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Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Capitol Reef National Park

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  • Website: Capitol Reef National Park.
  • Cost: $15.00 per vehicle.
  • Accommodations in the park: RV and tent camping. Backcountry camping allowed with a permit.
  • Great park for hiking, biking, and climbing.
  • Lodging, additional camping, and groceries available in Torrey, Utah – 11 miles west of the west park entrance.
  • Restaurants available in Torrey. *Recommended: Slackers – good burgers!
  • When to go to Capitol Reef: Anytime. We recommend May or September.

The interesting terrain at Capitol Reef National Park was created by a 90-mile long wrinkle in the earth called a waterpocket fold. The picture below was taken from a high point on Highway 12 looking toward Capitol Reef (mid-background).

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Getting There

From Bryce Canyon National Park, take Highway 12 (recommended scenic route through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument) east toward Escalante, Utah, then north to Highway 24 through Torrey, Utah to the park’s entrance. Travel tip: use extreme caution on Highway 12 through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. There are twists, turns, and high points on the two lane road with no guardrails in some places, however, the scenery is spectacular and very worth taking the route. Drive time between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef: 2.5 hours, or,

From Salt Lake City (closest major airport city), take I-15 south to Scipio, Utah. At Scipio, take US Highway 50 to US Highway 89 to Richfield, Utah then Highway 24 south(east) through Torrey, Utah and the park’s entrance. Drive time between Salt Lake City and Capitol Reef National Park: 3.5 hours.

Travel tip: if you are continuing on to Moab, Utah, top off your gas tank in Torrey before entering the park. The closest gas station (in Hanksville) is an hour east.

Destination: Capitol Reef National Park

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Stop in at the visitor center for information about the park. Then continue on Highway 24 to Fruita, Utah, which is the site of an old settlement that is now contained inside the park. Did you know that the original orchards planted by settlers in this area remain in Capital Reef today? The orchards are open to the public during the picking seasons. Check the park’s website for details about how and when the fruits can be harvested.

At Fruita, stop in at the Gifford House Museum and Store, check out the Fruita Schoolhouse, and don’t forget to take a few pictures of the Gifford Barn; it’s a classic!

The Fruita historic area is a great place for a leisurely stroll and a picnic. There is a campground here, too.

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Gifford Barn

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Take Scenic Drive south of Fruita for scenery and views of the waterpocket fold, or continue on Highway 24 east through the park. There are several places to pull out. We enjoyed seeing the petroglyphs. Parking is available in this area and there are easy trails/boardwalk to allow ample viewing of these ancient wonders.

Of course, the scenery is what we went to Capitol Reef to see, and it didn’t disappoint. Below are some of our favorite shots.

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We are quite fond of red rocks, and no, they never get old!

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Interesting Formations and Beautiful Colors

This park is where we first learned about desert varnish. The “varnish”, from minerals and metals in the rock turns the rock into a work of art. Isn’t nature amazing?

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This cliff face looks painted, but it’s not. It is just that pretty, although, the photo does not do justice to the actual view. The petroglyphs pictured above were high up on this wall.

IMG_2268Travel tip: Capitol Reef has miles and miles of hiking trails for day hikers of all skill levels. There are also many options for backcountry hiking and backpacking. Just remember that this is the desert and it can get extremely hot during the day. Take more water than you think you will need.IMG_2223We hope you enjoyed our short overview of Capitol Reef National Park. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get as much traffic or publicity as some of the other Utah national parks, but a short or long visit to Capitol Reef will be well worth you time. Leave a comment below and tell us about your trip. We love hearing from you. Until next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018

 

Featured

Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Colorado National Monument

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    Independence Monument

    Website: Colorado National Monument

  • Cost: $15.00 per car for a 7 day pass
  • Campground available for RVs and tents
  • Backcountry camping with permit
  • Scenic drive
  • On or off trail hiking
  • Biking
  • Backpacking
  • Regulated climbing
  • When to go: anytime

Colorado National Monument is located between the cities of Grand Junction and Fruita, Colorado. Grand Junction has a regional airport serviced by a few national and regional carriers, so that is where our trip is going to start. Grab your camera and get ready to be amazed!

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Getting There

From Grand Junction, take Highway 340 (Broadway Avenue) west to the park entrance. Drive time: approximately 20 minutes.

⇒Alternate Route: from Fruita and I-70, take Highway 340 south to the park entrance and visitor center. Drive time: approximately 15 minutes.

*Recommended hotel in Grand Junction: Hampton Inn

*Recommended restaurant in Grand Junction: El Tapatio – 1145 North Ave.

For additional information about the area, here’s a helpful link: Visit Grand Junction.

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Monument Canyon

Destination: Colorado National Monument

Rim Rock Drive winds through the park from east to west for 23 miles and is the best way to see the highlights of the monument. We suggest taking the drive and stopping at the visitor center before trekking off to hike or backpack in the park. The scenery is spectacular (excellent photo ops), and there are about fifteen viewpoints or overlooks along Rim Rock Drive. Stop at all of them to see the unique rock formations and deep canyons that make this monument so breathtakingly beautiful.

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Cold Shivers Point
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Fallen Rock

Travel tip: Rim Rock Drive is a two lane road that has twists, turns, drop offs, and hills. Be cautious. Stick to the speed limit, and watch out for the bicyclists who also use this road.

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“Wow” moments at every viewpoint!
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Coke Ovens Formation

When driving or hiking through the monument, you would never know that there were busy cities just a few minutes away. Come to Colorado National Monument to get away from the hustle and bustle. Feast your eyes on its beauty, while taking a break to enjoy nature. Be on the lookout for bighorn sheep here, as well as collared lizards and a variety of birds that also make their homes in the park. Some visitors may be lucky enough to spot a golden eagle or peregrine falcon.

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Interesting shapes and beautiful colors!

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The photo above was taken at the visitor center. This vista can be viewed anytime online via the park’s webcam. Log on to see how the seasons and changing light affect the view. See our Places/Links page above for the link under the National Park Webcams section and scroll down to Colorado National Monument.

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Up close and personal

Thank you so much for joining us! We hope you will return to our site for more great American road trips. If you have questions or comments, by all means, leave one. We love hearing from you. We will conclude this post with a shot of the interesting terrain south of Grand Junction along US Highway 50.

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Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Arches National Park

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  • Website: Arches National Park.
  • Cost: $30.00 per car.
  • Lodging in the park: one campground for RV and tent camping. Reservations accepted.
  • Accommodations and restaurants outside the park in Moab, Utah.
  • Hiking and backpacking trails in the park.
  • When to go: Anytime.

The crowds at Arches during the summer months are certainly a testament to the park’s popularity. But what’s not to like? Rock formations, incredible arches, gorgeous scenery, and the park’s location, bordering the Colorado River near Moab, Utah… Well, it doesn’t get much better than that! There truly is nothing else like Arches. You’re going to love this park, so let’s hit the road!

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Arches National Park

Arches is located approximately:

350 miles from Denver, Colorado230 miles from Salt Lake City, Utah110 miles from Grand Junction, Colorado

This trip starts from Grand Junction, Colorado because it is the most scenic route. Grand Junction has a regional airport supporting three major carriers, as well as several regional airlines. The closest major airport city is Salt Lake City. If you are traveling from Capitol Reef National Park, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, too.

Getting There

*Recommended hotels in Grand Junction: Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express.

*Recommended restaurant in Grand Junction: El Tapatio – 1145 North Ave. Our favorite Mexican food anywhere — and we’re from Texas! (The El Tapatio in Page, Arizona is just as good.) The restaurants are family owned, and they have excellent service. Muy Bueno!

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Colorado River Along Highway 128

(Recommended route) From Grand Junction, take I-70 west across the Utah border to Highway 128. Take Highway 128 south toward Moab. This is an incredibly scenic route. Allow time to stop for (hundreds of) photo ops as the road follows the Colorado River all the way to Moab. Travel tip: the speed limit on I-70 in Utah is 80 mph. Drive time between Grand Junction, Colorado and Moab, Utah: depends on how many stops are made, but approximately 3 hours. Highway 128 is approximately 41 miles long.

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Colorado National Monument

Bonus stop: Colorado National Monument. Enter the park at the Grand Junction entrance, then take Rim Rock Drive for 23 miles of spectacular rock formations, spires, and deep canyons. Lots of pull outs and photo ops. Informative visitor center near the Fruita entrance. Hiking, biking, climbing, backpacking, and camping available. Here’s a link: Colorado National Monument. 

Exit Colorado National Monument at Fruita, Colorado and continue on I-70 west toward the Utah state line and then the Highway 128 exit. Drive time between Fruita and Moab: 2 hours. 

For those traveling from Capitol Reef National Park, stay on Highway 24 via Hanksville, Utah, and continue on Highway 24 to I-70. Take I-70 east to Highway 191 south to Arches and Moab. Drive time from Capitol Reef National Park to Arches National Park: 2 hours. Travel tip: top off your gas tank in Hanksville. The next available gas and other services will be in Green River which is approximately 60 miles through desert terrain.

*Recommended hotel in Moab: Holiday Inn Express.

Campgrounds and RV parks are available in Moab. We have heard that they fill up quickly, so advance reservations are highly suggested.

*Recommended restaurants in Moab: Zax Restaurant – 96 S Main St., and Pasta Jay’s – 4 S Main St.

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*Recommended tour company in Moab: Canyonlands by Night & Day. This company offers a full menu of adventures in the Moab area. We highly recommend the Sound and Light Show tour, which includes dinner (good food, by the way) followed by an evening boat ride on the Colorado River. Learn the history of the area and see the sights in the river canyon. Here’s a link to the website: Canyonlands by Night & Day

Destination: Arches National Park

Get ready for some jaw dropping sights!

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Window Wonders
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Magnificent Monoliths

Take your time driving through the park. Stop at the pull outs to read about the formations/arches and learn about how the features in this park were formed.

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Delicate Arch(es)
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Gorgeous Landscapes

Plan to spend a few days in Moab. There is another spectacular national park, Canyonlands, right next door, along with a scenic state park. You won’t want to miss either of those parks. (Stay tuned – we will be covering those in another post.)

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Moab has just about every outdoor adventure sport imaginable! From skydiving to hot air ballooning, the sky is the limit, and Moab is a mountain biking mecca. Off-roading is super popular, and there are several outfitters in town that can arrange almost anything you want to do. There is plenty of shopping on Main Street, and for those who like tourist traps, there’s one of those, too. Quirky Hole N The Rock is worth a quick stop for a souvenir or two. It’s on Highway 191, 12 miles south of Moab. Kids will love this place!

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We hope your trip to Arches National Park is as spectacular as the scenery! Please leave us a comment and tell us about your favorite road trip destinations, or tell us about your trip to Arches. We want to hear from you. Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018