Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cathedral Valley Drive–Capitol Reef National Park


On Sunday, April 19, we decided to take the drive we have been hearing about since we got here. The drive goes out of the campground about 10 miles on pavement to the East. Then you have to cross the river. And I don’t mean across a bridge. We were told to enter the water and drive downstream hugging the right bank and then when you get across from the road cross the rest of the river. Put in 4X4 if you got it. 

The crossing was really no big deal, but the anticipation made it kind of fun.


We then had about 58 miles of a combination of everything from steep narrow switchbacks to open washboarded gravel roads. We headed up through some open pasture land that is currently leased for cattle ranching. The scenery was already getting out attention.


As we drove along, I saw an old truck on the side of the road. I had to stop and check it out.


It was an old drilling rig. Most of the drilling derrick was made of wood including a large flywheel. The front end was cool:




We then came to and area they call the Bentonite hills. It looked like piles of ash. At this point we were averaging about 10 MPH.


We had been told that this area is not passable if it is wet.

We came to a side road that took us to jailhouse rock. The view was cool and we met a couple from Houston that were the only people we saw for most of the day.


We drove through valleys and up and over mesas. The road was rough at times, but we kept seeing cool rock formations or cliff walls.





This is our first view of Cathedral Valley. It just took your breath away. Look at that road down there, we would soon be on that road.


This was a very cool overlook. We decided to stop and have lunch with this view.


Here is an up close of the Cathedral Rocks.


This was just the beginning of these kind of views for many miles. It is just about the most awesome thing I have ever seen. The size is just amazing.


I tried to put something in the shot to show the size. The lighting is bad in these shots, but the size is shown.














There were some interesting volcanic formations called dikes.


We then came to the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Moon and Glass Mountain. This is the Temple of the Sun, with the Temple of the moon behind it:


Glass mountain was an interesting feature. It is a mound of selenite crystals.I have never seen anything like it.



This shot is with the Temple of the Moon in front. It appears larger, but the sun is much larger.


We were driving along and I caught this lizard out of the corner of my eye.


These candy striped hills were much prettier in person than this picture shows:


The drive took us 8 hours to complete. It will be remembered as one of my favorite days of the trip. The scenery was amazing and the drive and solitude made it really special. I will say it again, I love Capitol Reef!

1 comment:

  1. Love the pictures of the old cars and rigs. Looking forward to getting back to that area in the fall.