Southern Utah part 2 of 4 – Capital Reef National Park

“The journey not the arrival matters.” — T. S. Eliot

Moonscape scenery on the beautiful highway 12 about 1/2 hr east of Bryce Canyon

Hwy 12. Stunning!

Mother nature showing off as these sandstone mountains greeted us near Capital Reef national park. Notice the arch that is beginning to form from erosion on one of the formations

The scenery is so grand I’ve decided to go large with the photos. Click on them to get an even bigger image.

We left Bryce Canyon towards Arches national park but I wanted to check out the famed highway 12 which is supposed to be one of the most scenic highways in America. The bonus is that it would take us through Capital Reef , the ugly duckling of national parks in the south. It’s little visited compared to the world famous Zion, Bryce & Arches. Even I have difficulty remembering the name of the park as I typed this. Yes I could have taken a quicker, less scenic route to Arches but I’m so glad we went this way because this park turned out to be (arguably) my favorite park of this trip.

Erosion is not always a bad thing. Although the colors are similar to Bryce, the scenery is completely different

Just after the park entrance is this quiet little trailhead. At only 600' long I didn't have high hopes about this short hike. But who can resist the foreboding danger sign?

Turned out this "little" trail took me to some steep drop offs! Just posing for this photo was a challenge for me.

Me shooting my friend shooting the gooseneck canyons

Because this park is not as visited than the others on this trip, we have the place almost to ourselves. The photo above really shows the tranquil and grand nature of the park. It also shows how easy it is to roll off the cliff.

Jaw dropping Capitol Gorge. This is one of the most awesome drives I've ever done. Just watch for flash floods.

Check out the texture! Driving here is like driving back in time.

At the end of the drive we hiked the 1.25 mile Capitol Gorge trail. If these rocks could talk...

... it would tell us who preceded us. In this case the graffiti was done by the early pioneers hence the name Pioneer Register wall.

In another part of the park are petroglyphs done by early Indians who used to live in the area. (click on image to enlarge and read)

Amazing art. It also shows the animals and aliens (uh Indians) that roamed the park

This park is small enough to do in a day which we did. Other than the camp ground and RV area, I don’t think there’s any sort of lodging within the park. Food and all important water is just as scarce.

Next up…. Canyonlands national park and Dead Horse Point state park.

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