Capitol Reef is, in our opinion, the best national park in Utah. It has the best features of all the other parks in the state – the sandstone towers of Zion Canyon, arches and bridges of Arches National Park, and the narrow slot canyons of Canyonlands. In order to see everything, we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch encourage you to visit Capitol Reef’s three sections. It’s not official but this is how we divide up the park. There is the Main Thoroughfare area, Cathedral Valley, and the Waterpocket Fold.
The Main Thoroughfare – this is where you enter the park, and is the region most commonly seen by visitors. This middle stretch contains the visitor center, the campground, the scenic toll road. The rising stone cliffs should remind you of Zion National Park. To view an amazing scenic panorama, hike Navajo Knobe. And stop by the historic Gifford House for old-fashioned treats.
Cathedral Valley – this sparse desert plateau lies to the north of the Main Thoroughfare. It is the least visited area of the park. The open expanse of desert enlarges the mind. This vast landscape is perfect for high adventurers who want to spend some time in the backcountry. Be sure to check out the Temple of the Sun, and the Temple of the Moon.
Waterpocket Fold – this is the most diverse, and impressive, of the three subdivisions. The earth has folded upon itself again and again, and water has carved narrow canyons. The Henry Mountains border the Waterpocket Fold on the east. The narrow slot canyons and arches are like a perfect mix of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. Hike Cottonwood Wash, drive the Burr Trail Road.