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Plan your next hiking vacation to Capitol Reef National Park with MountainBased Adventures!
Protecting a “wrinkle” in the earth’s crust known as the Waterpocket Fold, Capitol Reef National Park is the least visited in Utah due to its remote location. The Fruita Historic District of the park is a fascinating intersection between human and geologic timelines. It has acted as an oasis and a pathway through the maze of sandstone along the Fremont River, hosting the Fremont Peoples over 11,000 years ago, the explorations of John C. Fremont, and the Mormon settlers of the lake 1800’s.
Capitol Reef is a rare gem to treasure while it remains a quieter spot, until it garners the greater attention it deserves! You’ll have the chance to explore this park as we travel between Arches and Bryce Canyon National Parks on our Utah Mighty Five itinerary.
A guided tour of Capitol Reef National Park is a great way to fully experience the park and all it has to offer. Our local Utah guides will lead you on the most scenic and interesting trails in the park, such as the Fremont River trail, Hickman Bridge trail or Cohab Canyon trail, and provide you with valuable information about the park’s history, geology, plant and animal life along the path. If you get lucky, you might even see a marmot! On a Capitol Reef hiking tour, you’ll also have the opportunity to see rare petroglyphs painted on the canyon walls of the Fremont River, which can be difficult to find on your own. In addition, our tours offer a sense of safety as the guide is trained in first aid, which is especially important given the park’s remote location. MountainBased has received multiple TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards as a top tour company in the Utah National Parks, including Capitol Reef National Park. We would love to have join one of our small group hiking tours!
Capitol Reef National Park is a geological and cultural treasure located in south-central Utah. The park is named after the white sandstone dome formations that resemble the United States Capitol building, and the “reef” refers to the rocky cliffs that form a barrier to travel through the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic monocline (a wrinkle on the earth’s surface).
The area now known as Capitol Reef National Park has a long and varied history. The first humans to inhabit the area were Native Americans, including the Fremont culture. The Fremont people left behind petroglyphs and pictographs (rock art) that can still be seen in the park today. In addition to its rich Native American history, Capitol Reef National Park is home to the historic Fruita Rural Historic District. Fruita was settled in the late 1800s by Mormon pioneers who were seeking to establish a farming community in the desert. The pioneers built irrigation systems and planted orchards, and Fruita became known for its delicious fruit, including apples, peaches, and pears.
The park is also home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. The high desert climate supports a variety of plants, including cactus, yucca, and Joshua trees. Wildlife in the park includes mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, pronghorns, and a variety of birds. Geologically, Capitol Reef National Park is a treasure trove of information about the earth’s history. The park is located in the Waterpocket Fold, a belt of rocky cliffs and ridges that were formed by the collision of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. This collision caused the land to fold and lift, creating the stunning cliffs and rock formations that can be seen in the park today.
Capitol Reef National Park is a beautiful and fascinating place with a rich history and diverse natural surroundings. It is a must-see destination for anyone interested in geology, history, or the natural world. The Fruita Rural Historic District, with its historic orchards and the Gifford House museum, offers a unique glimpse into the park’s history and the lives of the pioneers who settled in the area.
*Based on weather data from the National Park Service
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This tour is classified as a CASUAL LODGING experience which means it focuses more on proximity over luxurious amenities. Each selected property includes double queen rooms, wi-fi, TV and are both centrally located in town. Both rustic properties are known for their mountainous views, great staff, and close proximity to wildlife exploration. Want to learn more? Chat with an expert by calling 1-800-206-7909 or email us here.
This is an Easy to Moderate tour for fit hikers, and will be do-able with some effort by less fit hikers. This tour has a heavy emphasis on wildlife viewing and sightseeing. The trails on this trip feature flat boardwalks and gently rolling terrain with some rocky areas. Perhaps some short, relatively steep climbs and descents, but nothing longer than 20 minutes. Average hiking distance per day is 3-5 miles per day. All activities are optional, and our guides will brief all guests on the activity level of each prior to hiking. You should be in good physical shape and able to hike on uneven terrain for this tour. Trip members should be capable of hiking and carrying a daypack that weighs 10-15 pounds. Want to learn more? Chat with an expert by calling 1-800-206-7909 or email us here.
1 - Easy: These tours will be Easy for anyone who can walk for up to 90 minutes without stopping. Flat to gently rolling terrain with some rocky areas and maybe some steps but no sustained or steep ascents or descents. Max hiking distance per day is 2-3 miles.
2 – Easy to Moderate: These tours are Easy - Moderate for fit hikers, and will be do-able with some effort by less fit hikers. Flat to gently rolling terrain with some rocky areas. Perhaps some short, relatively steep climbs and descents, but nothing longer than 20 minutes. Max hiking distance per day is 3-5 miles.
3 - Moderate: These tours are Moderate for fit and active hikers, and will be a little challenging but do-able for less fit hikers. Rolling to hilly terrain with frequent climbs and descents often over rocky terrain. May have some short, relatively steep climbs and descents. Max hiking distance per day is 5-7 miles.
4 – Moderate to Strenuous: These tours are classified as Moderate to Strenuous for fit hikers who will find them a satisfying and challenging workout; they are not appropriate for unfit hikers. Rolling and often steep terrain with frequent challenging ascents and descents, often over rugged and uneven terrain. Max hiking distance per day is 10 miles.
5 – Strenuous: These tours are for strong hikers in excellent physical condition, this tour is classified as Strenuous, pushes themselves daily, distance and elevation are not an issue. First one to the top! Rolling and often steep terrain. Challenging sustained climbs and descents of up to 4,000 ft. Has no issue with changing altitudes during physical exertion. Max hiking distance per day is 10-15 miles.