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Going Mobile

Capitol Reef National Park worthy of more attention

TORREY, Utah -- The RV life is filled with contrasts.

Last week, we left Grand Teton National Park, one of the most-visited parks in America, in the middle of a blizzard. This week, we’re in 90-degree weather in the red rocks of Capitol Reef National Park in Utah, one of the least-listed parks in America.

Of Utah’s five incredible national parks, Capitol Reef is often an afterthought for a lot of travelers. Zion, Arches, Bryce Canyon and Canyonlands get more attention -- and bigger crowds. Yet Capitol Reef is every bit as deserving of a visit.

In round four of Going Mobile, we’ve decided to mix in places that we love with places that we’ve never been, such as Capitol Reef, a rocky wrinkle in the landscape known as the Waterpocket Fold.

It’s filled with beautiful domes and cliffs, arches and twisting canyons. And at the base of the main canyon, the lovely Fremont River rolls through, offering water for a Mormon settlement. Known as the Fruita Historic District, it offers several of the park’s attractions and a lovely fruit tree-lined campground.

Part of the delicious fun of RV travel is discovery. And the minute we drove into Capitol Reef, we knew we had made the right choice in traveling here.

It’s not an easy place to get to. Located in south-central Utah, Capitol Reef isn’t near any major metro areas. We drove about four hours from the Heber Valley area near Salt Lake City.

We had tried to get a reservation to stay in the park way back in March, but all sites were booked. Instead, we stayed in Torrey, a small town 11 miles away, at the comfortable Wonderland RV Park.

After a hectic drive, it was nice to pull into a place that was easy. Wonderland RV Park offers full hookups and pull-through sites for $50 a night. You can read more about this nice commercial park in our blog on the Spokesman-Review website.

We spent two days visiting Capitol Reef from Torrey and did two amazing hikes high above the main canyon. John also cycled the paved 8-mile scenic drive through the park while Leslie attended a ranger-led program on the geology of this striking place.

 

It’s a gorgeous discovery, which we were drawn back to at dinner when the crowds were nonexistent. Read more about our sunset picnics on the blog.

Heber Valley

Along the way to Capitol Reef, we took three days off from the road at Wasatch Mountain State Park in Heber City, Utah, just east of the booming Salt Lake metro area.

The state park is comfortable, with large private sites that look out onto the Wasatch range and the valley below. Full hookups go for $40 a night.

We used Wasatch Mountain State Park as a base to visit nearby Park City, just a few miles away over a scenic pass. And, yes, there were many hours of just hanging out, enjoying the friendly environs of Heber City.

Sometimes we need a little down time.

Next up

We’re going to another place we’ve never visited in our RV, Bryce Canyon National Park. Then we’re heading back to one of our favorite places on Earth -- Grand Canyon National Park, this time exploring the North Rim.

For more photos and updates from the journey of discovery, check us out online at instagram.com/ourgrandtour.



Leslie Kelly
Leslie Kelly is a freelance writer.