Tuesday, July 10, 2012

CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK

July 6th, Friday

We left Arches behind and traveled through Captiol Reef National Park down into Zion National Park. We hadn't intended to take this route, but were encouraged to do so by the locals and other folks who had been through Capital Reef National Park previously. What a delightful ride it was. Capitol Reef, Zion, Bryce and the Canyonlands are all National Parks on the Colorado Plateau which is bordered in the south by the Painted Desert and the Sonoran Desert, on the north by the Uinta Mountains of Utah, on the east by the Rocky Mountains and on the west by the Great Basin of Nevada.  While these are all formed basically by the same geologic and erosion processes, they are all uniquely different.  We saw part of the Canyonlands when we were staying at Arches. We traveled through Capitol Reef on Scenic Byway 12 on our way to Zion and we will see Zion and Bryce in these next few days.

Had we realized how much there was to see in Capitol Reef, we probably would have scheduled a few days here. Failing that, we saw as much as we could on the route including stopping at several overlooks. The Capitol Dome, Navajo Dome and the prehistoric petroglyphs were among our favorite sights.

Capitol Dome

Prehistoric Petroglyphs


Navajo Dome
It is said that the Fremont people inhabited the Captiol Reef Park area around 700 AD and stayed there for about 600 years. The petroglyphs are believed to have been left by them. Around 1880, the Mormons inhabited the valleys and used the water from the nearby Fremont River to irrigate their crops. These pioneers lived there for about 100 years. In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared the area a National Park Service monument and Congress designated it a National Park in 1971. The residents left the area in 1969 and left behind a few small fruit orchards that are still farmed today in a little place called Fruita. If you plan a trip to the West, be sure to include this lovely park.

2 comments:

  1. We plan to stop at this park, and am looking forward to doing a little exploring there. Photos are great!

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  2. Jan and Jim WestonJuly 23, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Thanks for the tip... we'll try to see this too when we are in the area in late August.

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