Capitol Reef National Park Overview
|Capitol Reef National
Park is a long thin park that stretches over 100 miles from Glen Canyon in
the south to Cathedral Valley in the north. The main geologic feature of
the park is Waterpocket Fold, a giant wrinkle in the Earth's crust. This
large reef of rock was formed 65 million years ago by the same forces that
later uplifted the Colorado Plateau. The fold consists of "an eroded
jumble of colorful cliffs, massive domes, soaring spires, stark monoliths,
twisting canyons and graceful arches.
Main road access to the Park from the
east or west is obtained via Utah 24 which winds its way along the
Fremont River between Torrey and Hanksville; or from the south (from the
Bullfrog Marina at lake Powell) via the partially paved Burr Trail Road.
The unpaved, but well graded Bullfrog-Notom road runs along the backbone
of Waterpocket Fold from Burr Trail to Utah 24 and provides access to
hikes in the reef. There are a few maintained trails in the Park, located
near the visitors center on Utah 24, as well as several pictograph panels
created by Fremont Indians; however, the main reason for hikers to visit
are the many interesting canyons that cut through the reef forming deep
and sculpted narrows. The visitors center sells a spiral bound notebook
outlining many of these hiking opportunities (entitled "Exploring
Capitol Reef" (? - unfortunately I don't own this book and only
found out about it after visiting the area).