Capitol Reef National Park has a name that confuses a lot of people: it’s not the capital of anything, and there’s not a coral reef in sight. In fact, this is a desert park shaped largely by tectonic forces, although weather and man have had a hand in creating Capitol Reef’s unique landscape, as well.
Download the new Chimani Capitol Reef app (free for iOS and Android devices) and you’ll learn how pressure caused a 100-mile-long uplift of ancient sedimentary rock in central Utah, creating a formation known as the Waterpocket Fold. Wind and rain slowly eroded the sandstone into domes and other shapes, some of which reminded early settlers of the U.S. Capitol Dome. As for “reef,” that’s another relic of the settler period, when weary travelers saw the towering Waterpocket Fold as a barrier to navigation much like a waterbound reef.
Highlights of a visit to Capitol Reef National Park include an auto tour that takes you into the heart of the Waterpocket Fold, hikes into the remote Cathedral Valley, and, unique to the national park experience, the opportunity to pick fresh fruit in season: the park’s orchards date back to the founding of the Mormon pioneer village of Fruita alongside the Fremont River in the 19th century.
Capitol Reef tends to be the red-headed stepchild of the national parks in Utah, but while Bryce Canyon, Zion, Arches, and Canyonlands may get more attention, it would be a shame to overlook this fascinating land with its spectacular scenery and rich geological and human history. So install Chimani Capitol Reef and start planning your tour of Utah’s “Mighty Five” parks today — we’ve now got apps covering all of ’em!