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Capitol Reef National Park

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Capitol Reef National Park: Our most recommended tours and activities

Utah: Grand Staircase-Escalante Self-Guided Driving Tour

1. Utah: Grand Staircase-Escalante Self-Guided Driving Tour

Explore the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument on a self-guided tour. Follow the app's directions and learn about the area's history, geology, flora, fauna, and tribal legends. Download the app and start your adventure into the stunning Utah landscape near the Red Canyon Visitor Center, perched high up on the rocky cliffs of Flaming Gorge. Admire the views of the vast Red Canyon, carved by the Green River many eons ago. Next, pass by Bryce Canyon National Park and get a crash course in geology. Then, reach the staircase itself, and get an insight into the ancient Fremont, Puebloans, and the Paiute who once called this land home. Leap back in time another 75 million years and learn why the staircase is so rich in dinosaur fossils. Drive to the next stop at the breathtaking Powell Point vista, where you can see the land unfurl for miles and miles in front of you. Continue into the Escalante Petrified Forest, another geological time machine, before heading to Spooky Gulch, a particularly narrow and winding crevasse that is ideal for hiking. Then, make your way to Upper Calf Creek Falls before following the famous Hogback, a dramatic, winding roadway with stunning views off to both sides. Sail through the tiny town of Boulder to Dixie National Forest. Take in the unique Heritage Overlook and Homestead Overlook. Marvel at the panoramic views of the whole landscape of Dixie Forest and the Grand Staircase. End your tour at Capitol Reef, where you will learn about wildfires.

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From Salt Lake City: Private Capitol Reef National Park Tour

2. From Salt Lake City: Private Capitol Reef National Park Tour

Discover Capitol Reef and the historic people who inhabited this desert oasis. This private tour can include hikes in Capitol Gorge, Grand Wash, and Hickman Bridge. Other iconic formations can be seen on an off-road adventure through Cathedral Valley. During the 3.5 hour drive from Salt Lake City, your guide will describe the many options that are available for you to explore in Capitol Reef National Park. Based on your preferences, your knowledgeable guide will make a customized touring plan that will maximize your experience in the park. Capitol Reef lives in the shadows of several more popular parks and therefore has preserved a peaceful, undisturbed feeling here. Recommended hikes include Hickman Bridge, which is one of the most famous arches in the park and the narrows of Grand Wash. Expand your adventure, as Capitol Reef also has a few fantastic off-road drives through scenery filled canyons and valleys which are also highly recommended activities. Rest assured, world-class experiences abound in this less frequented park.

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Capitol Reef National Park: Cathedral Valley Day Trip

3. Capitol Reef National Park: Cathedral Valley Day Trip

Embark on a 70-mile long journey into the heart of Capitol Reef National Park on this off-road day trip in Southern Utah. See wondrous highlights like panoramic views of Cathedral Valley, the famous Gypsum Sinkhole, and the shimmering Glass Castle. As you drive into Capitol Reef National Park, see the amazing, rainbow-like painted desert formations of Bentonite clay and numerous canyons. Catch a glimpse of desert washes and fossilized shorelines the inland ocean that once covered the region millions of years ago. Halfway through the tour, you will stop for lunch and enjoy panoramic views from three overlook points: Lower South Desert, Upper South Desert, and Cathedral Valley. As you traverse back, admire desert highlights like the Gypsum Sinkhole and visit geological phenomenons like the Temples of the Sun and Moon.

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Utah: Capitol Reef National Park Self-Driving Audio Tour

4. Utah: Capitol Reef National Park Self-Driving Audio Tour

Explore Utah's Capitol Reef National Park on a self-guided audio tour. See major natural landmarks like Twin Rocks, Chimney Rocks, and the Fluted Wall as you drive at your own pace. Begin your tour in the town of Torrey. Catch your first glimpse of the unique landscape that has made the Reef famous as you approach the national park. Learn about the park’s history and the tribes who once lived there. See the Twin Rocks and Chimney Rock, iconic formations that will teach you how to identify the different geologic layers you’ll see throughout the Reef. Catch the views from Panorama Point and Gooseneck Overlook. Visit the Fluted Wall, which offers a glimpse back 240 million years into the past. Then, turn your gaze upward to gape at the Castle, a natural fortress overlooking the park. Arrive at the Visitor Center and the official entrance to the most scenic part of the Reef. Go past the Ripple Rock Nature Center and to the Fruita Historic District. Explore this remnant of an old Mormon pioneer town. Continue on toward Danish Hill to take in some more views with a chance to spot some local wildlife. Pass Oyler Mine next, where workers once harvested uranium. Learn about the local Paiute tribe and their traditions and legends. Stop at other major sights, including the Capitol Gorge Trailhead, the ancient petroglyphs, the Hickman Bridge Trail, and the Behunin Cabin.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Capitol Reef National Park

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What people are saying about Capitol Reef National Park

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 3 reviews

What a great trip! Neil and his wife Sarah made sure that everything ran perfectly. We hired Neil to take us to Capital Reef National Park and Great Basin National Park, a two day trip. Neil picked us up at our resort and from that moment on he handled everything. He is extremely knowledgeable. He made sure we saw the best of each park and did not have to worry about any of the winter driving. He stayed in contact with Sarah, making us feel very safe. He always had a plan to handle any bumps along the way. Kudos to Sarah for the wonderful chicken kabobs and other wonderful food she sent with Neil. Neil set up a stove, provided comfortable chairs, and we ate our lunch while enjoying the beauty of nature. We were able to go deep into the park, thanks to his 4 wheel drive, very luxurious SUV. We never would have known where to go without him. He was kind enough to send us some of the photos he took along the way. That was a nice gesture. We would highly recommend him.

This was an informative guide. There were lengthy gaps between chapters and we thought that these gaps could be filled in by providing more information or stories about the history in that area. We did notice some stories repeated between this guide and the Bryce Canyon guide. Overall this is a great way to have your own personal tour guide.

Honestly the highlight of our trip to Utah! Amazing tour guide! He made us feel comfortable and planned out an amazing experience! I highly recommend it!