Introducing Capitol Reef National Park
Native Americans once called this colorful landscape of tilted buttes, jumbled rocks and sedimentary canyons the Land of the Sleeping Rainbow. The park's centerpiece is Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile-long monocline (a buckle in the Earth's crust) that blocked explorers' westward migration like a reef blocks a ship's passage. Known also for its enormous domes – one of which kinda sorta resembles Washington DC's Capitol Dome – Capitol Reef harbors fantastic hiking trails, rugged 4WD roads and 1000-year-old Fremont petroglyph panels. At the park's heart grow the shady orchards of Fruita, a Mormon settlement dating back to the 1870s.
The narrow park runs north-south following the Waterpocket Fold. A little over 100 miles southwest of Green River, Hwy 24 traverses the park. Capitol Reef's central region is the Fruita Historic District. To the far north lies Cathedral Valley, the least-visited section, and toward the south you can cross over into Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument on the Burr Trail Rd. Most services, including food, gas and medical aid, are in the town of Torrey, 11 miles west.
Capitol Reef National Park destination guides
Lonely Planet's top 10 USA fall trips
Roadtripping in Autumn can be an especially photogenic time, and the US affords some lush landscape to motor through. Here are 10 trips for fall across the USA from Lonely Planet's USA's Best Trips: 99 Themed Itineraries Across America: 1.
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Think every trail in the Great American West has been blazed by now? Think again, partner. Spread across 22 glorious days, this trip takes you on an incredible loop from beautiful San Francisco and back again with stops in LA, San Diego, Scottsdale and Vegas along the way.