Hiking

Exploring the Backcountry in Capitol Reef Nationwide Park – A Photograph Essay

Posted by Jeff on Feb 17, 2021 @ 9:22 am in Capitol Reef National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Photo Essays, Utah | 0 comments | Last change: February 17, 2021

T.Best kept secret among the Mighty Five of Utah’s national parks, Capitol Reef is no stunner when it comes to dynamic scenery and backcountry adventures. It sure is far away. You’ll likely traverse the countryside on dusty dirt roads with names like Notom Bullfrog, Grand Wash, Burr Trail Road, and Strike Valley.

After a lovely day at Goblin Valley State Park, Paula and I spent the night in Torrey, Utah, at the cozy Capitol Reef Resort on December 26, 2020, and then set off for a day of exploration. We took the Scenic Drive from the visitor center via Fruita to Grand Wash and then checked the Gooseneck Trail for precarious views of the Fremont River Canyon. Wow it was cold there with howling wind. We huddled together to keep warm.

We drove more than 60km on Notom Bullfrog Road through the heart of the magnificent Waterpocket Fold, then connected to Burr Trail Road to climb the switchbacks to the western edge of the Fold. We drove three miles up 4WD Strike Valley Road trying to reach Upper Muley Twist, but the recent flash floods had made the entire route impassable. Darn it!

We also wanted to visit Cathedral Valley but were again hindered by an impassable road. The park ranger told us that even a 4×4 vehicle would sink into deep, dry sand. Still, we had a nice day in the otherworldly geology of this remarkable park. Don’t miss out if you are around.

This gallery contains images from the Grand Wash, Scenic Drive, Goosenecks Trail, Notom Bullfrog Road, as well as the Burr Trail and Strike Valley. At the end of the day my Subaru was covered in a layer of red dust, a sign that we were having a wonderful time. Have fun with the photos and please comment.

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