Although many aspects of our weekend getaway were incredible, the one moment I will forever remember about Capitol Reef National Park is the time spent cuddled up in our sleeping bags outside the tent under the majestic beauty of the night sky. After setting up camp and devouring s’mores for dinner (because we are adults and we can do that) we opted to stay up later than our usual camping bedtime of ridiculously early to star gaze. With the occasional chatter punctuating moments of reflection and presence, we admired the stark beauty of night, the absence of light dusted with specks of magic. We pointed out constellations, witnessed a few shooting stars, and discussed the mysteries of the cosmos.
The scenic drive is 10 miles long, winding through geologic features carved by wind, water, and time. It’s classic southern Utah, in all its desert beauty.
Capitol Reef is a mesh of all red rock country in one long skinny park. It boasts canyons, arches, natural bridges, and sheer rock faces. As one of the lesser visited national parks in Utah, we had good portions of our hikes to ourselves. We hiked to the Rim Overlook, a stunning vista overlooking the many washes of the park, the historic orchards, and the various rock formations farther out. We also journeyed up to Cassidy Arch, a thick arch being repelled down by some climbers.
Capitol Reef is situated around Fruita, an adorable old settlement founded on orchards. One of the park’s campgrounds is amidst these historic orchards, patches of emerald and lime forming an oasis around the riverbeds.