Capitol ReefUtah 

Capitol Reef National Park

An impassable barrier running across Utah

Capitol Reef National Park protects the largest exposed monocline in North America, which is located in southcentral Utah.  The Waterpocket Fold is a 100 mile barrier running North and South through the park that is about 65 million years old and to this day is still rarely breached by roads.  The park received its name because the impassable ridges were referred to as “reefs” by early settlers.


Archaic hunters and gatherers migrated through the canyons thousands of years ago. The Fremont culture first evidenced about 500 CE, with food foraging groups and farmers of corn, beans, and squash, settling in the area. Petroglyphs remain today, etched into the walls. as well as painted pictographs. In the 1800s, explorers, Mormon pioneers, and others arrived, settling in the area and planting orchards of apples, pears, and peaches. The park was established in 1971.

Entrance fees

An entrance fee of $10 for motorcycles and $10 for private, noncommercial vehicles is charged at entry. The passes are good for seven days. The park offers an annual pass for $30 that is good for 12 months from the purchase date. The national park pass ($80), senior pass ($10) and other national park passes are accepted at Capitol Reef National Park.

Busiest Months

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Hiking and Backpacking Trails:

Capitol Reef has trails for hikers of every skill level.  There are 15 day hiking trails with trailheads in the Fruita area.  Backcountry hikers might consider the southern sections of the park, the Cathedral Valley area, or even Fruita.  Before setting off on a hike, remember that it can get hot in this area and water is limited.

Rock Climbing:

Recent Bird Sightings

Current Astronomy Chart

current night sky over Capitol Reef

Courtesy of the AstroViewer night sky map.


Average Temperature (Monthly)

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Fruita Campground (71 sites) is the only developed campground in the national park.  Cathedral and Cedar Mesa Primitive Campgrounds are located in remote parts of the park and do not have water.  Backcountry camping in the park is allowed with a free permit, subject to regulations on the location.

Some Hotels and Other Lodging Options:

Torrey, located eight miles to the west of the visitor center on State Route 24, is the gateway to Capitol Reef.  Despite its small size (population ~ 200), it has privately operated hotels, cabins, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds and RV parks.

Vacation Packages:

Roundtrip Flights to Salt Lake City


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