Capitol Reef was another of Utah’s national parks that I’d never heard of, and it sounds like a place that I would expect to find in a coastal location, not a landlocked state… But regardless, it’s a “hidden treasure” worth exploring!

Be sure to stop by the Gifford House and Museum on your visit to Capitol Reef for a fresh pie!

Located in the south central desert, Capitol Reef features canyons, colorful layers of sandstone, soaring monoliths, and unusual rock formations.

It was my fifth and final of Utah’s national parks, and after two weeks of hiking canyons, my body was begging for a day off. So at Capitol Reef, I simply drove the park’s loop road, took a lot of pictures, and fell asleep under a towering tree cloaked in bright yellow leaves that, against the dark blue of the autumn sky, were mesmerizing.

Utah was my longest “stop” up to this point, as well as the state where I logged the most miles under my trail shoes, and by the time I reached Capitol Reef I was looking pretty rough. I hadn’t had a shower since Boulder, Colorado, and I’m gonna assume that I probably looked very much the part of a CarDwelling vagabond — and smelled like it, too. So when I reached Salt Lake City later that day and was given free use of a shower at a gym I’m not a member of, I was overwhelmed with gratitude — and a little surprised. (If they’d seen the amount of dirt and sand that came off my body, they might have regretted it.) It was yet another example of the kindness of strangers and how the simplest of gestures can be the hugest of gifts.


Autumn colors at Bryce Canyon