Capitol Reef National Park is the often-neglected member of Utah’s Big 5
The Big 5 are the five national parks stretching across Utah, including Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches, and Capitol Reef.
It’s really common for RVers to visit these five parks over a few weeks in a loop, leaving Las Vegas in a rented RV, visiting the Big 5, and then returning the RV to Vegas to then fly back home.
Capitol Reef usually gets only a day or two on the loop through the Big 5, while more popular parks like Arches, Zion, and Bryce get all the love.
However, Capitol Reef has a lot to offer, and we really enjoyed the five days we spent at the park.
Capitol Reef has a lot of the features that you find in the other four national parks in Utah.
Capitol Reef has natural bridges and arches. It has big canyons and slot canyons. It has sheer cliffs and hikes with breathtaking views. It has petroglyphs and historical sites.
On top of the park’s diversity, the shining benefit of Capitol Reef is that most people fly right past it. The crowds aren’t there, which means some of the stress that comes with crowds isn’t there.
Of all the national parks in Utah, Capitol Reef is the most laid back. Visitors on the roads, trails, and visitor centers seemed nicer than in other parks, like Arches, where everyone is scrambling to get ahead of tour busses, find a parking space, or get a picture without others crowding the shot.
We camped just outside the park in a little town called Torrey, which had a great burger and shake restaurant and a great city park for the kids.
In addition to the diversity and small crowds, Capitol Reef also has a unique visitor center just for kids, which we loved. The visitor center has all sorts of hands on activities, educational toys, and ranger talks just for kids.
Here are our photos from Capitol Reef National Park