The next big thing, was to see Capitol Reef National Park. Another of the less visited parks off the beaten path. But, it had fantastic scenery.
Entering from the westside on UT-24, there were some interesting rock formations. Not sure if those were inside the park though. Still, they were very photogenic.
The first one I recognized and saw a sign for was Chimney Rock (yes, another one with that name). Lots of lookers and too few parking spots. May have missed Twin Rocks.
Then came Panorama Point with far views of the surrounding terrain. A tour guide asked me to take a photo of their group. So I did, barely avoiding stepping off the ledge.
Nearby was the Goosenecks (yes, yet another one). It had two short trails to overlook the Fremont River in a deep canyon with switchbacks. It was difficult to get a good photo to show the gooseneck.
There was a formation called The Castle near the Visitor Center. Not sure if I got that one though. From there, it was into the old Mormon settlement of Fruita. Once, it supplied most of the fruit for the region; but, is no more. Now, the groves are maintained for visitors to pick fruit for free.
There were a few original structures remaining, with the Gifford Home being the main one, and containing a gift and bake shop. The others held more interest for me.
Drove up the Scenic Drive as far as Capitol Gorge where the road turns to gravel and high clearance use. At that point, was Golden Throne. Along the paved road, it passed Slickrock Divide, Grand Wash and many more unnamed but wonderful formations.
Had planned to stay in the campground, but all sections were full. So, It was on to find a boondock campsite. On the way, there were more great scenes; including the Fremont River, Capitol Dome and many splendid cliffs. The boondock camp was no slouch either, with cliffs on two sides and an open view toward the river on the other.
Capitol Reef was a real visual delight, although my time there was shorter than anticipated. The part visited was only a small fraction of the park. To the north was Cathedral Valley, and to the south Waterpocket Fold. Both were more remote with wilderness areas. If you are ever in the area, you should definitely go see it.
Camp: BLM – Boondock
Scene: Mesas, cliffs, river, orchards, buildings, scenic drive