Capitol Reef National Park

December 18, 2011 by staff 

Capitol Reef National Park, Capitol Reef National Park is a United States National Park, in south-central Utah. It is 100 miles (160 km) long but fairly narrow. The park, established in 1971, preserves 378 mi² (979 km²) and is open all year, although May through September are the most popular months.

Called “Wayne Wonderland” in the 1920s by local boosters Ephraim P. Pectol and Joseph S. Hickman, Capitol Reef National Park protects colorful canyons, ridges, buttes, and monoliths. About 75 miles (120 km) of the long up-thrust called the Waterpocket Fold, a rugged spine extending from Thousand Lake Mountain to Lake Powell, is preserved within the park. “Capitol Reef” is the name of an especially rugged and spectacular segment of the Waterpocket Fold near the Fremont River.

The area was named for a line of white domes and cliffs of Navajo Sandstone, each of which looks somewhat like the United States Capitol building, that run from the Fremont River to Pleasant Creek on the Waterpocket Fold. The local word reef referred to any rocky barrier to travel. Easy road access came with the construction in 1962 of State Route 24 through the Fremont River Canyon.

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