We just enjoyed a very busy couple of weeks visiting 3 of the beautiful national parks in Utah. I think Utah might just be my favorite state now, or at least a tie with Colorado. Utah is extremely beautiful, you must go!
The first park we visited was Capitol Reef National Park. I heard that many people skip this park in favor of the more popular locations. We almost skipped it too, but I was unable to book 2 full weeks in Moab, so we needed a place to go for a week before we could go to Moab. That turned out to be a blessing because I am so glad we came to this park! It was incredible, and in my opinion it is a place you should not skip if you are planning a trip to Utah.
The drive from southwest Colorado to Capitol Reef was one of the most beautiful drives we have had in our travels. If your travels take you in that direction, I would highly recommend taking highways 95 and 24. Both are incredibly scenic, but make sure to fill up with gas before getting on 95. It is a very long drive with no place to stop for anything, and no cellular coverage either.
Here are a couple of pictures from the drive:
We stayed at Thousand Lakes RV Resort in Torrey, UT. This was a very nice RV park and we were lucky enough to get one of their extra large back-in sites. The interior pull-through sites looked a little tight, but the back-ins were nice. There is no Verizon coverage in this area, but AT&T worked great. This was the one time we needed our backup AT&T plan.
The town of Torrey is super cute. There is a little grocery store and a bakery/deli where you can get lunch on your way in to the park to hike for the day. When you drive into town, the speed limit is 35 and there is a police car parked on the side of the road. The first couple of times we drove down the road we thought this was a real police officer waiting to catch speeders driving through town, but after a few times we realized it’s a fake guy behind the driver’s seat. Really funny, and I guess it works to slow people down driving through town, at least until they realize he is not real.
It looks like he’s been sitting here for a long time; he’s quite wrinkly! He looks a little grumpy too.
Okay, enough about where we stayed and how we got there. Let’s get on with Capitol Reef. All I can say is A-MA-ZING! The scenery is so incredibly beautiful! It was only a 10 minute drive into the park from our RV park, so we went in each evening after work to hike and explore. It helps that it doesn’t get dark until 8:30 at this time of the year. The first night we did a short hike on the Sunset Point trail.
The second night we hiked to Chimney Rock. This is a more strenuous 3.5 mile loop, with a lot of uphill climbing. It was great exercise and incredible views from the top.
The kids loved all the rock climbing!
Another night we hiked to Hickman Bridge.
One evening we did the Grand Wash Trail. The trail map showed this as being a 2.2 mile trail out and back meaning 4.4 miles total, but it turned out to be a little longer than that — about 5 miles round trip. We were all pretty tired after that one and probably could have just stopped and turned around halfway through and that would have been enough.
We saved the best for last. On Saturday we hiked to Cassidy Arch which was amazing! Definitely my favorite hike of the week!
The hike up to this point was all uphill, but it was so worth it to come around the corner and see the arch off in the distance.
These rock piles are called rock cairns. The park rangers put these on trails to help you stay on the trail. They’re very helpful because there are many times where it would be hard to determine which way the trail goes.
The rock cairns are especially helpful when hiking on wide areas of slickrock like this. See the little rock piles along the way? That helped us to know which way to go.
This is up on top of where the arch is. It was a great place to stop and have a snack break.
The view was gorgeous from up there!
We’re looking down into the back side of the arch in this picture.
After Cassidy Arch we went down to the campground that is part of Capitol Reef. The campground is surrounded by orchards and red rocks. It is beautiful!
We really enjoyed our week at Capitol Reef. I would highly recommend it if your travels take you to Utah.