After leaving the snowy pass of Grand Staircase-Escalante Nation Monument, we continued April’s Spring Break trip down out of the mountains toward Capitol Reef National Park. By the time we reached Torrey, UT at the edge of the park, we had dropped out of the mountains a long way, but were still at 6,837 ft elevation! Once again I was caught off guard how high this part of the country is. I had expected a warmer, low elevation vacation.
Our road trip was nearing its end, and soon we’d have to turn around for the two day trip back to Carson City, NV. Capitol Reef covers a large area with a diverse landscape filled with cliffs, canyons, domes and bridges. There is much to see. One of our first stops was at the Visitor Center to get some ideas on where to go.
The ranger at the Visitor Center was really helpful, and gave us a list of things we could do in a day without a lot of driving and hiking. A good sampling of the park for someone on a short time budget. There was also a good selection of books and informative displays in the center.
Our next destination was the petroglyphs just east of the visitor center along the Fremont River. These rock drawings were left by the Fremont culture, Native Americans that lived in this area around 1000 CE, and are in surprisingly good shape. According to Wikipedia, the Fremont people irrigated crops of lentils, maize, and squash and stored their grain in stone granaries. We would see one of these granaries on one of our later hikes.