Fruita, an oasis in the desert of Capitol Reef

With its sweeping views and endless landscape, big sky and desert rock, Capitol Reef National Park claims scenery just as spectacular as other famous parks; Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands and Arches. But Capitol Reef is less crowded – a beautiful thing for hikers.

Capitol Reef National Park surrounds Fruita, a little oasis settlement. The first view of Fruita is a sudden, intensely green little valley, with opulent orchards and an unusual grassy park. The temperature is perfect for growing fruit and nut trees with a relatively long growing season and abundant water.

First time visitors are encouraged to make Capitol Reef National Park Visitor Center their first stop. The park rangers always suggest the 25-mile scenic drive on paved road with pullouts that allow you to stop and take it all in. The entire Scenic Road is especially photogenic late afternoon or sunset. That is when photographers get the sensuous light on the multicolored sandstone.

Capitol Reef was named for a ridge of white domes and cliffs of Navajo Sandstone. The reef appears somewhat like the U. S. Capitol building. The rugged cliff that geologists call “Waterpocket Fold,” is an ancient buckle in the earth’s surface which defines Capitol Reef National Park.

Paved roads arrived in 1962.The Gifford Homestead, which includes a House Store and Museum is a charming little piece of Utah’s history. It not only sells tantalizing treats but is one.

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