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Capitol Reef National Park is situated in Utah and it brings some spectacular scenery. Notably, much of the park and surrounds can be accessed via gravel roads. Naturally, that appeals to people who prefer less densely trafficked driving destinations. There are plenty of roads where you may set out on your road trip adventures. Some of them are okay for RVs, but of course, that also depends on the weather. Read on to find out more.
Capitol Reef National Park roads for the adventurous
The National Park might not be the most popular, but it certainly attracts people who love the rugged outdoors. Most people who look for the best parks find Rocky Mountain, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Yellowstone. However, if you love gravel road driving then you shouldn’t overlook Utah. The best-known road for those who love gravel is the Notom-Bullfrog Road. It stretches over 96.5 km, (59 miles) with views of the Waterpocket Fold. Views of the unique natural formation can be enjoyed, as well as scenes of the Henry Mountains and Strike Valley.
Notably, travelers who hope to enjoy the gravel trip should always check with Capitol Reef National Park. In bad weather, stretches might not actually be accessible to even 4X4s. Rove.me recommends that “the best months are considered April through June and September through October.
If you like getting out of the vehicle, then you’ll find plenty of hiking trails along the road, as well. Well, if you look for shorter drives, that is possible too.
Other Capitol Reef National Park Roads
The Scenic Drive is enjoyable as it’s only 7.9 miles (12.7 km). It is paved but you will find sections that are dirt. These include the spur roads to place like Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge. According to the NPS, you may take an RV, as long as it doesn’t exceed 27ft in length. Prices may be subject to change but for now, you pay an entrance fee of $20 at the self-pay entrance station south of the campground on the Scenic Drive.
Another road of interest near the Capitol Reef National Park is the Burr Trail Road. Although it mainly lies outside o the park, the roads inside the park are just graded dirt. So, conditions might change according to the weather. It has an interesting history and started out as a cattle trail blazed by stockman John Atlantic Burr.
From Boulder, you may travel on Hwy 12 to Notom-Bullfrog Road. Thereafter it takes you to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. One sector of the road inside Capitol Reef includes very steep switchbacks. So, forget about trying it if you drive an RV. Enjoy the scenery of the Blue Flats and the South Desert.
Hartnet and Cathedral Roads
The NPS website also mentions Hartnet Road. Located on the southern half of the Cathedral Valley Loop, you will find it 11.7 miles (18.8 km) east of the Visitor Center off Utah Hwy 24. However, soon after you turn off the highway, you encounter the Fremont River. As you need to cross that, it’s not a good idea to try it with a low-clearance vehicle. In fact, a high clearance 4X4 is probably the safest option.
If you don’t take a high clearance vehicle to Capitol Reef National Park, you may still access the area without fording the river. The eastern side of the Cathedral Valley Loop begins 18.5 miles (29.8 km) east of the Visitor Center. On the journey expect to find the Temples of the Sun and Moon, and fascinating spiky formations as you travel. Once again though, always check on the road conditions before driving.
South Draw Road Is Not Maintained
For those with a very adventurous spirit who visit the Capitol Reef National Park, need look no further than the South Draw road. Not maintained, this road brings a challenge for high-clearance 4-wheel-drive vehicles. Even then, bad weather might even challenge the abilities of the best off-road vehicles available. Find it by taking the Pleasant Creek Road for 2.8 miles (4.5 km) from the end of the Scenic Drive. In winter, access to the road from Boulder Mountain isn’t always possible due to snowy conditions.
Did you ever explore the dirt and gravel roads around the wilderness areas of Utah? Sound off your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below.
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