This post is part of a weekly feature called Discovery of the Week. By discovery, I mean a place, a custom or dish that is not widely known. See, I love to read travel magazines, websites and books. Very often, I find beautiful and interesting gems that not a lot of people seem to know about. That is why I thought about introducing this feature because I am sure it will expose a lot of astonishing places. Additionally, I enjoy learning about the many amazing places in the world. I believe my readers also enjoy this activity.
Discovery of the Week: Capitol Reef National Park
Where it is located: South-Central Utah (United States)
What it is: A national park created to protect colorful canyons, ridges, buttes and monoliths.
Capitol Reef encompasses the Waterpocket Fold, a warp in the earth’s crust that is 65 million years old. It is the largest exposed monocline in North America. In this fold, newer and older layers of earth folded over each other in an S-shape. This warp, probably caused by the same colliding continental plates that created the Rocky Mountains, has weathered and eroded over millennia to expose layers of rock and fossils. The park is filled with brilliantly colored sandstone cliffs, gleaming white domes, and contrasting layers of stone and earth.
The area was named for a line of white domes and cliffs of Navajo Sandstone, each of which looks somewhat like the United States Capitol building, that run from the Fremont River to Pleasant Creek on the Waterpocket Fold.
The fold forms a north-to-south barrier that even today has barely been breached by roads. Early settlers referred to parallel, impassable ridges as “reefs”, from which the park gets the second half of its name.
A scenic drive shows park visitors some of the highlights, but it runs only a few miles from the main highway. Hundreds of miles of trails and unpaved roads lead the more adventurous into the equally scenic backcountry.
To me, this park is not well known to many residents of the West (or of the United States). Zion, Bryce and Arches seem to get all the Southern Utah attention. This is a fantastic place to include in any road trip around the scenic byways of Utah.
Did you know about Capitol Reef National Park? Let me know in the comments section below.