To reach the north or south end of this park requires driving dirt roads. The middle section of Capitol Reef, however has the lovely – and paved – Highway 24 cutting through it, providing easy access to fantastic trails, many of which are accessible from the campground and thus eliminating our need to drive in order to hike.
Fruita is a small community existing within the park which was once a thriving agricultural Mormon town. There are wonderful old farm buildings to peer into but the real draw to the town are the orchards which we are free to eat from. Apples, pears, peaches and other fruits are spread around this green valley. And with an apple orchard next to the campground we were not lacking for sweet snacks. Every morning after breakfast we strolled through the orchard, weaving around the numerous deer eating the fruit that had fallen over the night. A couple of apples we ate in the orchard, a few more were packed for a lunchtime snack.
The hiking options were great, from the fabulous slick rock to Cassidy Arch to the impressive overlook of Fremont Canyon. There are numerous canyons to stroll through. A week can easily be spent just in this small sliver of Capitol Reef but it’s so often overlooked for the more famous Utah Parks.
After all the hiking around Fruita we skipped down to the southern end of Capitol Reef to explore Muley Twist Canyon. The Waterpocket Fold, a captivating ridge rising high above everything else makes for stellar hiking. Looking back on it, we should have wandered further, deeper. Three days was no where near enough.