Capitol Gorge Trail

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Capitol Reef National Park, United States

Capitol Gorge Trail Capitol Reef National Park Reviews

pushirubiano pushirub…
36 reviews
Hike the Capitol Gorge Trail May 09, 2007
One of the nicest and easiest hikes in the park, the Capitol Gorge trail is situated at the end of the scenic park road. After the pullout to this trail, the park road is unpaved but (in good weather) passable even to non-4WD vehicles. The trail is one way and about a mile long, along the gravelly bottom of impressive Capitol Gorge (so called because the white rock formations remind one of the Capitol building) . Keep an eye on the rock walls for inscriptions! At the end of the trail through the canyon, there's a short climb to a pair of 'tanks', or 'waterpockets', depressions in the rock where rainwater is stored.

Part of what makes Capitol Gorge trail interesting are the many inscriptions you can see on the rock walls in the Gorge. First, there are the Fremont petroglyphs, similar to the ones you can see at the pullout from Highway 24, but less varied. Then, there is the so called 'Pioneer Register', where many miners, settlers and other pioneers to the area carved their names in the rocks upon their passage. The oldest name inscribed is dated 1871, by two gold prospectors. We found an inscription by Cass Hite, the miner for whom Hite Marina at Lake Powell is named (dated 1888?, it is difficult to read). Pretty cool! Unfortunately here too, modern 'artists' have found it necessary to add their names to the old ones and the petroglyphs or, even worse, use them for bullet practice.

Incredibly enough, Capitol Gorge was once the site of one of the only roads (the so-called Blue Dugway) into Fruita! Pioneers cleared the passage so cars could pass throught the canyon but the road proved too difficult to maintain so it was abandoned. The iron rods you see protruding from the rock walls are left from a telephone line.
Starting off on the Capitol Gorge …
Desert scenery on the trail
Petroglyphs (carved rock art) made…
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Capitol Reef National Park Map
Capitol Reef National Park
photo by: mnico78