Colorful Capitol Reef National Park

//Colorful Capitol Reef National Park
Colorful Capitol Reef National Park2018-05-10T10:42:37+00:00

Capitol Reef National Park is located in south central Utah and lies within the counties of Sevier, Garfield and Wayne. It was established in August of 1937 as a national monument and then redesignated as a national park in 1971. Capitol Reef National Park comprises 378 square miles of incredibly colorful canyons, domes, buttes, ridges, and monoliths. You could hike for miles for a week and still only see a small portion of the park

It was once considered one of the most remote corners of the lower 48 states. That changed in 1962 when the paved surface of Utah Highway 24 through the Fremont River Canyon opened and that created easier access to the park.

Capitol Reef National ParkCapitol Reef National Park, Utah – D70, handheld, f10, 1/400, ISO 200, 18-200mm VR at 38mm, natural light

The geological features of Capitol Reef National Park are amazing. About 75 miles of the 100 mile long monocline known as the Waterpocket Fold are within the park’s boundaries extending from Lake Powell north to the Thousand Lake Plateau.

The layers of sedimentary rock record nearly 200 million years of the areas geological history. The are is well know for Navajo and Entrada sandstone layers, the Chinle formations shows evidence of ancient rivers and swamps.

Capitol Reef National Park rock formationCapitol Reef National Park, Utah – D70, handheld, f10, 1/320, ISO 200, 18-200mm VR at 55mm, natural light

I spotted this rock formation inside the park. For some reason it reminded me of the open jaws of a rattlesnake with the fangs exposed. I had to stop and take a picture of it.

Capitol Reef National ParkCapitol Reef National Park, Utah – D70, handheld, f10, 1/640, ISO 200, 18-200mm VR at 18 mm, natural light

Capitol Reef has some of the most amazing scenery, gorgeous colors and diverse habitats. It can take your breath away and cause you to wonder what the first pioneers thought of the area. This was once the home of the Fremont people who lived in Utah, Idaho, Colorado and Nevada during the time period of 700 to 1300 AD. The Fremont people disappeared around 1300 AD and to this day scientists wonder why. They left behind some fascinating Rock Art, I will cover that another time.

Mule Deer at Capitol Reef National ParkMule Deer buck at the Capitol Reef campground – D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/200, ISO 320, 80-400mm VR at 116mm, natural light

The campground is a delight, there are trees for shade and a stream nearby. There are remnants of orchards from earlier years and quite often you can see Mule Deer in the early mornings or late afternoons grazing there or at the campsites.

Downy Woodpecker at Capitol Reef National ParkDowny Woodpecker on a tree at the Capitol Reef campground – D200, f7.1, 1/320, ISO 400, 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Because of the water and moisture provided by the Fremont River there are many birds and animals near the campgrounds. This Downy Woodpecker delight me when it posed on this branch with Navajo sandstone in the background. From tiny hummingbirds to Golden Eagles nesting on the cliffs, Bobcats, Kit Fox, reptiles and more there will always be something to see and be enchanted by.

Capitol Reef National ParkCapitol Reef National Park, Utah – D70, handheld, f10, 1/400, ISO 200, 18-200mm VR at 60mm, natural light

I feel that Capitol Reef National Park is a wonderland, from the geological features, the rich history of the area, gorgeous scenery and abundant wildlife. It is a place I hope to return to visit many more times.


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Capitol Reef National Park


  1. Chuck Gangas October 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Mia-lovely historical description of the park, and your landscape images are gorgeous. Although I have never been in the park, I have seen it from altitude hundreds of times, literally, over the course of my career. Traveling eastbound with the sun low in the western sky the entire Waterpocket Fold reflects vivid multi-colored reds, orange, and browns that are nothing short of breathtaking, and if you catch the park with a dusting of snow it’s almost indescribable. A plan to the park is high on my Life’s list, hopefully sooner than later.

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