nearly a quarter-million acres of towering landscape,
this lesser-known national park is named after Capitol
Dome, a rock outcropping atop a high cliff which is
capped with white sandstone. The rock somewhat resembles
the Capitol Building in Washington.
rock formations in the park are part of the Waterpocket
Fold, an eroded bulge which runs for 100 miles. The huge
cliffs and pinnacles offer colorful views.
The main town in the area is Torrey, which has stores and
to See & Do
formations in the park are part of the Waterpocket Fold,
an eroded bulge which runs for 100 miles. The huge cliffs
and pinnacles offer colorful views. A unique feature of
this park is the old pioneer Mormon community of Fruita,
which lies within the park. Orchards (apple, pear,
apricot, cherry & peach) are maintained by the parks
service at Fruita and picking is permitted in season.
Guided tours of the orchards and historic buildings are
given by park staff during summer months.
24 is the main route through the park. Hanksville is to
the east and Torrey to the west. Highway 12 approaches
Torrey from the south, providing a scenic route from such
towns as Boulder and Escalante. While most of the park's
hiking trails and other attractions are accessible from
Highway 24, backcountry roads fan out to the more remote
sections of the park. The visitor center is located along
the highway, and interpretation programs are given during
the prime season.
peak season runs from mid-April through October. Summer
temperatures range up to 90 degrees but nights are
comfortably cool. There are no commercial accommodations
within the park, and people usually stay in motels in
Torrey, Hanksville, Bicknell, and Loa, as well as two
motels next to the western park entrance (see
are five easy-to-moderate trails:
Trail&emdash;Start from the Goosenecks parking lot.
This 1-hour walk is over 2 miles, with good views of
Sulphur Creek Canyon and beyond.
Gorge Trail -- Start at the Capitol Gorge parking
lot. The trail leads 2 miles to petroglyphs and the
park's unique waterpockets, or "tanks."
Wash Trail -- From a parking lot, this trail runs 4.5
miles (a 2.- hour walk) along the bottom of the
River Trail -- From the campground this trail leads
2.5 miles through twisted canyons near the river, for a
2-hour walk that is moderately-strenuous after the first
1/2 mile .
Bridge Trail -- This 2-mile trail is self-guiding
& a moderate walk.
trails in the park are considered strenuous. These
include the Rim Overlook Trail, a spur off the
Hickman Trail, which leads 4.5 miles and ends on top of
1,000-foot cliffs. Chimney Rock Trail is a fairly
hard climb with switchbacks and an easier hike on the
upper loop. The 3.5-mile hike takes about 2.5 hours. The
trail to Cassidy Arch (named after Butch who hid
here) leaves from Grand Wash and takes about 3 hours (3.5
miles). The trail climbs up high cliffs. The longest
trail in the park is the Frying Pan Trail, with
trailheads at Cassidy Arch or Cohab Canyon. It takes
about 6 hours to hike and leads through much slickrock.
This is for experienced and fit hikers only.
Reef Park Camping
national park campground, at the old Fruita townsite, has
70 units. It is located one mile from the park visitor
center and has picnic tables, water, rest rooms, grills
and nature trails nearby. There are two primitive
campgrounds: in Cathedral Valley and on Cedar Mesa. Rim
Rock Motel has 45 campsites, for Rvs and tents.