T. Michael Redmond | Capitol Reef National Park
Visitors 17
Modified 16-Dec-12
Created 12-Dec-12
94 photos

The Capitol Reef National Park in south central Utah features a 100 mile long monocline named the Waterpocket Fold. A monocline is a wrinkle in the earth's crust that occurs when a fault pushes up or allows fall rock strata. The Waterpocket Fold originally had a 7000 ft difference between the higher and the lower side. Erosion of the fault over millions of years have left much older rocks on the west side and much younger rocks on the east side of the fold. Many domes, monoliths and spectacular cliffs decorate the geology of this area. In the northern part of the park is the area called Cathedral Valley. This is a less visited part of the park that requires a crossing of the Fremont River and following a 4WD trail that crosses the Bentonite Hills and several dry washes. The reward is to see the dramatic monoliths of Entrada sandstone in Upper Cathedral Valley. Facets of the cultural history of the Park include the Fremont native American culture that lived in the area about 1000 years ago. This people, named for the Fremont river that flows through the park, have left archaeological sites including petroglyph sites. The park is also the site of Fruita, a Mormon farming community that exploited the oasis-like conditions around the Fremont river, a permanent stream in this otherwise desert region. Fruita's old orchards are still a feature of the National Park (the best apricots you have ever tasted!). Overlooking the Park to its southwest is the high Aquarius Plateau rising to 11,000 ft., the highest part of the Colorado Plateau, and the highest plateau in North America. Here one can hike through aspens and conifers in the Dixie National Forest and look down into the desert regions of the national park. On its southwest Capitol Reef also borders the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a vast area of geologic features. Torrey is the closest town of any size with several good restaurants and places to stay.

Categories & Keywords
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Keywords:Aquarius Plateau, Bentonite Hills, Burr Trail, Capitol Dome, Capitol Reef National Park, Cathedral Valley, Fern's Nipple, Fremont, Fruita, Jailhouse Rock, Notom-Bullfrog Road, Utah, Waterpocket Fold, monocline