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In south-central Utah lies a rocky empire of cliffs and canyons called Capitol Reef National Park. This vast, 241,904-acre park is 13 miles away from Bicknell, and around 67 miles away from both Escalante and Emery. Back in the 1920s, the area was called Wayne Wonderland, a name befitting one of the largest exposed monocline areas in the U.S.
The park was established to preserve the Waterpocket Fold, which is just one of the geological features that make this place unique and significant. The landmass is most likely a product of the same continental plate collision that also created the Rocky Mountains. The sandstone cliffs and gleaming white domes are simply a byproduct of erosion that spanned millions of years.
If you’d like to see this “wrinkle in the earth” up close, then book an RV in Wayne County and brace yourself for an amazing and memorable motorhome camping trip. Capitol Reef National Park is one of nature’s wonders and an excellent place for outdoor enthusiasts to relax and enjoy the beauty of the night sky.
While camping at Capitol Reef National Park, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to fill your stay with outdoor activities. For thrillseekers who like mountaineering, rock climbing, or horseback riding, this will be a perfect place to spend a holiday. Outdoor adventurers of all stripes should pay a visit to Waterpocket District and Cathedral Valley. If you're an avid angler, you'll want to pack your fishing gear in your rental RV, as the Fremont River’s pristine blue waters are filled with trout.
If you’re fascinated by flora and fauna and love wildlife watching, then the inhabitants of Capitol Reef National Park won’t let you down. You’ll discover hundreds of species here, including antelope, bighorn sheep, and peregrine falcons. Though rare, rattlesnakes also live in Capitol Reef National Park, so stay vigilant on your expeditions throughout the area. Grab a copy of the park’s wildlife checklist to keep track of the critters you spot.
The park’s Fruita Historic District is also worth a wander for visitors RV camping at Capitol Reef National Park. Lush greenery and orchards surround this “oasis in the desert”, and visitors can even pick fruit from the trees. The campground is also nestled in this area, providing easy access to the orchards.
Capitol Reef National Park’s only developed camping area, Fruita Campground, is adjacent to Fremont River. There are over 70 campsites here, each with different site lengths ranging from 28 to 50 feet. The sites have no hookups, but water and a dump station are located near the entrances of campsite loops. The surrounding orchards and the nearby river really make the camp stand out from the rest of the rocky environment.
Tent and RV camping are available year-round, and guests can book their site up to six months in advance. Each site has a picnic table, fire pit, and grill. Restrooms are located near the accessible sites, and even though they have running water and flush toilets, they don’t have showers. The running water also isn’t suitable for washing dishes or bathing. The park advises campers to bring their own contained solar-powered showers.
Capitol Reef National Park RV campgrounds are pet-friendly, but your pet must be on a leash at all times and cannot be left unattended. Remember to check all of the rules and policies of the campsite before booking your site.
In the very heart of Fruita Valley, you’ll find the Gifford farm, a restored home that preserves a 19th-century Mormon settlement. Explore the entire homestead, which features a barn, garden, pasture, and smokehouse. Plan your visit for March to enjoy freshly baked goodies made from fruits picked right from the farm.
In addition to its awe-inspiring desert vistas, Capitol Reef National Park offers up countless historic sites, including the Behunin Cabin. This 19th-century structure housed one of the first families to settle the area, the Behunin family. The Behunins vacated the area when floods washed out their farm, but their cabin remains, offering a glimpse into the life of a homesteader.
Want to explore outside the park? You’re just an hour away from the Anasazi State Park Museum in Boulder. This historic site preserves artifacts of the Ancestral Puebloans who once lived here, most likely between 1050 AD and 1200 AD. Much of this historic village, one of the largest Anasazi communities in the region, remains unexcavated.
When your adventure at Capitol Reef comes to an end, you’ll find American and Mexican restaurants, as well as stores and gas stations, along Utah State Route 24 on the way to Torrey.