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Capitol Reef

You won’t be doing any snorkeling at this park, so don’t be misled by the name. It is in Utah, after all!

The literal backbone of this national park is the Waterpocket Fold, a ridge of stone that runs 100 miles through the middle of this long skinny park. This is the “reef” that gave the park its name. The ridge is called a “monocline” and is actually a wrinkle in the Earth’s crust; now that’s not something you see every day!

Aside from the Fold, the park is filled with other geological sights such as large sinkholes, sandstone spires and black volcanic boulders, and although this park is often overlooked it’s actually equally as spectacular as Utah’s other national parks.

There are some historic sites here as well as the natural ones. A handful of remaining buildings are still standing from an old Mormon pioneer settlement, called Fruita. There are some paths and roads through the area, though no specifically marked walking trail, so you’re on your own as you explore the old homesteads.

The large orchards that were once a mainstay of the settlement are still active, maintained and open for visitor’s enjoyment.  You can pick fruit in quantity for a modest charge in orchards that are officially open for public harvest.

Add several places for rock climbing, horseback riding and mountain biking, and you can easily spend your entire vacation at Capitol Reef National Park, always finding something new to see and do.

Quick Facts
  • There are more than 2,500 fruit trees in the Fruita orchards.
  • The last resident of Fruita left the area in 1968.