The fourth National Park we visited while on our adventure with the Perez Family was Capital Reef National Park. It is located in South central Utah- a few hours from Moab. It was an easy drive, from Moab, but as we were driving there I realized it is in the middle of nowhere, USA. Which makes it an interesting place to visit, because Mormons settled in the area in the late 1800’s. It is amazing that they survived at all. It was never a very large settlement, but enough families settled that they started a school and had fields of fruit trees in the valleys which is how the people primarily survived. The fields of fruit trees are still there, as is the school, and a number of buildings from the Mormon settlement built more than a century ago. They allow you to go into these old buildings and you can learn more about the settlement while you are there.
This National Park was very quaint. Well worth the journey. It is not as often visited as other National Parks, but it really should be! They have done a great job preserving the history of the land and the memories of those who once lived there. The Park is beautiful, the rangers and staff were the friendliest of any Park we have visited, and there is great hiking trail to see the Hickman Natural Bridge. We did the hike with the twins on our backs in backpacks, as the hike involved going up lots of steep cliffs that had sheer drop offs. It was best to simply keep them safe on this hike. We thought the hike was only supposed to be 2 miles. At the end of the day when Justin checked his IPhone to see how far we walked that day the mileage was over 6 miles! It was a good workout with the kids on our backs most of the time we were walking and hiking. Both of the twins actually fell asleep while on the hike.
The name of the park was a mystery to me. Why would they call it Capital Reef? The National Park Service answers that question https://www.nps.gov/care/faqs.htm:
“Early settlers noted that the white domes of Navajo Sandstone resemble the dome of the Capitol building in Washington, DC. Prospectors visiting the area (many with nautical backgrounds) referred to the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile long ridge in the earth’s crust, as a reef, since it was a formidable barrier to transportation.”
It was a great day trip for our group. If you are in Moab to see the other National Parks it is well worth the trip to see Capital Reef as well. Here are the photos I took from our day at Capital Reef: