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Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park, in south-central Utah, has a dazzling landscape of rock formations, from colorful domes, high cliffs, and towering spires of sandstone to arches, natural bridges, and narrow slot canyons. The white dome-shaped formations reminded people of the U.S. Capitol building; giving the park the first part of its name. These rock formations are all part of a 100-mile long wrinkle in Earth's crust that forms a rocky barrier to travel called a reef in local parlance - hence the name Capitol Reef. With nearly 10,000 feet of sedimentary layers ranging from 80 to 270 million years old, the park is a geologist's paradise. Desert streams wind through the park, carving deep canyons and creating narrow ribbons of greenery. Pioneers in the later1800s planted extensive orchards along the Fremont River, and the fruit trees, including apple, apricot, pear, peach, and cherry trees are now part of the park and still bear fruit today. Until the early 1960s, very few roads entered the region, and this area was one of the most isolated and remote in the United States. Today, State Route 24 cuts through the park running east and west between Canyonlands National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, but few other paved roads invade the rugged landscape. Similarly, a scenic drive shows park visitors some of the highlights, but it runs only a few miles from the main highway. Hundreds of miles of trails and unpaved roads lead the more adventurous into the equally scenic backcountry.

This article is based on work found at WikiTravel. A list of contributors is available a the original article. This article is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0 license.


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