Capitol Reef NP (located in between Moab and the popular Bryce and Zion NPs) quickly became a must experience for us. Less people, unbelievable views and homemade pies (available each morning at the Gifford House)! We somehow secured the LAST campsite at Fruita Campground located inside of the NP, all first come first serve (typically fills everyday before noon). Do everything you can to show up prior to noon, this campsite was one of our best so far.
The first afternoon was spent at the visitor’s center (again… do it). The ranger suggested Sulphur Creek and several off the beaten path Washes. After all the info, we still had time for a quick sunset hike at Chimney Rock. Try to arrive about two hours before sunset which will give you plenty of time to take in the unreal view of The Reef aka “land of the sleeping rainbow” because of its beautiful contrasts: multi-colored sandstone surrounded by verdant riverbanks and arid desert vegetation, all nestled beneath deep blue skies. SO beautiful!
No hookups or cell service at the campground, we ventured out to the nearby town of Torrey (15 min West of Fruita Campground). It was my sis-in law’s birthday day so we HAD to send her happy b-day wishes (and Dylan “needed” to work)! Tip: Free wifi at Chuck Wagon Market (just ask the guy inside the market).
The next day was spent inside of Sulphur Creek. We LOVED this hike which was a combination of hiking, scrambling and creek/waterfall crossing! On top of this being a fantastic hike, we ran into MAYBE four people the whole day.
Another highly recommended trek in the area is Borro Wash which is a hike that starts outside of the park and travels through a very narrow canyon into the NP. At times the canyon narrowed to shoulder width.
In quick recap: STOP AT CAPITOL REEF NP. You won’t regret it.