Our trip took us north from Bryce National Park, into Escalante where we boondocked on BLM land for just a night on the way to Capitol Reef. We past by many places where we probably should have stopped, included Goblin Valley State Park, and the Kiva Koffeehouse that was closed on Tuesday, the day we were coming through
We only had a couple of days to explore Capitol Reef though, so we kept on driving. This drive from Bryce to Capitol Reef was the steepest, and curviest roads that we have driven on with Irvin the RV, so we were slow travelers on this day.
For our time at Capitol Reef, we parked on some BLM land about 5 minutes outside of the entrance to the park. It was right off the road, but had a bumpy entrance with lots of rocks. It was also not far from the couple of restaurants and small grocery stores in town.
On our first day in the park, we went to the Visitor Center and did our usual activities of movie watching and getting our Jr Ranger Badges and planning out our drives and hikes. Our first stop in this park was at the 2pm Ranger talk at the Petroglyph site nearby, so we headed there to learn about the early settlers here, and to see the Petroglyph wall
Next, drove toward the scenic drive area, but had to stop at the Gifford House where there was a small horse pasture, and a sign out for homemade pies, cinnamon rolls, and ice cream. They were speaking our language, so we went in and got some pies and ice cream and they were very good! The kids also ran through the sprinklers here and enjoyed watching the horses. The parks campground was located right behind the Gifford House. This campground used to be first come first serve, but it now operates on a reservation system.
.After that, we headed out on the 20 mile roundtrip scenic drive where we enjoyed views of the cliffs and mountains. We also drove a short way down the Grand Wash, but knew this was better left up to 4 wheel drive vehicles.
The next day, we headed out on the 1.7 mile roundtrip Hickman Bridge Trail. We had thought we had gotten out early to beat the heat, but this hike was an uphill climb, and we were HOT at 10am. We decided we will wake up earlier for summer hikes from now on! Anyway, the end of this trail was worth the hot, uphill climb, and the way back was much easier, so it was worth it.
In the middle of the day, David and the kids went for a swim in the river, and they had a lot of fun. Unfortunately they didn’t see the no-see-um gnats that are out and they bit Tyler’s head pretty badly and left big itchy welts. He must be extra tasty, because no one else was bit that day.
That night, we drove down the Gooseneck Trail Road, and then walked the rest of the way to watch the sunset at Sunset Point where we think we spotted some dinosaur footprints in one of the rocks, and enjoyed far reaching views of the waterpocket fold and deep canyons that we hadn’t seen in other parts of the park we had been in. It is definitely a recommended spot in the park to watch the sunset!
It was just our luck that one of our friends, who was Ty and El’s preschool teacher at our church back in Pittsburgh, was in this park with her husband at the same time we were there! We made plans to meet for cinnamon rolls at the Gifford House on our last day there. It was so nice to see people from home!