Capitol Reef


Capitol Reef National Park

[Capitol Reef  National Park] [Goblin Valley] [Wolverton Mill] [Horseshoe Canyon] [Egan Hatchery] [Chappel Cheese] [Map- Capitol Reef Area] [Map – Park] [ Map – Hanksville Area]  ][Capitol Reef Area] 
The beauty of this park is that it is located right along the way to the other parks. Whether you are going to Arches or Bryce or a trip along Highway 12, you go right by Capitol Reef.


The Visitor Center

Start your visit at the Visitor Center. Maps, guides and helpful rangers will answer all of your questions. Be sure to pick up the book “Red Rock Eden.” It is a fun story of a family that lived in the area long before it ever was a park.


Scenic Drive

An essential part of your visit should be the scenic drive. It will take a half hour or so to drive down and back but you enter a completely different world. You pass the Grand Wash with its hike through the narrows and also at the Capitol Gorge you have the chance to take a short hike.


Capitol Gorge

Capitol Gorge is located at the end of the scenic drive. The gorge is a fun turn around point or you can hike through the gorge and come to some historical names and to the desert water tanks. The walls of the gorge narrow to just twenty feet wide by a few hundred feet straight up.


The One Room School

Remember hearing about these one room schools where everyone went to learn and all of the grades were together. Well here is your chance to see one close up. At the bottom of this page is a short story of Fay Gifford and his recollection of life in Fruita’s One Room Schoolhouse. The Schoolhouse is located along highway 24, the main road running throught the park.


Petroglyph Walk – The Bighorn Sheep

Just to the east of the schoolhouse are the petroglyph panels. There is a short walk along the rock walls where you can see all of the panels.


Petroglyph Walk – The Ancient Family

This group of people is preserved in the rock. Whether they were a part of a ceremony or a family, the figures are still very interesting.


Hickman Bridge and Hike

Hickman Bridge was described as the “essence of a Wayne County vacation.” This beautiful rock formation is a short mile hike up from the canyon floor. It is located just to the east of the schoolhouse and petroglyph hike about a mile.


The Capitol Domes and Hwy. 24

This shot was taken from the Hickman Bridge hike and is looking east. Notice the rock formations that look like the capitol dome. The park got its name from these formations and the name reef came from the nautical term meaning an impassible formation.


Boogie Man Falls

The falls are located right along Higway 24 a few miles east of the Hickman Bridge. They got their name from the undertow that sucks people under and spits them out unconscious. It seems that the falls were man made and when the water came over them there was an undertow created. The falls have been blasted with dynamite to help solve the problem but swimming is still dangerous.


Landscapes of the Park



This image was taken from the overlook to the west of the scenic drive looking east. The cliffs and desert and the quiet are what makes Capitol Reef.


Yellow Wildflowers

These flowers were captured on a rainy, overcast day along the scenic drive.


Formations like Castles

Capitol Reef is known for its strong rock formations, formations that look like castles and chimneys and all sorts of other bold items.


Capitol Reef’s One Room SchoolhouseEvery time I drive through Capitol Reef I stop by the one-room school house. It never fails to give me the feeling of what life was like in a small pioneer town like Fruita. Fay Gifford was part of that town.I met Fay Gifford about 10 years ago when I moved to Toquerville (a small town near St. George). That is when I learned that Fay used to live in the little town of Fruita and that he attended the one-room school house.I started to quiz Fay about the school.Fay, tell me about that snake the teacher talks about on the Park Service recording. He chuckled while searching his memories and replied: There was an irrigation ditch we had to cross in order to get to and from school. We had been home to lunch and got back before the teacher did. We brought back with us a little water snake… As a matter of fact, it was a fair-sized water snake.We killed it, and then took it in and pulled her chair out from her desk. We coiled it up on the chair just like it was ready to strike. When she came in, of course everybody was in their seats, sitting just as nice as can be. She entered, pulled her chair out and almost sat down before she saw it. She turned just as white as a sheet, and boy, I’ll tell you, at that point we were the ones who were scared. I asked Fay if he had any more stories like that one. It didn’t take him long to respond. The school house sits over there pretty close to that big high ledge. Once in a while a rock would fall off of the ledge. We had a man teacher at the time. One day we heard rocks falling and tumbling down the slope. The teacher yelled for us to get out of there. Guess who was in the lead – he was. Fay described life in a one-room school. I went to the school til I was in the 8th grade. It’s where I got all my smarts. There were usually just a small number of kids attending … six, eight or maybe 12 or so at a time. I remember one year they threatened to close the school and have us move out somewhere else to go to school because there were not enough students. One of my uncles and his family moved down for the winter just so we could keep the school going. Grades one through eight were taught at the school, but that did not mean each grade was always represented. I was in the 8th grade. Besides me there was one girl in the 8th, no one in the 7th, my sister and a cousin were in the 6th. I think there were some of the other grades represented but not all of them.

Visit the one-room school house next time you go through Capitol Reef and get the rest of the story from the teacher’s point of view.