My family was on a cross country drive from Ohio to California when I realized that our days of traveling to primarily “see” something were over. My kids (and my husband and I) were in need of something more. We wanted adventure. Well, they craved adventure, I’m happy to simply tote around my camera, snapping photos and documenting their experiences.
I realized something else on that trip, I learned that America’s West is beautiful. I had no idea Utah was stunning with diverse landscape of red rock, gray bentonite hills and alpine forests, a perfect playground for the outdoor enthusiast.
Capitol Reef Country is located in south-central Utah. Nearby attractions include Capitol Reef National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Boulder Mountain, Thousand Lake Mountain, Factory Butte Badlands and Highway 12 (perfect for road trippers), America’s first all-American Road. The county is the ideal destination for those looking for adventure. From hiking, to ATV rides, to fishing, to horseback riding to canyoneering, Capitol Reef Country is the perfect destination for adventurous families who love the outdoors.
Out of this World Views
While there are dozens of ATV, hiking and Jeep trails in the area, one in particular may be of interest to families. Disney partially filmed John Carter, a movie about a former military captain transported to Mars to save the planet, in Capitol Reef Country. Visitors can ride ATV’s or take a 4-wheel drive vehicle along the easy “Planets to the Past Trail” to travel into the past and out of this world. The Mars-like terrain is said to be landscape similar to that found on Mars, while the trails lead past sites where dinosaur fossils have been found.
Step into the Past
The Hanksville-Burpee Dinosaur Quarry excavation site offers clues as to what life was like when dinosaurs roamed the earth. In an area of approximately 150 feet wide by 600 feet long, paleontologists have uncovered a dinosaur graveyard. Bones of a Stegosaurus, Brontosaurus, Brachiosaurus and several Allosaurus skeletons have been uncovered.
Visit Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park has been in the park system since 1937 when it was classified as a national monument. In 1971, it was reclassified as a national park. Like the other national parks across the country, Capitol Reef will celebrate the 100th National Park anniversary this year. The park got its name from white rock formations that resemble the U.S. Capitol Building. Don’t miss the 100-mile long Waterpocket Fold that meanders through the park. You’ll find winding canyons, towering monoliths and massive domes along this geologic feature.
Learn about the history of the park and see evidence of those who have walked before at the Fremont Petroglyphs, drawings etched into sandstone 1,000 years ago. Or read the names of the Mormons who passed through the area and carved their name at Pioneer Register to record their travels. View the remains of the red sandstone cabin built by Elijah Behunin in 1882 to blend with the landscape. Eat fruit off the trees in the town of Fruita where Mormon pioneers planted more than 2,500 fruit trees.
One visit to Capitol Reef Country simply won’t be enough for the adventure junkie. You’ll want to visit again and again to experience the mountain bike trails that offer highly scenic views through a dozen trails ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous.
World Class Slot Canyon Hiking
The novice hiker can experience canyoneering in Little Wild Horse Canyon, part of the San Rafael Swell, considered to be one of the best slots in the world. Those more experienced may check out the technical slot canons on the Colorado Plateau.
A Destination for all Seasons
Visitors can marvel at the natural beauty of the area all year long. During the winter visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding or riding the ATV’s. In the higher elevations, snowmobiling and cross country skiing are popular.
Camp out and watch the Stars
The lack of street lights and light pollution in Capitol Reef Country make the area a great destination to enjoy the star-filled nights. Lodging ranges from family owned or chain hotels, to a newly renovated 1914 schoolhouse with period furnishings, to luxury cabins to primitive tent sites for those truly adventurous.
Follow Capitol Reef Country on Facebook to learn more about what the area offers for families.
What adventures do you think your family would enjoy?
This post is sponsored by Capitol Reef Country.
© 2016, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.