Fun Facts About Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park is one of Utah’s most beloved destinations for a myriad of reasons. Between the breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and wide array of exciting things to do, it’s no wonder why thousands of tourists choose to visit each year. 

Whether you’ve visited the park a dozen times or are planning your first trip to Capitol Reef Country, we guarantee there are a few things that would surprise you. As your one-stop-shop for information about one of the country’s most magnificent national parks, our local experts have rounded up our favorite Capitol Reef fun facts.

Here are fun facts about Capitol Reef National Park that you probably didn’t know:

Capitol Reef Wasn’t the Original Name

Did you know that this area wasn’t always known as Capitol Reef Country? Back in the early 1900s, two businessnmen fell in love with the region and encouraged President Franklin D. Roosevelt to establish a national monument to protect it. At the time, they had named the area “Wayne’s Wonderland.” In 1937, President Roosevelt did what they asked—and re-named it Capitol Reef National Monument in the process.

Capitol Reef National Park Is Mind Blowingly Big

Few tourists realize how massive the park is before they visit. While only a small portion of the land is accessible by car, hikers and bikers are able to get a better sense of Capitol Reef’s enormous size. In fact, Capitol Reef National Park spans over 240,000 acres of mesmerizing landscapes and awe-inspiring rock formations.

The Area Is Home To Thousand-Year-Old Petroglyphs

Many of the tourists who visit Capitol Reef come in search of petroglyphs left by the Fremont people thousands of years ago. The best example of these ancient drawings can be found in the rock walls roughly 1.5 miles east of the Highway 24 visitor center.

Capitol Reef Is An International Dark Sky Park

Since 2015, Capitol Reef has been a designated International Dark Sky Park. Through impactful measures to reduce light pollution and inspire stargazing, the park is home to some of the most magical stargazing spots in Utah. 

Tourists Love Capitol Reef Country

Over the last ten years, Capitol Reef has grown immensely in popularity for travelers from around the nation. As more travelers have visited and fallen in love with the area, word of mouth has spread like wildfire. Today, over one million visitors come to Capitol Reef National Park each year. 

The Name Is An Nod To Washington DC

If you’ve visited Capitol Reef Country, you have likely seen the striking white dome formations throughout the park. These domes are reminiscent of the Capitol Building in Washington DC, a fact which played a role in the naming of the national park.

Capitol Reef Has Something For Everyone

From hiking and off-roading to horseback riding and wildlife spotting, there are endless ways to enjoy your time in Capitol Reef National Park. Whether you’re traveling on your own, with a partner, or with kids, you are bound to treasure your time in the park. 

Planning a visit to Capitol Reef Country this season? Check out our recent blog post on the best fall activities in Capitol Reef to help plan your travel itinerary.

Keep Capitol Reef Country Forever Mighty

What is Forever Mighty? It’s practicing responsible travel while visiting Utah and Capitol Reef Country by following the principles of Tread Lightly and Leave No Trace.

Plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, be considerate of others, support local business and honor community, history and heritage. Help us keep Utah and Capitol Reef Country’s outdoor recreation areas beautiful, healthy, and accessible.

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