This is the most forgotten and least visited of Utah’s five national parks. One can easily see why. The others are in pairs: Zion and Bryce are bracketed around the town of Kanab, and Canyonlands and Arches are right next to Moab. But Capitol Reef has no pairing and no town of any size nearby.
In addition, the signage stinks, the landmarks are unclear, and the narrow canyon road at the end feels unsafe. We drove right by the park, expecting that a national park would at least have a sign on the highway that says “National Park this way.” Nope.
But, as you can see by the pictures, the route there is beautiful (especially in the fall), and the park itself is gorgeous and different. This might be the most beautiful set of 10 pictures since the Tetons. Why is it that a park without “canyon” in its name is the only one where you can drive directly into a narrow towering canyon?