day 11: Moab - Capitol Reef NP - Bryce Canyon NP


.                                           Our route on day 11 (lenght: 290 miles / 470 km)

Pictures of scenery on the way from Moab to Capitol Reef NP:


Our first destination for the 11th day of our trip was the Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. Starting in Moab we drove on Highway US-191 to the north and than on the Interstate 70 to the west, until we reached the Highway UT-24. Driving on Highway UT-24 to the southwest, we saw an interesting landscape with changing rock and earth colors every few miles. After about 150 miles we reached Capitol Reef National Park and we where really surprised how beautiful this park is. After our visits at all the other parks, for example Grand Canyon NP and Arches NP, we didnít expect to see something that can come close to. But this park has something special. Maybe it is its colorfulness. The rocks are not only red and brown. Lots of them are yellow and white. Also this was the quietest park we visited during our trip.

    .         Entrance sign, Capitol Reef NP, UT                Highway UT-24 crossing Capitol Reef NP                        Nick at Capitol Reef NP

Capitol Reef National Park preserves most of a Waterpocket Fold beginning north of Lake Powell and stretching 100 miles further to the north up to the Fishlake Mountains in Central Utah. It contains multicolored cliffs, narrow canyons, ridges, arches, spires and domes. The first part of the parks name come from the whitish colored sandstone domes, resambling the US Capitol building. The second part (Reef) refers to the high uplifted ridge running north-south along the fold. Its isolation makes it the least visited of Utah's national parks. The silence adds much to the experience you get in this park.
The Highway UT-24 is also the main road of this park, crossing it in east-west direction. Along this road are some attractions of the park such as Capitol Dome, Old Fruita Schoolhouse and also trailheads to Hickman Bridge and Grand Wash.
Visitors should definitely drive ten mile scenic road which follows the reef itself in north-south direction. This road goes past huge, crumbling, multicolored cliffs with magnificent scenery in all directions. The last few miles are unpaved, and most of the route is narrow and winding. The road ends at the start of a narrow steep-walled canyon (Capitol Gorge) that extends for several miles southwards.

    .               Our RV at Capitol Reef NP                    Petra & Nick on the way to Hickman Bridge         Petra & Nick on the way to Hickman Bridge

Capitol Reef driving and hiking

After several stops at viewpoints along the parks main road we parked our RV at a trailhead. Here we started our hike to the Hickman Bridge. We walked the trail going along the river bank of the Freemont River and than up the cliffs and across an open area. Than the trail went into a shallow canyon. At the end of this canyon was Hickman Bridge, an impressive natural arch, with a 130 ft. (40 m) span and 125 ft. (38 m) height. At Hickman Bridge we made a long break, exploring the surroundings, watching the chipmunks and enjoying the quietness of this place. On the way back we came along a very good overlook to the Freemont River valley.
Back to the RV we drove further to the west, stopped at the Old Schoolhouse and at the Visitors Information Center. At the Visitors Information Center we turned into the scenic road and drove it to the south end.

    .            Petra & Nick at Capitol Reef NP                          Nick at Hickman Bridge Trail                    Petra at Panorama Point, Capitol Reef NP

We left Capitol Reef National at the west exit on Highway 24. Near Torrey we turned into Highway 12, also called Utah Scenic Highway 12, because this Highway crosses the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a dramatic landscape with a fantastic scenery. It presents unique combination of archaeological, historical, paleontological, geological, and biological resources. This is one of the most scenic drives of the southwest with panoramas, cream- and rose-colored cliffs of Navajo sandstone and scenic canyons cut by the Escalante River. Numerous roadside overlooks and wayside exhibits may be found along the route.


.                      Utah Scenic Highway 12                              Scenery along Highway 12, UT                       Fuel stop at Highway 12, UT

The sun was already set and it was beginning to get dark as we arrived at Rubyís Inn. Rubyís Inn is a big Hotel Resort and RV park/campground located in front of the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. The hotel complex, which includes some gift shops, restaurants, swimming pool and spa, fuel station and a lot more, is build in an western style which fits in the surrounding, despite its size.
We went to the RV park first to get our campsite for the night. After we had some diner, we went to the hotel indoor spa for relaxation.

    .             Ruby's Inn RV Park sign                                   Indoor pool at Ruby's Inn                                       Ruby's Inn hotel lobby

    day 11 travel dates:

    Route: Moab, UT - Capitol Reef NP - Grand Staircase-Escalante NM - Bryce Canyon NP, UT
    Miles: today = 290 / total = 1634
    Visiting: Capitol Reef NP, UT & Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, UT & Bryce Canyon NP, UT
    Night at Ruby's Inn RV Park, Bryce Canyon, UT



USA Southwest 2002 ----- Travel ----- Klaus Tueshaus ----- Established: 08-APR-2002 ----- Last Update: 05-MAR-2018