Tag Archive for: Capitol Reef National Park
There is just one paved road in Capitol Reef National Park in southern Utah. It is an eight-mile scenic drive on which the only traffic jams are caused by an occasional herd of mule deer. Instead of honking horns, Capitol Reef is about serenity and spectacular scenery. “We are remote,” says park ranger Lori Rome, “which is part of the appeal of this place.” Here’s how to get the most out of this park.
Bentonite Hills, east of Capitol Reef National Park, Wayne County, Utah
Photographer: Tyler Knudsen; © 2012
Black volcanic boulders litter colorful but seemingly lifeless badlands formed in the Brushy Basin Member of the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation. Moisture-sensitive swelling clays, formed by the alteration of volcanic ash, allow little vegetation to take root.
POTD December 17, 2013: Middle Desert Overlook, Capitol Reef National Park, Wayne County, Utah
Photographer: Stefan Kirby
Eroding buttes of the Middle Jurassic-age Entrada Sandstone and overlying Curtis Formation. Middle Desert Overlook, Capitol Reef National Park, Wayne County.
Capitol Reef National Park, Wayne County, Utah
Photographer: Tyler Knudsen
Juniper-covered siltstone ledges of the Torrey Member of the Triassic-age Moenkopi Formation (foreground) rise to a seemingly impenetrable wall of Triassic- to Jurassic- age Wingate (red vertical cliffs in middle of photo) and Navajo (white bluffs at top of cliff) Sandstones in Capitol Reef National Park. Early explorers referred to any long barrier to travel as a “reef,” while the dome-shaped bluffs of Navajo Sandstone reminded them of the United States Capitol building—thus the name “Capitol Reef.”
Temple of the Sun, Capitol Reef National Park, Wayne County, Utah
Photographer: Michael Vanden Berg
Two of Capitol Reef National Park’s popular attractions: Glass Mountain (foreground) and Temple of the Sun (background). Glass Mountain is a large exposed mound of selenite gypsum that formed within the Jurassic-aged Entrada Sandstone. The “gypsum plug” became exposed as the relatively soft Entrada Sandstone eroded away. Temple of the Sun is a large monolith that was also created by erosion of the Entrada Sandstone.