From Vegas to Capitol Reef on the Scenic Byways 14 and 12

We left Vegas after three crazy days in order to enjoy some more of the natural beauty of this country. Our next destination was Capital Reef National Park, which is a 5.5 hour drive away from Las Vegas. However, if you have a little more time, the best thing to do is to leave the Interstate at Cedar City and to follow the Scenic Byway 14, later 12.

This route leads through stunning landscape and you can even visit Bryce Canyon on the way.

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We arrived at Capitol Reef National Park in the afternoon and enjoyed the sunset from our balcony (we were staying at the Best Western Hotel).

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Nice, hum? Smiley

On the next morning, we set out to explore Capitol Reef.

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Capitol Reef is the heart of the red rock country and famous for its cliffs, domes and canyons. The rocks reminded the first settlers of a huge reef so that’s where the name “Capitol Reef” comes from.

The first hiking trails we hit was a combination of the “Grad Wash” and “Cassedy Arch Trail”. We started at the parking area on the main road and followed the canyon for 2.5 miles.

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A few meters before the end of the trail (another parking area), a sign pointing upwards indicated where the Cassidy Arch Trail started.

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This trail led upwards for 1.5 miles. Make sure you bring enough water when you’re doing this hike, it get’s really hot in the sun and you climb up 1000 feet!

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And this is the purpose for this grind: Cassidy Arch. Legend says that the outlaw and train robber Butch Cassidy hid in this arch for a while…

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Both trails make a great 7 miles hike and I can highly recommend doing them. Both, the wash and the hike up to the arch guarantee stunning views and impressions.

It was around noon when we came back to the car and thus time for lunch. We drove to “Gifford House”, nowadays a gift shop, museum and bakery. It was one of the houses of the first settlers in this area. It is a really cute place and their pies and ice cream is delicious! Smiley

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Behind Gifford House a hiking trail leads along Fremont River, up into a canyon.

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And there are some sights I would like to mention:

-the petroglyphs, etched in rock walls by Indians centuries ago

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I actually think some of them look like little aliens… :-0

-the rocks

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You can see many of these fascinating formations simply by driving through the park.

I have to say, Capitol Reef is truly a hidden treasure. If you get the chance, go visit this amazing park!

More information about:

Scenic Byways

Capitol Reef National Park

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