Magazine article Sunset

Orchards and Arches

Magazine article Sunset

Orchards and Arches

Article excerpt

DAY TRIP

It's tempting to remain in your car when you tour Capitol Reef National Park. After all, the main highway that runs through it offers dazzling windshield views of rocky outcroppings such as Chimney Rock, the Castle, and Capitol Dome. But unless you get out for an afternoon hike along the Grand Wash trail, you'll miss the fun of running your hands over sandstone left smooth by floodwaters and wandering fluted sandstone gorges invisible from the highway

Enter the park at the visitor center, where you'll be asked to pay a fee ($4 per car) for access to the main road, simply called Scenic Drive. Just past the visitor center, you'll come to Fruita orchards, the perfect place to pick up a healthy trail snack.

The mile-long graded dirt road that runs to the Grand Wash trailhead creeps past portals to long-abandoned mines that once disgorged radioactive ore. From here you'll also get a glimpse of Cassidy Arch-provided your eyes can discern the archway from the red rock cliff behind it. …

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