Getting Oriented

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  • Fruita. This historic pioneer village is at the heart of what most people see of Capitol Reef. The one and only park visitor center nearby is the place to get travel and weather information and maps. Scenic Drive, through Capitol Gorge, provides a view of the Golden Throne.
  • Scenic Drive. Winding 8 miles through the park, this aptly named road is the best way to get an overview of Capitol Reef's highlights, and it's the most accessible for all vehicles. It takes about 90 minutes to drive to the end and back, but you'll want to take your time with so many interesting sights to see along the way.
  • Cathedral Valley. The views are stunning and the silence deafening in the park's remote northern section. High-clearance vehicles are required, as is crossing the Fremont River. Driving in this valley is next to impossible when the Cathedral Valley Road is wet, so ask at the visitor center about current weather and road conditions.
  • Muley Twist Canyon. At the southern reaches of the park, this canyon is accessed via Notom-Bullfrog Road from the north, and Burr Trail Road from the west and southeast. High-clearance vehicles are required for Upper Muley and Strike Valley Overlook.

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Fodor's The Complete Guide to the National Parks of the USA: All 63 parks from Maine to American Samoa

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