Capitol Reef National Park greets visitors with stunning monoliths rising from the desert floor, sheer cliffs and colorful sandstone. And best yet? Fewer crowds than many of Utah’s other national parks. Get a jumpstart on your day exploring the park at Dark Sky Coffee in Torrey, Utah, which has a drive-thru so you can hit the road faster.

While there’s so much to see and do in Capitol Reef, locals suggest planning an entire day to drive the Cathedral Valley Loop. This remote part of the park promises solitude and will wow you with its stunning formations. High-clearance vehicles are required. Not traveling in an adventure rig? Rent a Jeep from a local outfitter.

Jeep at overlook in Capitol Reef Country, Wayne County

Capitol Reef is just the beginning of what this scenic part of Utah has to offer.

“Our landscape is so diverse here,” says Capitol Reef Country director Nycole Durfey. “We have greys and purples that look like Mars, the reds of Capitol Reef and beautiful green forests.”

You’ll find yourself wondering if you haven’t been transported to another planet when you visit Goblin Valley State Park outside of Green River. The soft sandstone in this park has eroded into bizarre formations that some say resemble goblins.

Hiker in Goblin Valley State Park in Utah

Hiker in Goblin Valley State Park

For more breathtaking views, drive Scenic Byway 12, rated one of the top 10 most scenic drives by National Geographic, from Capitol Reef to Bryce Canyon National Park.

“It should really be its own national park,” says Durfey. “You can see forever.”

At the end of the day, treat yourself to dinner at The Hunt & Gather in Torrey, serving dishes so beautifully plated, they’ll compete with the national parks for your favorite views of the trip. Or, for a more casual meal, head to Slackers Burger Joint, a 1950s-style restaurant serving up mouthwatering burgers and ice cream.

You’ll find accommodations to fit every taste in the area from Cowboy Homestead Cabins to the beautiful Cougar Ridge Resort, a favorite of Hollywood stars. 

For More Information:
Wayne County Office of Tourism
(800) 858-7951


Heading west on Highway 24 to Capitol Reef National Park

Hanksville, Utah to Capitol Reef National Park Scenic Drive

From Hanksville, a mining and ranching town, through the ghost town of Caineville, and on to Capitol Reef National Park, Hwy 24 will not disappoint.


Official Capitol Reef National Park Map PDF

A very specific and useful map of Capitol Reef National Park showing roads, features, and entrances.

The white domes of the Navajo formation are stop #10 on the Capitol Reef scenic drive.

Perfect Day in Capitol Reef National Park

Known for its incredible red-rock formations and its fruit orchard, Capitol Reef National Park is a fantastic place to spend a day or more exploring.

Glass-ceiling pool house with hot tub at Broken Spur Inn in Torrey, Utah

Broken Spur Inn & Steakhouse near Capitol Reef National Park

For Capitol Reef lodging, stay at one of the closest properties to that famous scenic drive that leads through the park.

Utah Highway 12 through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Scenic Utah Byway 12 from Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef

Car and Driver rated it among ten most scenic highways, Forbes as one of America's best snowy drives, and Backpacker magazine as a favorite Wild Road.

The Hickman Natural Bridge in Capitol Reef National Park

Natural Rock Arches in Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park has over 20 natural arches including the most famous one, Hickman Natural Bridge.

Spring sunrise in Fruita.

Capitol Reef Orchards in Fruita

It's a surprise to see orchards in the desert. The trees were planted by settlers but are now part of the park. See blossoms in spring and pick fruit in fall.

Metate Arch in Devil's Garden, Grand Staircase-Escalente National Monument

Track Down Solitude in Bryce Canyon Country

Discover the solitude you’ve been searching for just east of Bryce Canyon National Park in towns like Boulder and Escalante, Utah.

Cassidy Arch in Capitol Reef National Park

5 Things to See at Capitol Reef National Park

The best viewpoints, trails, and attractions in this under-the-radar park.