Capitol Reef National Park greets visitors with stunning monoliths rising from the desert floor, sheer cliffs and colorful sandstone. And best yet? Fewer crowds than many of Utah’s other national parks. Get a jumpstart on your day exploring the park at Dark Sky Coffee in Torrey, Utah, which has a drive-thru so you can hit the road faster.

While there’s so much to see and do in Capitol Reef, locals suggest planning an entire day to drive the Cathedral Valley Loop. This remote part of the park promises solitude and will wow you with its stunning formations. High-clearance vehicles are required. Not traveling in an adventure rig? Rent a Jeep from a local outfitter.

Jeep at overlook in Capitol Reef Country, Wayne County, Utah

Jeep at overlook in Capitol Reef Country

Capitol Reef is just the beginning of what this scenic part of Utah has to offer.

“Our landscape is so diverse here,” says Capitol Reef Country director Nycole Durfey. “We have greys and purples that look like Mars, the reds of Capitol Reef and beautiful green forests.”

You’ll find yourself wondering if you haven’t been transported to another planet when you visit Goblin Valley State Park outside of Green River. The soft sandstone in this park has eroded into bizarre formations that some say resemble goblins.

Hiker in Goblin Valley State Park in Utah

Hiker in Goblin Valley State Park

For more breathtaking views, drive Scenic Byway 12, rated one of the top 10 most scenic drives by National Geographic, from Capitol Reef to Bryce Canyon National Park.

“It should really be its own national park,” says Durfey. “You can see forever.”

At the end of the day, treat yourself to dinner at The Hunt & Gather in Torrey, serving dishes so beautifully plated, they’ll compete with the national parks for your favorite views of the trip. Or, for a more casual meal, head to Slackers Burger Joint, a 1950s-style restaurant serving up mouthwatering burgers and ice cream.

You’ll find accommodations to fit every taste in the area from Cowboy Homestead Cabins to the beautiful Cougar Ridge Resort, a favorite of Hollywood stars.

For More Information:
Wayne County Office of Tourism
(800) 858-7951

Utah Parks


Metate Arch in Devil's Garden, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument on Hole It The Rock Road

Track Down Solitude in Bryce Canyon Country

Discover the solitude you’ve been searching for just east of Bryce Canyon National Park in towns like Boulder and Escalante, Utah.

Zion Subway. Photo by Whit Richardson

Utah National Parks

Head north from the Grand Canyon to explore one of Utah's five national parks - Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Zion, and Bryce

Aerial view of Park City, Utah

Find Your Trail in Park City, Utah

From mountain biking to al fresco dining to live music, Park City, Utah, has a trail for everyone.

Thor's Hammer in Bryce Canyon National Park

Ruby's Inn & Adventures at Bryce Canyon National Park

The closest lodging to Bryce Canyon and near Zion and the Grand Canyon, stay at the hotels, RV park, tipis & campground. Horseback rides. ATV & bicycle rentals.

House on Fire Ruins in Utah

Canyon Country Discovery Center in Monticello, Utah

Discover a center dedicated to the Four Corners region and guided outings.

Snow Canyon State Park hikers in Utah.

7 Utah State Parks Near the Grand Canyon

While visiting the Grand Canyon, consider a stop at one of 7 state parks within a day's drive. See goblins, spires, sand dunes, and twisting rivers.

Kanab, Utah's Parry Lodge in Kane County

Kanab, Utah's Fab Four Things to Do

Avoid the crowds, enjoy fantastic food and discover the hidden gems along the way to three of the Southwest’s most popular national parks.


11 Things to Do in Salt Lake City, Utah

Gateway to national parks and home to Temple Square, Salt Lake City offers endless options for outdoor enthusiasts, cultural art lovers, families and history buffs.

 Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Moab's Top Seven

Gateway to Arches and Canyonlands national parks, as well as Dead Horse Point State Park, and the cool waters of the Colorado River, here are our favorites in Moab.