Late afternoon on the Rim Overlook Trail

“Capitol Reef, at its core, is a hiker’s Park” a quote taken from Rick Stinchfield’s guide book, that I totally agree with. There are multiple trails, some better hiked in the cooler months, however even in early summer we found plenty to keep us busy.

We stayed at Torrey, in the Wonderland RV camp, a very welcome oasis of green to come back to and relax under the shade of trees each afternoon. Would highly recommend this site just in the outskirts of town.

We explored the area around Fruita, an ex-Mormon settlement established at the turn of the 20 century that still exerts its impact on the environment via the many fruit trees planted by the early settlers that the Parks service now maintain. This provide a wonderful contrast to the stark colours of the sandstone cliffs that line the valley through which the Fremont River and now R24 traverse.

In brief, the geology of the Reef comprises sedimentary strata that we’re laid down over about 200m years. Then about 75m years ago, when the Rocky Mountains were being formed, a deep fault beneath the Park was reactivated and the rock to the West (on the Torrey side) were raised 7000 feet relative to the rocks on the East side. The resulting ‘tilt’ is just at the right angle so that erosion has exposed a 2 mile thick sequence of rock layers that can be seen from the section through the park from Torrey to the East towards Hanksville.

For us this means lots of wonderful rock formations, cliffs, gully’s, canyons and other sights all in a multitude of hues from golden cream to sandstone red with black boulders and iron moki marbles (iron oxide balls).

We stayed in the Park for 5 days and here are the hikes we did with links to the detailed blog pages

After we left Capitol Reef we headed back to Phoenix via Natural Bridges and Monument Valley. We also spent a couple of days in Flagstaff sorting our stuff out before getting to Mark and Elaine for some end of trip golf and cycling!

Here are the links to