rivals Cedar Mesa in its ruggedness, it is located at an elevation of some 7,000 and is well known for its scenic view.
Naturally, not everyone visiting Capitol Reef National Park will wish to spend the night. As a vacation capital, Reef National Park caters to its short term visitors as well. Many driving tours are available. One is a sedate drive on a paved two-lane road along the Scenic Drive. Two other tours take the visitor over unpaved roads to either the Cathedral or the Waterpocket districts. It is noteworthy that the latter two should not be attempted in vehicles that cannot withstand the rigors of such unpaved roads! One of these unpaved roads, South Draw Road, is clearly marked as requiring high clearance four wheel drive vehicle access. Because of the extreme roughness of the terrain, drivers will do well to heed this requirement warning.
Even though Capitol Reef Park is not necessarily considered the Mecca of rock-climbing, there are many wonderful rock faces that are favorable to inexperienced and seasoned climbers alike. While sandstone is the predominant type of rock found in the park, the varying hardness is ideal for the weekender as well as the dedicated year round climber. Yet beware, because of the variations in the rock's hardness and due to the possibility of flaking, camming devices may not secure properly in some locations!
As you can see, this park is a wonderful location for the Sunday afternoon family trip, the weekend getaway, or even the weeklong expedition with the family. Whether you enjoy a short night of camping, a week in the relative comfort and luxury of an RV, a drive across the well paved roads, or the roughness of a challenging four wheel drive adventure, here you may engage in one or all! Enjoy your trip!