USA Roadtrip #7 – Capitol Reef National Park, Scenic Byway 12



The Castle and rock layers of Capitol Reef National Park

We stayed the night right next to Capitol Reef National Park in Torrey. In the morning we headed to the Visitor Center to get the map of the park and tips on places to visit. On our way we stopped in Panorama Point and Goosenecks Overlook to admire the scenery.


Capitol Reef National Park is known for its geologic landform or wrinkle called Waterpocket Fold. Erosion caused by water still continues everyday to form the sandstone layers, colorful cliffs and arches.

Petroglyphs (carvings) and pictographs (paintings) are seen also in this park. There is a parking lot just after Fruita historic school building and you can get a bit closer to the carvings on a fenced path. These pictures are approximately from 300 – 1300 C.E. and picture the daily life, stories, journeys, clan symbols, calendars etc. of ancient habitants of this area.

A little further from the Petroglyphs site is another parking lot and start for Hickman Bridge trail. This was a short 2 hour hike back and forth with nice views of colorful cliffs and water erosion on sandstone. At the end of the trail is Hickman Bridge towering over dried river bend (bridges form over rivers and streams vs. arches are formed on cliffs due to rain and temperature changes).

After our morning walk we continued south with the Scenic Byway 12 passing from northwest through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and to Bryce Canyon for the night.

Grand Staircase-Escalante is the largest national monument in the United States and at this point we only passed little part of it in north-west (more in later post). The road was winding and we saw some snow again up in the mountains. At one point the road went on a ridge with steep slopes on both sides the same time (good thing that there were two lanes).


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