Capitol Reef & Arches National Parks

I limited yesterday’s post to Bryce Canyon – but truthfully, we also hit up Capitol Reef National Park on that same day. It was just a quick skip through the area on our way to Arches – but Capitol Reef is not insignificant, and should be ignored.

The main reason I was excited to visit Capitol Reef is the Waterpocket Fold. Which sounds a bit boring – but being the geological geek that I am, I was terribly excited about it. It’s one of only four places like it in the world – a wrinkle that occurs in the crust of the earth.

Being at the wrinkle, it doesn’t look like much, but I was still enthralled.

There are other interesting things about the park – it’s a former Mormon settlement, full of fruit trees that still bear fruit. You can also find abandoned uranium mines with signage warning you to keep your distance.

It’s a lovely spot, and if you are in the neighborhood, you should stop.


As I said, this was just a stop for us, on our way to one of the main things we wanted to see – Delicate Arch. We’d visited Arches last year with our kids, but didn’t have time to do the 3 mile round trip hike.

I’m kind of glad we didn’t.

We got up crazy early Wednesday morning in an effort to be to the arch before the sun rose. There were portions that were more perilous than I would have liked my kids doing – and the trek up was not super easy. We lost the cairns that mark the path a couple of times and went straight up the slickrock – something I don’t recommend.

The reward was worth it though.

I rounded the bend and the arch came into view just after the sun had peeked above the horizon. It was gorgeous.

Seriously – this arch is way bigger than you expect…way more fragile than you think…and way worth the hellish hike we had to get to it.

The rest of Arches is equally lovely. In fact, it’s one of my favorite national parks. The entire Moab area is gorgeous.

Next time we go back, we’re going to hike the Fiery Furnace – but that requires a guide, and I hate hiking with a guide.