Capitol National Park is located in south central Utah. The name of this national park derives from the rounded sandstone buttes that look like the capitol domes and the rocky cliffs that resemble the coral reefs of great oceans around the world. This park is about 100 miles long and covers a large, narrow area consisting of 24,904 acres.
Previously known as ‘Wayne Wonderland’ in the early part of the nineteenth century, the Capitol Reef National Park was established in 1971 by the government of President Theodore Roosevelt to protect the unique geological features found in the south central area of Utah such as the canyon, the ridges, the monoliths, the arches, the domes, the buttes, the high cliffs, and the sandstones.
Capitol National Park is a geologists paradise. It houses about 10, 000 feet of different layers of sedimentary rocks. The ages of these rocks is between 80 – 270 million years old. Ancient environments such as swamp-like Chinle formation, ocean-like Mancos Shale, and desert-like Navajo Sandstone are revealed in the different layers of these sedimentary rocks.
The defining feature on the Capital Reef National Park is the Waterpocket Fold : a perfect example of a classic monocline – a upward staircase found in the sedimentary rocks in Capitol Reef. With a length spanning over 100 mile, the Waterpocket Fold has a western base that rises to about 7000 feet above its eastern base. The Waterpocket Fold is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Capitol Reef National Park, attracting thousands of tourists from far and wide who come to marvel at the wonderful work of nature.
Apart from the Waterpocket Fold, there are still a lot of gorgeous attractions that dot the landscape of the Capitol Reef National Park. The Fremont River is beautiful sight to behold. Some parts of this river flow through the canyons located on the Waterpocket Fold. Visitors can still find some ancient pictographs and petroglyphs made from sandstones by early inhabitants of this region along the Fremont River.
Our favorite walk:
Cohab Canyon, a 2-mile trail that connects highway 24 and Fruita campground.
Why we love it:
Taking a hike on the Cohab Canyon offers you the chance to have a close view of plenty of beautiful canyons that are located along this trail.
Half way through this trail, there is a small side trail that leads to a beautiful orchard.