Capitol Reef National Park is a place of spectacular beauty; it has so many areas of special, natural wonder. Unfortunately, very few people get to visit these special places. In an effort to make these hidden treasures known to the public, we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch have created this blog series to highlight the best-unknown places of Capitol Reef. Watch for new “Special Places” posts. In this post we’ll focus on Cathedral Valley, specifically the Temple of the Sun and Moon, and the Walls of Jericho.
Cathedral Valley is the northern section of Capitol Reef. And if you are familiar with the geology of the park, you know that the area is fairly sparse and unvisited. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some amazing things to see in Cathedral Valley – in fact, even the open desert can be worth visiting. But if you are up for a little drive, check out the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Moon, and the Walls of Jericho. This massive sandstone monoliths rise starkly from the sand. If you stand beneath them, you will get a sense of the scale of these formations.
Cathedral Valley is accessible to most cars, but we at the Lodge suggest that you bring a high-clearance, or four-wheel drive vehicle. (The roads can sometimes be bumpy.) There is a primitive camping site in Cathedral Valley, but you can easily stay in the main section of the park, or, if you prefer, in a hotel outside the park.
Since the road system in Cathedral Valley is basically a big loop, we suggest that you drive the entire distance, stopping to hike to the Temples of the Sun and Moon and the Walls of Jericho, of course. Since Cathedral Valley is high-desert country, be sure to take the necessary precautions to have a safe and enjoyable trip.