Capitol Reef Countrywide Park – Wikipedia

CapiUtah tol Reef National Park is an American country wide park in south-vital Utah. The park is approximately 60 miles (ninety seven km) long on its north–south axis Utah and simply 6 miles (nine.7 km) extensive on average. The park become established in 1971[3] to keep 241,904 acres (377.ninety eight squaremi; ninety seven,895.08 ha; 978.ninety five km2) of wasteland landscape and is open all 12 months, with May through September being the best visitation months.

Partially in Wayne County, Utah, the place became originally named “Wayne Wonderland” inside the Nineteen Twenties through local boosters Ephraim P. Pectol and Joseph S. Hickman.[four] Capitol Reef National Park become detailed a countrywide monument on August 2, 1937, with the aid of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to protect the region’s colourful canyons, ridges, buttes, and monoliths; however, it become no longer until 1950 that the region formally opened to the general public.[four] Road get right of entry to was progressed in 1962 with the construction of State Route 24 thru the Fremont River Canyon.[5]

The majority of the Utah nearly 100 mi (one hundred sixty km) lengthy up-thrust formation called the Waterpocket Fold—a rocky backbone extending from Thousand Lake Mountain to Lake Powell—is preserved within the park. Capitol Reef is an especially rugged and astonishing segment of the Waterpocket Fold by means of the Fremont River.[5] The park was named for its whitish Navajo Sandstone cliffs with dome formations—similar to the white domes frequently located on capitol homes—that run from the Fremont River to Pleasant Creek at the Waterpocket Fold. Locally, reef refers to any rocky barrier to land journey, simply as ocean reefs are boundaries to sea journey.[6]


Capitol Reef encompasses the Waterpocket Fold, a warp within the earth’s crust this is 65 million years antique. It is the most important uncovered monocline in North America. In this fold, newer and older layers of earth folded over every different in an S-shape. This warp, probable resulting from the identical colliding continental plates that created the Rocky Mountains, has weathered and eroded over millennia to show layers of rock and fossils. The park is full of brilliantly coloured sandstone cliffs, gleaming white domes, and contrasting layers of stone and earth.

The location was named for a line of white domes and cliffs of Navajo Sandstone, every of which looks extremely just like the United States Capitol building,[7] that run from the Fremont River to Pleasant Creek on the Waterpocket Fold.

The fold bureaucracy a north-to-south barrier that has slightly been breached by means of roads. Early settlers noted parallel impassable ridges as “reefs”, from which the park receives the second 1/2 of its name. The first paved avenue was built thru the region in 1962. State Route 24 cuts thru the park traveling east and west between Canyonlands National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, but few different paved roads invade the rugged landscape.

The park is filled with canyons, cliffs, towers, domes, and arches. The Fremont River has reduce canyons thru elements of the Waterpocket Fold, but most of the park is arid desolate tract. A scenic force suggests park traffic some highlights, but it runs only a few miles from the main toll road. Hundreds of miles of trails and unpaved roads lead into the equally scenic backcountry.


Native Americans and Mormons[edit]

Petroglyph in Capitol Gorge

Fremont-tradition Native Americans lived near the perennial Fremont River inside the northern a part of the Capitol Reef Waterpocket Fold across the 12 months a thousand. They irrigated vegetation of maize and squash and saved their grain in stone granaries (in component crafted from the severa black basalt boulders that litter the area). In the thirteenth century, all of the Native American cultures on this vicinity underwent unexpected exchange, likely because of a long drought.[quotation wished] The Fremont settlements and fields have been deserted.

Many years after the Fremont left, Paiutes moved into the location. These Numic-speakme people named the Fremont granaries moki huts and thought they were the homes of a race of tiny human beings or moki.

In 1872 Almon H. Thompson, a geographer connected to United States Army Major John Wesley Powell’s day trip, crossed the Waterpocket Fold even as exploring the region. Geologist Clarence Dutton later spent numerous summers reading the place’s geology. None of those expeditions explored the Waterpocket Fold to any high-quality volume.

Following the American Civil War, officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City sought to establish missions in the remotest niches of the Intermountain West. In 1866, a quasi-military excursion of Mormons in pursuit of natives penetrated the excessive valleys to the west. In the 1870s, settlers moved into these valleys, subsequently organising Loa, Fremont, Lyman, Bicknell, and Torrey.[five]

Mormons settled the Fremont River valley in the 1880s and installed Junction (later renamed Utah Fruita), Caineville, and Aldridge. Fruita prospered, Caineville barely survived, and Aldridge died.[five] In addition to farming, lime become extracted from local limestone, and uranium became extracted early in the 20th century. In 1904 the first claim to a uranium mine inside the vicinity became staked. The ensuing Oyler Mine in Grand Wash produced uranium ore.

By 1920 no greater than ten households at one time had been sustained by way of the fertile flood simple of the Fremont River and the land changed ownership over the years. The region remained isolated.[five] The community became later abandoned and later nonetheless a few buildings have been restored through the National Park Service. Kilns once used to supply lime are nonetheless in Sulphur Creek and near the campgrounds on Scenic Drive.

Early protection efforts[edit]

Local Ephraim Portman Pectol organized a “booster club” in Torrey in 1921. Pectol pressed a promotional marketing campaign, furnishing tales to be sent to periodicals and newspapers. In his efforts, he was increasingly more aided by using his brother-in-regulation, Joseph S. Hickman, who was the Wayne County High School predominant. In 1924, Hickman extended network involvement within the promotional attempt by means of organizing a Wayne County-wide Wayne Wonderland Club. That identical year, Hickman turned into elected to the Utah State Legislature.[eight]

In 1933, Pectol was elected to the presidency of the Associated Civics Club of Southern Utah, successor to the Wayne Wonderland Club. The club raised U.S. $one hundred fifty (equivalent to $2,999 in 2020) to interest a Salt Lake City photographer in taking a series of promotional pictures. For numerous years, the photographer, J. E. Broaddus, traveled and lectured on “Wayne Wonderland”.[8]

In 1933, Pectol turned into elected to the legislature and almost right now contacted President Franklin D. Roosevelt and asked for the introduction of “Wayne Wonderland National Monument” out of the federal lands comprising the majority of the Capitol Reef region. Federal agencies began a feasibility take a look at and boundary evaluation. Meanwhile, Pectol guided the government investigators on severa trips and escorted increasingly more visitors. The lectures of Broaddus were having an effect.[8]

Roosevelt signed a proclamation growing Capitol Reef National Monument on August 2, 1937.[9] In Proclamation 2246, President Roosevelt set apart 37,711 acres (15,261 ha) of the Capitol Reef vicinity. This comprised an area extending approximatelymiles (three.2 km) north of gift State Route 24 and about 10 mi (16 km) south, just past Capitol Gorge. The Great Depression years were lean ones for the National Park Service (NPS), the brand new administering corporation. Funds for the management of Capitol Reef have been nonexistent; it’d be a long time earlier than the first rangers might arrive.[five]

Administration of the monument[edit]

Administration of the brand new monument became positioned below the manage of Zion National Park.[8] A stone ranger cabin and the Sulphur Creek bridge have been built and some street work was achieved through the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration. Historian and printer Charles Kelly came to recognise NPS officials at Zion well and volunteered to watchdog the park for the NPS. Kelly changed into officially appointed custodian-with out-pay in 1943.[8] He labored as a volunteer until 1950, when the NPS presented him a civil-carrier appointment because the first superintendent.[8]

During the Nineteen Fifties Kelly was deeply afflicted by NPS management acceding to needs of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission that Capitol Reef National Monument be opened to uranium prospecting. He felt that the choice had been a mistake and detrimental of the long-term countrywide interest. It grew to become out that there was now not enough ore inside the monument to be really worth mining.[8]

In 1958 Kelly got additional permanent assist in defensive the monument and imposing rules; Park Ranger Grant Clark transferred from Zion. The 12 months Clark arrived, fifty-six thousand site visitors got here to the park, and Charlie Kelly retired for the last time.[8]

During the 1960s (beneath the program call Mission sixty six), NPS regions nationwide received new facilities to meet the demand of mushrooming park visitation. At Capitol Reef, a fifty three-web page campground at Fruita, personnel rental housing, and a new visitor middle have been built, the latter establishing in 1966.[five]

Visitation climbed dramatically after the paved, all-weather State Route 24 become built in 1962 thru the Fremont River canyon near Fruita. State Route 24 replaced the narrow Capitol Gorge wagon road about 10 mi (sixteen km) to the south that regularly washed out. The antique street has seeing that been open only to foot site visitors. In 1967, 146,598 individuals visited the park. The staff became also growing.[five]

During the 1960s, the NPS bought private land parcels at Fruita and Pleasant Creek. Almost all non-public belongings handed into public ownership on a “willing customer-inclined dealer” foundation.[5]

Preservationists satisfied President Lyndon B. Johnson to set aside an giant region of public lands in 1968, simply before he left workplace. In Presidential Proclamation 3888 a further 215,056 acres (87,030 ha) had been located beneath NPS manipulate. By 1970, Capitol Reef National Monument comprised 254,251 acres (102,892 ha) and sprawled southeast from Thousand Lake Mountain almost to the Colorado River. The action was arguable locally, and NPS staffing at the monument become insufficient to properly control the extra land.[5]

National park reputation[edit]

Tower and rock layers at Capitol Reef

The widespread growth of the monument and diversification of the scenic assets quickly raised another issue: whether or not Capitol Reef should be a country wide park, in preference to a monument. Two payments were added into america Congress.[five]

A House invoice (H.R. 17152) added by means of Utah Congressman Laurence J. Burton known as for a a hundred and eighty,000-acre (72,800 ha) national park and an accessory 48,000-acre (19,400 ha) country wide activity location in which more than one use (along with grazing) should retain indefinitely. In the US Senate, meanwhile, Senate invoice S. 531 had already handed on July 1, 1970, and furnished for a 230,000-acre (93,100 ha) countrywide park on my own. The bill called for a 25-12 months section-out of grazing.[five]

In September 1970, United States Department of Interior officials told a residence subcommittee session that they favored approximately 254,000 acres (103,000 ha) be set aside as a country wide park. They additionally endorsed that the grazing section-out duration be 10 years, rather than 25. They did no longer desire the adjunct exercise area.[5]

It was now not till late 1971 that Congressional action changed into finished. By then, the 92nd United States Congress changed into in consultation and S. 531 had languished. A new bill, S. 29, changed into introduced inside the Senate by using Senator Frank E. Moss of Utah and turned into essentially similar to the defunct S. 531 except that it known as for an additional 10,834 acres (four,384 ha) of public lands for a Capitol Reef National Park. In the House, Utah Representative K. Gunn McKay (with Representative Lloyd) had introduced H.R. 9053 to update the lifeless H.R. 17152. This time, the House bill dropped the concept of an accessory Capitol Reef National Recreation Area and adopted the Senate concept of a 25-12 months limit on endured grazing. The Department of Interior turned into nevertheless recommending a country wide park of 254,368 acres (102,939 ha) and a 10-yr restriction for grazing phase-out.[five]

S. 29 passed the Senate in June and turned into sent to the House. The House sooner or later dropped its own bill and surpassed the Senate version with an amendment. Because the Senate changed into no longer in agreement with the House modification, variations have been worked out in Conference Committee. The Conference Committee issued their agreeing document on November 30, 1971. The rules—’An Act to Establish The Capitol Reef National Park inside the State of Utah’—have become Public Law ninety two-207 when it turned into signed by using President Richard Nixon on December 18, 1971.[5]


According to the Köppen climate classification gadget, the Capitol Reef Visitor Center has a chilly semi-arid weather (BSk).

Climate data for Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, 1991-2020 normals, extremes 1938-presentMonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYearRecord high °F (°C)69(21)72(22)80(27)ninety one(33)97(36)104(40)104(forty)102(39)99(37)91(33)77(25)sixty nine(21)104(forty)Average excessive °F (°C)40.6(4.eight)forty six.eight(8.2)57.3(14.1)64.7(18.2)seventy four.three(23.5)86.four(30.2)91.2(32.9)87.8(31.0)seventy nine.7(26.5)65.9(18.eight)51.0(10.6)forty.2(four.6)sixty five.five(18.6)Daily suggest °F (°C)30.5(−zero.8)36.2(2.three)45.four(7.4)fifty one.nine(11.1)61.3(16.3)seventy two.three(22.4)seventy eight.2(25.7)75.3(24.1)sixty seven.2(19.6)54.five(12.five)40.7(4.eight)30.four(−zero.9)fifty three.7(12.1)Average low °F (°C)20.five(−6.4)25.7(−three.five)33.6(zero.nine)39.2(4.0)48.three(9.1)fifty eight.2(14.6)sixty five.2(18.4)62.eight(17.1)54.7(12.6)43.1(6.2)30.four(−zero.9)20.6(−6.3)41.9(5.5)Record low °F (°C)−9(−23)−7(−22)10(−12)18(−eight)28(−2)35(2)forty four(7)forty two(6)30(−1)12(−11)five(−15)−8(−22)−nine(−23)Average precipitation inches (mm)0.fifty six(14)0.50(thirteen)zero.forty six(12)0.fifty two(thirteen)zero.65(17)0.35(eight.9)1.03(26)1.12(28)zero.ninety five(24)zero.87(22)0.50(thirteen)0.37(nine.4)7.88(200)Average snow fall inches (cm)3.eight(nine.7)1.5(3.eight)1.7(4.3)zero.2(zero.fifty one) precipitation days (≥ zero.01 in)3.33.seventy three.64.fifty four. two.72.954.5Average snowy days (≥ zero.1 in) one.86.9Source: NOAA[10][11]Geology[edit]

Waterpocket Fold from the ISS

The region which includes the park turned into once the edge of a shallow sea that invaded the land within the Permian, growing the Cutler Formation.[12] Only the sandstone of the youngest member of the Cutler Formation, the White Rim, is uncovered in the park. The deepening sea left carbonate deposits, forming the limestone of the Kaibab Limestone, the identical formation that rims the Grand Canyon to the southwest.

During the Triassic, streams deposited reddish-brown silt that later have become the siltstone of the Moenkopi Formation. Uplift and erosion accompanied. Conglomerate, accompanied by way of logs, sand, mud, and wind-transported volcanic ash, then fashioned the uranium-containing Chinle Formation.

The members of the Glen Canyon Group were all laid down inside the center- to overdue-Triassic at some point of a time of growing aridity. They consist of:

Wingate Sandstone: sand dunes on the shore of an historic sea

Kayenta Formation: skinny-bedded layers of sand deposited by means of sluggish-moving streams in channels and throughout low plains

Navajo Sandstone: big fossilized sand dunes from a huge Sahara-like desolate tract.

The San Rafael Group consists of 4 Jurassic-length formations, from oldest to youngest:

Carmel Formation: gypsum, sand, and limey silt laid down in what can also were a graben that become periodically flooded by using sea water

Entrada Sandstone: sandstone from barrier islands/sand bars in a near-shore environment

Curtis Formation: made from conglomerate, sandstone, and shale

Summerville Formation: reddish-brown dust and white sand deposited in tidal flats.

Streams yet again laid down mud and sand of their channels, on lakebeds, and in swampy plains, growing the Morrison Formation. Early in the Cretaceous, similar nonmarine sediments were laid down and have become the Dakota Sandstone. Eventually, the Cretaceous Seaway covered the Dakota, depositing the Mancos Shale.

Only small remnants of the Mesaverde Group are determined, capping a few mesas within the park’s eastern segment.

Near the end of the Cretaceous duration, a mountain-constructing occasion known as the Laramide orogeny started to compact and uplift the area, forming the Rocky Mountains and developing monoclines consisting of the Waterpocket Fold within the park. Ten to fifteen million years ago, the whole vicinity turned into uplifted much further by means of the advent of the Colorado Plateau. This uplift turned into very even. Igneous interest inside the shape of volcanism and dike and sill intrusion additionally took place during this time.

The drainage machine in the place become rearranged and steepened, inflicting streams to downcut faster and on occasion change route. Wetter instances for the duration of the ice a while of the Pleistocene improved the charge of erosion.

Visiting the park[edit]

The closest town to Capitol Reef is Torrey, about eleven mi (18 km) west of the traveller middle on Highway 24, barely west of its intersection with Highway 12.[thirteen] Torrey has a population of much less than two hundred, with some lodges and eating places. Highway 12, as well as a partially unpaved scenic backway named the Utah Burr Trail, provide get admission to from the west through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the city of Boulder.[13]


A style of sports are to be had to travelers, each ranger-led and self-guided, which include car journeying, hiking, backpacking, tenting,[14] bicycling (on paved and unpaved roads simplest; no trails), horseback using, canyoneering, and mountaineering.[15] The orchards planted by way of Mormon pioneers are maintained by way of the National Park Service. From early March to mid-October, various fruit—cherries, apricots, peaches, pears, or apples—can be harvested with the aid of site visitors for a charge.[sixteen]

Hiking and backpacking[edit]

A hiking trail guide is to be had on the traveller middle for each day hikes and backcountry hiking. Backcountry access calls for a loose permit.[17][18]

Numerous trails are to be had for trekking and backpacking inside the park, with fifteen inside the Fruita District alone.[18] The following trails are a number of the most popular inside the park:

Cassidy Arch Trail: a totally steep, strenuous 3.5 mi (5.6 km) spherical trip that leads into the Grand Wash to an forget of the Cassidy Arch.[19][17]

Hickman Bridge Trail: a 2 mi (3.2 km) spherical experience main to the herbal bridge.[20]

Frying Pan Trail: an eight.8 mi (14.2 km) round journey that passes the Cassidy Arch, Grand Wash, and Cohab Canyon.[21]

Brimhall Natural Bridge: a popular, although strenuous, 4.five mi (7.2 km) spherical trip with perspectives of Brimhall Canyon, the Waterpocket Fold, and Brimhall Natural Bridge.[22]

Halls Creek Narrows: 22 mi (35 km) lengthy and taken into consideration strenuous, with many side canyons and creeks; normally hiked as a 2-3 day tenting journey.[23]

Auto travelling[edit]

Visitors may additionally discover several of the principle regions of the park by way of personal vehicle:

Scenic Drive: winds via the middle of the park, passing the primary factors of hobby; the road is out there from the traveler middle to about 2 mi (three.2 km) into the Capitol Gorge.[24]

Notom-Bullfrog Road: traverses the eastern side of the Waterpocket Fold, along 10 mi (sixteen km) of paved street, with the the rest unpaved.[25]

Cathedral Road: an unpaved street via the northern regions of the park, that traverses Cathedral Valley, passing the Temples of the Sun and Moon.[25]


The primary camping location is the Fruita campground, with 71 campsites (no water, electric, or sewer hookups), and restrooms without bathing centers.[26] The campground also has group web sites with Utah picnic areas and restrooms.[27] Two primitive free camping regions also are to be had.[28]

See additionally[edit]

List of country wide parks of the United States


 This article includes public domain cloth from web sites or documents of the National Park Service.

Harris, Ann G.; Tuttle, Esther; Tuttle, Sherwood D. (1997). Geology of national parks (Fifth ed.). Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co. ISBN zero-7872-5353-7.

Frye, Bradford J, NPS. From Barrier to Crossroads: An Administrative History of Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. Cultural Resources Selections. 12. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Intermountain Region. OCLC 44648779. Retrieved May 2, 2018.

Reader’s Digest (1993). Explore America: National parks. Pleasantville, N.Y.: Reader’s Digest Association. ISBN 9780895774477.

United States National Park Service (1989). Capitol Reef : professional map and manual. Washington, D.C.: Capitol Reef National Park, National Park Service, U.S. Dept. of the Interior. OCLC 649825634.

United States National Park Service. The National parks : index 2001-2003. Washington, D.C.: Office of Public Affairs and the Division of Publications, National Park Service. OCLC 53228516. Retrieved May 2, 2018.^ “Listing of acreage as of December 31, 2011” (PDF). Land Resource Division, National Park Service. Retrieved March 6, 2012.

^ “NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report”. National Park Service. Retrieved March 6, 2019.

^ Randall, Laura (October 17, 2019). “Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park is like Zion with out the crowds”. The Washington Post. Retrieved November 11, 2019.

^ a b Charles Kelly (September 1, 1995). “The Fathers of Capitol Reef National Park”. State of Utah. Archived from the authentic on September 6, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2016.

^ a b c d e f g h i j okay l m n o “History & Culture”. Capitol Reef National Park. National Pak Service. Retrieved February 24, 2010.

^ “Capitol Reef National Park – Geology”. Capitol Reef National Park web site. U.S. National Park Service. 2007. Retrieved January 17, 2009.

^ HC 70, Mailing Address; Torrey, Box 15; Us, UT 84775 Phone: 435-425-3791 Contact. “Frequently Asked Questions – Capitol Reef National Park (U.S. National Park Service)”. Retrieved November 12, 2019.

^ a b c d e f g h “People”. Capitol Reef National Park. National Park Service. Retrieved February 24, 2010.

^ Proclamation 2246: Capitol Reef National Monument-Utah . August 2, 1937 – via Wikisource. 50 Stat. 1856.

^ “NOWData – NOAA Online Weather Data”. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 12, 2021.

^ “Summary of Monthly Normals 1991-2020”. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 12, 2021.

^ Kamola, Diane L.; Chan, Marjorie A. (1988). Sedimentary Geology. Elsevier B.V. pp. Volume 56, Issues 1–four, Pages 341–356.

^ a b “Capitol Reef National Park Maps: Brochure Map”. National Park Service. February 6, 2017. Retrieved June five, 2018.

^ “Basic Information”. National Park Service. October four, 2019. Retrieved November eleven, 2019.

^ “Outdoor Activities”. Retrieved November 11, 2019.

^ “Fruita Orchards”. National Park Service. January 1, 2016. Retrieved June five, 2018.

^ a b “Trail Guide”. National Park Service. February 24, 2015. Retrieved November eleven, 2019.

^ a b “Hiking and Backpacking”. National Park Service. September 20, 2019. Retrieved November 11, 2019.

^ “Cassidy Arch Hiking Trail”. Retrieved November 11, 2019.

^ “Hickman Bridge Hiking Trail”. Retrieved November 11, 2019.

^ “Frying Pan Trail Hiking Trails”. Retrieved November 11, 2019.

^ “Brimhall Natural Bridge Hiking Trail”. Retrieved November eleven, 2019.

^ “Halls Creek Narrows Hiking Trail”. Retrieved November eleven, 2019.

^ “The Scenic Drive in Capitol Reef National Park”. December 27, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2019.

^ a b “Roads”. Retrieved November eleven, 2019.

^ “Fruita Campground”. Retrieved November eleven, 2019.

^ “”. Retrieved November 11, 2019.

^ “Primitive Campsites”. National Park Service. May 26, 2016. Retrieved June five, 2018.

External links[edit]Official website of the National Park Service

Capitol Reef National Park historical, cultural, clinical, interpretive and educational sports at Capitol Reef National Park.

Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. UT-77, “Capital Reef National Park Roads & Bridges, Along State Route 24 between Torrey & Cainesville, Torrey, Wayne County, UT”, 6 pics, 4 shade transparencies, 2 picture caption pages

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