The Waterpocket Fold is a straight, 100 mile long ridge of tilted and layered rock stretching from the Fishlake Mountains in central Utah to Lake Powell in the south. Most is preserved in Capitol Reef National Park, which contains multicolored cliffs, narrow canyons, ridges, arches, spires and domes. The park is so named because of the resemblance of the many whitish Navajo sandstone domes to the US Capitol building; the 'Reef' refers to the high uplifted ridge running north-south along the fold which presented a considerable barrier to early settlers. Capitol Reef National Park is the second largest in the state, yet is much less visited than others in south Utah, partly due to the rather remote location and perhaps because there is no obvious central attraction.The main road (UT 24) crossing the park east-west gives a flavor of the area and passes close to several of the most famous named features such as Chimney Rock, the deep twisting canyon formed by Sulphur Creek, and Hickman Bridge, a natural arch created by erosion, but it is well worth the national park entry fee to drive the ten mile scenic road which follows the reef itself, starting at the visitor center on UT 24 then south past huge, crumbling, multicolored cliffs with magnificent scenery in all directions. The last few miles are unpaved, and most of the route is narrow and winding so care is needed when driving. The road ends at the start of a narrow steep-walled canyon (Capitol Gorge) that extends for several miles southwards, and a pleasant foot trail runs along its base and passes some ancient Indian petroglyphs; in total there are over a dozen maintained trails along the park roads.
Escalante to Capitol Reef National Park Utah
Capitol Gorge Hike - Capitol Reef National Park - Utah
Capitol Reef national park. Utah 1999.