The first stop on our National Park road trip from SLC back to home in AZ was Capitol Reef. We knew this was one of the smaller of Utah’s Mighty 5 but we were excited to cross another park off the list. Although we are normally camping people, we knew it wasn’t going to be feasible since this was at the end of a month long vacation. Packing our camping gear in addition to our regular vacation clothes and gear was just too much. So we found Capitol Reef Resort, which has been recently renovated. I wasn’t sure what to expect because the reviews were mixed but it was so worth it!! We had a room in the back with red rock views. The view was incredible. There was a cow pasture right outside our room too and of course, the girls loved that!! Dad and I were enthralled with the view while the girls could have watched the cows for hours.
During our day at Capitol Reef, we:
*hiked the Fremont River Trail. The trail started out kind of slow. We could hear the river but not see it and the trail took us right through a campground. I was not impressed and wondering who picked this hike (because surely if it was me, dad wasn’t going to let me live it down!). But then it opened up. And boy did it! There was a good bit of an incline, great sweeping views. It ended being about 1.5 miles roundtrip and the 4.5 year old managed it like a champ….just a bit of stumbling on the way down due to loose rocks and tired legs but she made it in one piece!
*ate ice cream and pie at the Gifford House. Ice Cream was the treat after completing our hike and we tried all 3 flavors. Strawberry was the best! If you want to try the pie, buy it early! We were there first thing in the morning and the cases were full of cinnamon rolls and all flavors of pies! We only grabbed coffee during that visit. We went back in the early evening to grab pie before going to the hotel. There was still pie left but at that point, you get what you get and you don’t complain. There were maybe 5 pies total, we got an apple. We actually ended up eating the pie for breakfast the next morning…in the truck, on the way to our next stop. Pie isn’t very good car food. But the pie itself was delicious! Great flaky crust, sweet apple filling, and crumbles on top. But we recommend eating it while stationary.
*went to a Jr Ranger program at the Nature Center. As a requirement for getting her Jr. Ranger badge, A has to go to one ranger led program. We were luckily enough to have a kids program that fit perfectly into our schedule. We went to one about the Capitol Reef Ecosystem, held by Cinamin at the Ripple Creek Nature Center. The program was interactive and informative, A really got into it and afterwards, kept referencing back to things she learned there. The Nature Center itself was really fun too and had a ton of hands on stuff for the kids to do.
*drove the scenic drive. This was our naptime activity. While the girls napped, mom and dad ooh’ed and aah’ed over the scenery. It was truly spectacular. I am in constant awe of the world around us. We recommend (if you have a high clearance, 4 wheel drive) taking any and all off-roads that you come across. We were there after some big storms so there were a few of the dirt roads that were still closed but we went down most and found some awesome spots.
We had a great visit at Capitol Reef and if you are ever in the area, DO NOT PASS it up!! The only thing I was looking forward to but unable to do was picking fruit in the orchards. Unfortunately, we happened to be there on an off day when there was no ripe fruit to be picked. I guess that just means we’ll have to make another trip 🙂