Capitol Reef National Park Journals

On the Plateau, Part VII: Empty, Beautiful Capitol Reef

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A June 2006 trip to Capitol Reef National Park by callen60

Visitor Center and The Castle Photo, Torrey, Utah More Photos
Quote: Emptier but no less impressive than its Utah park brethren, we spent an all-to-brief visit to this remote, beautiful mix of rock, water, and farmland.

On the Plateau, Part VII: Empty, Beautiful Capitol Reef

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Overview

Grand Wash Trailhead on Highway 24 Photo, Utah, United States
Quote:
I’m a sucker for the underrated, the overlooked. It’s hard to put a national park in that category—they all had to catch someone’s eye some time—but Capitol Reef may be as close to that status as any. With four prominent neighbors drawing more traffic, Capitol Reef is the least known of Utah’s five parks (although relatively ‘nearby’ Canyonlands draws a few less visitors).Geography is certainly one reason. Tucked amidst some of Utah’s most forbidding country, Capitol Reef is not reached by accident. Northeast of Bryce and north of Monument Valley, this long, comma-shaped park sits atop the Waterpocket Fold, a geological crease that presented a serious barrier, or reef, to early sett...Read More

Austin’s Chuck Wagon Motel

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Hotel | "Austin's Chuckwagon Motel"

Austin’s Chuck Wagon Motel Photo, Torrey, Utah
Quote:
This small complex is the best place to stay in Torrey. There’s not much to this small town of 120 residents, and the complex that owner Randy Austin and family have built here occupies a fair amount of space near the center of town. There’s a building of standard motel rooms, although it’s rustic wooden construction and three-story height make it more appealing than the great majority of such units. There’s a pool, which we weren’t able to use, but which would be great on summer evenings after a full day of hiking in the dry, high-altitude air.We stayed in one of the ‘cabins’, which I arranged over the phone in mid-winter. For $109 a night, what we found when we arrived was more like a sm...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 27, 2007

Austin’s Chuck Wagon Motel
12 West Main Street
Torrey, Utah 84775
(800) 863-3288

Brink's Burgers Drive-In

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Restaurant

Brink's Burgers Drive-In Photo, Torrey, Utah
Quote:
If you like burgers, eat here. A classic drive-in, Brink’s offers about 15 different versions of their great-tasting certified Angus burger. I went with the basic cheeseburger, fries, and chocolate milk shake. My oldest opted for the jalapeno burger, and after surviving the experience, pronounced it ‘great’. All of us agreed that the milk shakes were top notch. There’s a small seating area that appears to have been added on to the restaurant’s west side. But regardless of whether you sit there, or take the food back to your car, you order through the window in classic drive-up style.The featured burgers include bacon cheeseburgers, pizza burgers (burger and sausage patty with Swiss ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 27, 2007

Brink's Burgers Drive-In
165 E. Main St.
Torrey, Utah 84775
(435) 425-3710

Fruita Historic District

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Attraction

Gifford Homestead, Fruita Photo, Utah, United States
Quote:
No place in Utah gave me as strong a sense of what Mormon settlers endured while carving out homes across this not-always-hospitable state. Hard to reach and only somewhat easier to stay in, it seemed particularly lonely to call this isolated valley home with only two or three dozen fellow residents.But for several decades, up to 10 families at a time did just that. Here on the sheltered floodplains of the Fremont River, the soil was rich enough to raise fruit, and the elevation was just a touch lower, enough to make the winters a bit warmer than in the surrounding region. Fruita’s residents planted apples, apricots, peaches, cherries and other fruits, and made a living off the harvest, li...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 27, 2007

Grand Wash

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Attraction

Grand Wash Trailhead on Highway 24 Photo, Utah, United States
Quote:
We’d planned to spend half a day in Capitol Reef before driving Highway 12 through Boulder, across the Hogsback, and down to Bryce Canyon. A conversation with a Ranger the previous afternoon confirmed our interest in hiking the Grand Wash, which cuts southwest off Highway 24 and meets the Scenic Drive after a few miles. With the Drive still closed by the rain, we pulled off of the Highway, donned our hiking boots, and headed into the Wash. The torrential rains of the previous day were over, and bright blue sky was set off brilliantly by the white rock stretching up above us on either side. This hike runs along the bottom of a fairly broad slot canyon, whose mouth is several dozen yards acr...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 27, 2007

A Short Visit to Capitol Reef

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Story/Tip

Petroglyphs Photo, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Quote:
We drove into Capitol Reef from the west, having left Monument Valley, crossed the Colorado at Hite, and turned west on Highway 24 toward the park at Hanksville. The rain that threatened during our stop at Natural Bridges was now pouring down, washing out any thoughts of seeing what this tiny junction town in the wilderness had to offer. As we headed west into the canyons, the rain began to let up, and by the time we reached the park’s western boundary it had stopped.But its after-effects hadn’t. Sheets of water now poured off the white domes of rock all along the road, and we lost count of the impromptu waterfalls as the road wove upstream through the canyon carved by the Fremont River. W...Read More