Capital Reef National Park
Get here early in the day, as the limited camp spaces fill up quickly....
The drive from Bryce to Capital Reef is astounding, with impressive views to the south of the Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument. In the valley bottoms where water is available lush horse farms span from one sand stone wall to another. Then the road begins to climb and climb and the naked stone landscape is supplanted with grass covered hills with massive groves of towering aspen trees. The road climbs to a high ridge ultimately topping out at 9,800 feet. The air is cool, and the scenery looks more like the Rockies, then the desert southwest until you glance southward and see far below the variegated, and jaggedly carved red and orange mesas of the lower elevations. We can still see some isolated snow fields up high above the road and pass several Dixie National Forest campgrounds before the road once again dives down a 10% grade into the heat and stark landscape of the Capital Reef. We sit out the heat of the afternoon parked in the shade of a cottonwood grove, and plan to move out around dinner time on the hunt for photographs along the scenic drive in the capital reef park.