Ah, Capitol Reef. ❤ We’ve passed through Capitol Reef several times (many times, for me) since our first visit, but only stopped once very briefly to shamelessly collect a stamp at the Visitor Center and continue on our way. Yes, we are blasphemers, but I justify it by saying that on our first visit together we didn’t have our passport yet.
Before we get into the park, I have to give a brief glowing review of Stan’s Burger Shak in Hanksville, aka Middle of Nowhere Utah. These are the best burgers and the best fries in the whole world. I’m serious, people. I’ve practically driven to Hanksville and back just for those burgers and fries. SO GOOD. We stopped there on the way from Canyonlands to the Reef and I was a very happy camper (so was Brady). If you’re ever in the area, go there. MMM!
After yummy late lunch, we finally got to our last (and best, sorry to all the rest) park. I’ll admit it- we drove almost to Torrey just so we could turn around and drive through the park west to east. In my opinion, it’s the prettiest way. I just enjoyed the drive and didn’t take any pictures (because I was driving, duh).
We stopped and got delicious fresh pies- we’d originally intended to pick fruit, but by the time we got there most of the orchards had already been picked clean. I’m not too upset about it. The Reef is the only park we’ve been to every year since we went there for the first time- I’m sure we’ll make it back for apple picking sometime. The pies were amazing. The weather was perfect. I think I spent an hour lounging in the sun and eating that dang pie before we headed off for a leisurely tour of the scenic drive.
Unfortunately, most of the side trips off of the scenic drive were closed from severe flash flooding earlier in the week, and there were signs of it all over the road. It was pretty impressive to me that they’d managed to get the scenic drive cleared so quickly- there were many places along the road where there were huge piles of mud that had obviously been recently bulldozed off the road. It was kind of intense! But all of the rain we’d had while we were in Mesa Verde had also hit Utah, and things had been crazy. There were even tornadoes in Utah for the first time in close to 20 years, and there were two of them in one day! Pretty intense, but we were glad the weather cleared up by the time we made it here, even if there wasn’t much to do because of the flood remains.
Brady drove on the way back from the end of the scenic drive, so I could stop and hop out and take pictures. He’s so dutiful.
I love the Reef. It doesn’t matter if I spend an hour there or a week, or even just pass through on the way to somewhere else. It’s heaven on earth, and it was the perfect ending to a (mostly) perfect trip.
Our Capitol Reef National Park “Must Do”:
All of it! Okay, but seriously, you have to do that scenic drive. Go slow, take your time, open every window and sunroof you have. Breathe in that perfect, unspoiled desert air.