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Southern Utah is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. At the heart of the region are Capitol Reef National Park and Canyonlands National Park, but the entire area is heaven for those who love the outdoors. Here are just some of the many great places you can experience in Wayne County, Utah, AKA Capitol Reef Country.
Capitol Reef National Park
The multi-colored rock formations of Capitol Reef National Park are truly a sight to behold. Red sandstone cliffs, soaring rock formations, and craggy canyons can all be found in one of the most beautiful national parks in the United States.
The 100-mile long Waterpocket Fold is the heart of the park. Capitol Reef is named for a rock formation that resembles the U.S. Capitol building, but that is just one of the many remarkable formations in the park. Other formations of note include Chimney Rock, a 400 foot tall towering sandstone column, and Hickman Bridge, a 133 feet wide and 125 feet tall natural arch.
Capitol Reef National Park is a wonderland for outdoor activities. There are miles of scenic hikes for every activity level.
Additionally, much of the park’s most famous sights can be spotted from a 25 mile scenic drive off of the already-scenic Highway 24. Additional backcountry roads give even more secluded access to those with high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles.
Canyonlands National Park
At the eastern edge of Wayne County sits Canyonlands National Park, one of the most remote areas of Utah, and in fact, the entire country. The deep canyons and painted landscapes look like something out of an art gallery. Only the very edge of the park, the Hans Flat Ranger Station, can be accessed by a two-wheel drive car (after a 48 mile drive off of UT-24 – be sure you have plenty of gas!). To go deeper into the Maze Section of Canyonlands, a high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle is needed.
Those with the proper vehicles will be rewarded with amazing views such as these. Horseshoe Canyon, a famous area of Canyonlands, is home to hundreds of Native American pictographs.
If you guessed that southern Utah looks like something out of a movie, then you would be right! The area has hosted dozens of TV and movie productions, including John Carter and 127 Hours. The land here looks like it’s from another planet.
Capitol Reef National Park, Canyonlands National Park, the East Desert, are great places to connect with nature. Some of the many fun outdoor activities include hiking, cycling, hunting, fishing, camping, canyoneering, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, off-road touring, fruit picking, and stargazing. Be sure to check on the rules for each area, as not all activities are permitted in all places. No matter your level of activity & thirst for adventure, there is something for you to do in Southern Utah.
All of Wayne County, Utah, home to these beautiful national parks, is home to only about 3,000 people, making Capitol Reef Country a perfect place to get away from it all for an outdoor adventure.
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Traveler. Writer. Photographer. Terrible dancer. 40+ countries & major territories so far, slowly working my way through the rest. Related interests: craft beer, street food, sporting events, value travel, credit card bonuses, hiking, visiting non-touristy places. Join me for the journey!