Capitol Reef National Park
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Explore a wrinkle in space-time -- or at least in the earth’s surface -- at Capitol Reef, a south-central Utah national park filled with canyons, cliffs, bridges, domes, and other unique rock formations. Surrounding the geological wonder known as the Waterpocket Fold, the park is known for its fairytale landscape, boasting a variety of landmarks like the Chimney Rock pillar, the Hickman Bridge arch, and Cathedral valley. Capitol Reef National Park is also home to over 2,700 fruit-bearing trees, situated in its historic orchards; cherries, peaches, apricots, plums, mulberries and more are seasonally available for fresh picking.
Situated squarely in the desert, Capitol Reef sees less than 10 inches of rain per year, though it does experience some snowfall over its chilly winter. Daytime temperatures in July and August can climb past the 100 F mark, but the climate is generally temperate and pleasant, with highs in the 40s even in December and January.
Although undeniably remote, Capitol Reef is served by a variety of small gateway towns which offer lodging, restaurants, and other attractions to visitors - the closest and bustling-est of which is Torrey. Park-goers can also reach Grover, Teasdale, and Bicknell within a few minutes, or the large city of Provo within two and a half hours.
With hiking, biking, horseback riding, and backcountry camping opportunities galore, Capitol Reef draws thousands of visitors each year. Along with these attractions, the park also hosts a variety of ranger-led programs and activities, aimed both at increasing guests’ understanding of the landscape and offering expert perspectives on its iconic features. Click here to learn more about the ranger programs offered on a daily basis, and check out the park’s official events calendar at this page.
- Spring 37-71 F
- Summer 80-100+ F
- Fall 39-77 F
- Winter 20-40s F
- Coming soon
- Capitol Reef National Park Private Vehicle: $15
- Capitol Reef National Park Motorcyle: $10
- Capitol Reef National Park Per Person: $7
RV Rentals Near Capitol Reef National Park
Nearby RV Rentals
Capitol Reef National Park Hiking Trails
Whether you’re looking to stroll through the scenery or tackle a serious trek, you can find a hiking trail that fits your skill level at Capitol Reef. Along with fifteen day hikes ranging in length, terrain, and difficulty level, serious explorers can also tackle the park’s wide variety of backpacking and backcountry camping options.
Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular and well-loved day hikes at Capitol Reef -- but for full details on all the available trails, visit the park’s official site.
Things to do Outside Capitol Reef National Park
While you could easily keep yourself busy with the park alone for a lifetime, there’s way too much to see, do, and eat in Utah -- and you don’t want to miss out! Whether you’re looking for a life-changing burger or a chance to learn more about the people who walked these lands before us, you’ll find more than enough options to keep you occupied in the Capitol Reef area.
RV Resorts & Campsites in Capitol Reef National Park
While Capitol Reef only has one developed campground open to RVers, there are a wide variety of privately-owned RV parks to choose from in the area, as well as a few free and low-cost boondocking spots.
To learn more about camping in and around Capitol Reef National Park, including important information about campground regulations and restrictions, click here.
Campgrounds Near Capitol Reef National Park
Find the Best Dumpstations Near Capitol Reef National Park
Dumpstations Near Capitol Reef National Park
How to get to Capitol Reef National Park
Whether you fly in and rent on-site or drive it from your hometown, we highly recommend you try out an RV for your Capitol Reef vacation. If you’ve never camped in a motorhome or travel trailer before, you’ll soon discover why it’s such a popular form of travel -- and growing in popularity year over year! RV camping combines all the best aspects of road tripping with the comforts and conveniences of home. And since there are so many campgrounds in close proximity to the park gates, you get a front-row seat for all the action. To learn more about RV rental opportunities in your area, check the listings at RVshare. Renting by owner can mean getting the same vehicle for a fraction of the price -- and since they’re actually used for vacationing, the rigs are usually even better!
Although undeniably remote, Capitol Reef is serviced by a number of large interstate highways, including I70 and I15. For full details on how to approach the park by motor vehicle from a variety of orientations, check the park’s website -- and don’t rely on your GPS system, which can miscalculate routes in these remote areas.
Flying in is another option, but due to the park’s location, you’re in for a drive, as well. The closest major airport to Capitol Reef is Colorado’s Grand Junction Regional, which is still 186 miles away; you could also fly into a relatively nearby hub like Salt Lake City or Denver.
Frequently Asked Questions
Capitol Reef National Park has an accessible visitor center, campground, and picnic area. Trails to the Fremont Culture petroglyphs and the Fruita Schoolhouse are accessible as well. There are also scenic overlooks and wayside exhibits throughout the park that are accessible for wheelchairs.
Pets are allowed in parts of Capitol Reef National Park. They must be on a 6-foot or shorter leash at all times. Pets can be on the trail from the visitor center to Fruita Campground, on parts of the Fremont River Trail and in several other areas of the park. Pets are not permitted in public buildings, the backcountry, or other hiking trails. Be sure to check with a ranger to make sure your pet stays in areas where they are allowed.
Some of the. topthings to do at Capitol Reef National Park include taking the scenic drive along Highway 24, taking the Capitol Reef Scenic Drive, and visiting the Temple of the Sun and Moon. There is lots of hiking within the park, along with horseback riding, canyoneering, biking, and more.
Yes, there is one designated campground in Capitol Reef National Park. The Fruita Campground has picnic tables, firepits, plus an RV dump and potable water fill station. There are no hookups for RVs.
The best time to visit Capitol Reef National Park is in spring and fall. Capitol Reef can get very hot in summer, and cold in winter with freezing temps and snow. Spring and fall have mild weather so you can hike and explore comfortably.
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