northern Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef Guided Hikes

At the foot of Boulder Mountain, Waterpocket Fold is an enormous step-like buckle in the Earth’s crust, where upwarped sedimentary rock layers expose a spectrum of rock formations that stretch for more than one hundred miles, forming the centerpiece of Capitol Reef National Park. Early Mormon pioneers called the natural barriers “reefs” – Capitol Reef was indeed an impressive barrier with seemingly impenetrable cliffs of Navajo Sandstone. Its sandstone domes reminded early settlers of their nation’s Capitol building. Several streams have carved passages across the “reef;” those flowing off Boulder Mountain carry water year-round and are bordered by riparian cottonwood forests, whereas smaller ephemeral drainages have carved beautiful slot canyons and a myriad of weird landforms. A variety of scenery and some excellent day-hikes make exploring Capitol Reef a wonderful experience.