Capitol Reef continued

Cathedral Valley

Cathedral Valley is one of the most remote parts of Capitol Reef National Park. Accessed by fording the Fremont River, a 60-mile dirt road loops round features such as the Bentonite Hills and the Temples of the Sun and the Moon. A storm was brewing, as you can see in some of the pictures, and switchbacks and mud-slicks meant I spent a lot of the journey clinging on with my eyes closed. Don’t worry, I was the passenger.

Chimney Rock

The Chimney Rock trail took us high above – well, a rock that looked like a chimney. Once again, a storm was brewing and, as we didn’t want to be caught up there, we raced round in record time.

Waterpocket Fold

We left Capitol Reef via the Notom-Bullfrog and Burr Trail Roads which took us along the Waterpocket Fold, the wrinkle in the Earth’s crust that I mentioned in my last post. It’s amazing to see the land laid out in waves and helps you understand why the cliffs might be thought of as reefs.

Next stop – Escalante!

Goblin Valley to Capitol Reef

The next National Park we headed for was Capitol Reef, stopping off on the way at Goblin Valley State Park. You can see how it got its name! These wee guys remind me of ET.

I confess that I got confused with my dates when booking this trip, which meant we had three full days in Capitol Reef instead of the two we had planned. Not a problem! It’s less famous than some of the other parks, but it’s a hidden gem with plenty to do. As usual, the structure and the rocks are fascinating with the earth’s crust wrinkled into a huge fold formed about 60 million years ago when the Rockies were created. It also has the Fremont River which means it is greener than some of the other parks, and there is evidence of habitation from around the years 700-1300 (petroglyphs and pictograms). Later settlers left their names on a wall of rock known as the Pioneer Register, and you can see the orchards of the 19th / early 20th century community of Fruita which are still tended by park staff.

On two of the trails we followed, Hickman Bridge and Cohab Canyon, we climbed high over the valley for great views of Fruita.

More on Capitol Reef in part 2…..