Utah Travels–June, 2015

This shot is looking down on the CR Visitor Center and is one of my favorite views anywhere!

This shot is looking down on the Capital Reef Visitor Center; way off in the distance and around the corner. It’s one of my favorite views anywhere!

In my last post I began my summer travels by driving from Moab to Hanksville stopping to camp about 20 miles south of Hanksville. The next morning I hit the road and continued on toward Capital Reef, my next stop. I’ve covered all this ground numerous times before so I didn’t stop a lot.


Capital Reef view.

This part of  Utah has a few small town along the way but most of them don’t have any good reason to stop for long, but Hanksville has something pretty unique. At the intersection where 95 and 24 meet there is a gas station unlike any other I’ve ever seen. Outside the pumps are just like any other, but when you go inside to pay at the convenience  store/gift shop, you actually walk right into the mountain side because it is hallow inside. At some time in the past someone drilled it out and now it is a gas station. Be sure and stop by and check it out if you are in the area. The town has a good  Verizon 4g signal so I caught up on my website work there.

The Hallow Mountain gas station at Hanksville.

The drive from Hanksville to Capital Reef National Park is not exceptional but it is pretty because you drive along the Fremont River most of the way. But, as you get closer to the NP it gets better and better. Capital Reef has some of the deepest red colors of all the red rock country and it stands out in stark contrast against the Fremont River which is surrounded by green Cottonwoods.

I took this shot about 100 feet from camp--beautiful views are everywhere here!

I took this shot about 100 feet from camp–beautiful views are everywhere here!

Personally, I think that the best time to visit here  is in the fall when the Cottonwoods are a golden yellow as they change into their fall colors. Also, the heat is basically over and the crowds have thinned to reasonable levels. The last time I was there was in 2008 when I had spent the first week of October in Colorado photographing it’s fall colors and when it got too cold I headed over to Moab for two weeks and in mid-October I headed over to Capital Reef and got there just in time for it’s fall colors. The contrast of the deep red and the bright yellow was very pretty!

Some of the intense red rock in the Park.

Some of the intense red rock in the Park.

I’ve always thought Capital Reef NP was one of the most underrated of the Parks on the Grand Circle, I would certainly rate it ahead of both Bryce and Canyonlands. Bryce only has the one thing to offer and Canyonlands is so large it’s hard to take it in. CRNP has the beautiful red rock and unique formations, the Fremont River, history including  Petroglyphs and recent Mormon history, and one of the largest anticlines in the country called the Waterpocket Fold. It creates a dramatic backdrop for much of the park. Another thing it has, that few visitors bother to visit, is Cathedral Valley. It’s remote and takes quite a bit of driving to visit it–but if you will bother, you will be rewarded by amazing monolithic structures well worth seeing. I’ve been there before so I didn’t go this time. Beyond all that, CRNP is one of the few where they grow food right there for visitors to eat!

Cody looking down on the Freemont River

Cody looking down on the Fremont River, “There must be something down there I can chase!”

At one time there was a little town called Fruita where the Capital Reef Park Headquarters is now. It was settled by Mormon pioneers many years ago because of access to water from the Fremont. They planted large scale fruit orchards of peaches, pears, cherries and apples, which is where the name came from. The settlers are all gone now but the orchards are still there  and the Park Service continues to tend to the orchards with loving care.  If you are there in season you are welcome to harvest your own, but the Park Service does charge for them. I’ve never been there in season so I don’t know how much they charge. For harvest information, check out the NPS website here:  http://www.nps.gov/care/learn/historyculture/orchardscms.htm


One good reason to visit in the spring is the many wildflowers in bloom.

Cactus in bloom.

Cactus in bloom.

Like most NPs there is no dispersed camping in CRNP but (although there is a free campground in Cathedral Valley, but it is a long drive) also like many of them, there is good camping just outside of the Park. Whenever I’m there I stay at a very nice spot just outside of the Park’s west boundary.  It’s on the right side as you’re driving west and you just have to keep a close eye out for the turn in. If you miss it you’ll shortly come to the first gas station/motel and you’ll know you missed it so turn around and go back watching for it, now on your left.

My campsite just outside CRNP.

My campsite just outside CRNP.

If you haven’t been to the Golden Circle, you’ve missed out on some of the most spectacular scenery in the world and you owe it to yourself to visit it. Make sure that Capital Reef is on your agenda!

Just entering CRNP from the east.

Just entering CRNP from the east.

Cody never saw a body of water he didn't want to jump right in. Here  he is in the Fremont.

Cody never saw a body of water he didn’t want to jump right in. Here he is in the Fremont.

Wildflowers in front of the Fremont.

Wildflowers in front of the Fremont.


I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

28 comments on “Utah Travels–June, 2015
  1. Lucy says:

    GORGEOUS pictures, I love to see Cody swimming, he’s just so beautiful !!

    Glad U 2 are enjoying your trip.


    PS: did U take a dip next to Cody ?

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Lucy! I’m not a swimmer so I stay out of the water. I lived and grew up in Alaska for 45 years where 9 months out of the year getting in the water was a death sentence and the other 3 months it was extremely cold! It doesn’t come naturally to me.

  2. Teri Live Oak, Fl says:

    Can’t thank you enough for this morning’s inspiration.

  3. Walt says:

    Great looking area, and I agree about Capitol Reef NP. We visited several years ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It isn’t striking like many parts of Bryce, nor unique in the same way that Arches is, but there is definitely something about it.

    The campsite you picture looks like a real winner as well. How hard would it be to get a motorhome into that spot or that area?
    Walt recently posted…#185 – The Dog Days of Summer Come EarlyMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Walt, I tied to find the most remote spot but a smaller RV could get in here. There are places closer to the road that most RVs could get into.

      But take that with a gain of salt, I’ve never driven a large RV so I don’t know what they are capable of and many people think the roads I say are fine are too rough or even not drive-able.

  4. Shawna says:

    Gorgeous area! Your photos are spectacular!
    Shawna recently posted…We Took a Little TripMy Profile

  5. Ed Royster says:

    Found the book on amazon read it in two days. Looking forward to the next book. I understand why not a class b.
    thanks Ed

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Ed! There is no right or wrong way to live this life, just different preferences for different people. I like very simple and very cheap!! But it may not be the way for you, maybe more comfort is best for you, then a Class B would be perfect.

  6. jeff johnston says:

    Hi, Im currently camping inside of Bryce Canyon and eating at a breakfast buffet and using their wifi outside the park. Utah is awsome! Did a moderate hike down into the canyon yesterday, the temp. was ideal. Will be following in your footprints as I venture into the same areas you have been. I would eventually like to do this full time. I am getting a taste for it as I ease into this lifestyle… Jeff the nomad in his car and tent.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Jeff, you’ve picked a great trip to get a taste of the nomadic life! I’ve got to warn you though, it’s addictive, once you start it’s very hard to turn back!!

  7. I love the photos! Your post definitely makes me want to go visit. Thank you for sharing your photos and experiences with us 🙂
    Jim at Growing Faith recently posted…Freely GiveMy Profile

  8. Dan, phx. says:

    Nice pictures Bob, I see the new super wide angle was a good choice.

  9. Lamar says:

    Bob ,,Just wondering about how far apart are the fuel stops …Do you carry an extra can of fuel in case of emergency ? Thanks for posting your travels. Lamar

    • Bob Bob says:

      Lamar I’ve never had a need to carry extra fuel, there are plenty of stations around. You do have to be aware of gaps and make sure you fill-up if you are going on a long gap. I usually keep it above 1/2 tank so I’m not surprised.

  10. Nicole says:

    I know you appreciate quotes. This one seems like it was written for you.

    “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
    – Friedrich Nietzsche

  11. jeff johnston says:

    While I venture thru the National Parks I not only find the natural beauty fascinating; but the people I encounter as well. I am outgoing and approach strangers often. I love discussions of music, religion, politics and philosophy and anything that arises. I am very open minded about any topic. I have my opinion on matters but Im willing to listen to other opinions as well. This is a learning process for me. As an example yesterday I encountered a Viet Nam vet who wrote topics for various newspapers; an older gentleman who was Mormon and was touring; a Catholic high school physics teacher; a couple in a 1985 VW van who were Christian born agains that reminded me of aged hippies, and a guy from New Mexico who believed in aliens… What an array of topics that were brought to the table! These events enrich my life and deepens my awareness of things. As the song Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics goes: Everybody’s lookin for something…Is there a heaven and hell, perhaps. Is there an after life, maybe. Is there a God, maybe. Is there no God, that makes sense too. Was there a beginning and there will be an end, maybe. Or as the Vedas(ancient Hindu texts) proclaim there never was a beginning nor there will never be an end which also pertains to the soul as well. Bottom line is be leary of people who say this is the way it is and thats that. One truth in life is the famous bumper sticker which proclaims: Ass, grass or cash nobody rides for free! Sorry for rambling on but thanks for reading. Jeff the nomad.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Jeff, I admire bold people who can just start talking to strangers, it’s a skill I’ve always lacked but wish I had. Thanks for sharing that with us!

  12. Mountain dan says:

    nice pictures. I especially like your composition of the blooming prickly pear cactus. It just bursts with color. My wife and I drove through that area just a couple of weeks ago, and it is a beautiful part of the country. We are lucky to have so many beautiful things to visit and view in our world and in our country. My wife an I are in the Puget sound area now, and there is much beauty around here, although there’s a lot of traffic jams too! We spent 3 hours in traffic on I5 today trying to get to a place where we could ride our bikes. Gave up on the ride, and went to a local bakery and got bread, and had lunch….such is life.(current construction, 8 car crash today, also a place where 3 big roads merge). regards, Dan

    • Bob Bob says:

      Mountain Dan, you’re reminding me why I avoid big cities like the plague! With so much beauty in the country, I can’t think of any reason to spend time in one.

  13. Rob says:

    I saw the caption where Cody wanted to chase something. We were camped by Lake Mead and our little dog chased a coyote, turned out there were 2 of them and they almost caught him! He got away in the brush.
    He was tied up after that…

    • Bob Bob says:

      Rob, coyotes are a really big concern, especially for smaller dogs. They’ve been known to use one coyote-often a female-to lure dogs out and then the pack kills him. Homer was so big he chased the coyotes but Cody is small so he is a concern to me.

  14. PamP says:

    Never get enough of Cody – what a dog he is! You’re really getting good at your photography. I admire your skills at getting the foreground and far distance shots in the focus at the same time! Good work.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Pam! Cody is so independent he runs free and I don’t get many shots of him, also, he never slows down so I can’t keep up with him! But I’m trying to get more photos of him–I know he’s the brains and the beauty of the outfit!

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