Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef Scenic Drive

The Capitol Reef Scenic Drive is a short but highly recommended drive into a small portion of Capitol Reef National Park. It winds through the historic Fruita area and a number of washes on its way to Capitol Gorge, but it is paved and in good condition up to that point.

Mile 0 – Visitor Center

Visitor Center in Capitol Reef National Park in Utah

The drive begins at its intersection with Utah Highway 24. Immediately on the right is the Capitol Reef Visitor Center.

Mile 1.1 – Gifford Farmhouse

Gifford Farmhouse in Capitol Reef National Park in Utah

The road winds through the orchards and picnic areas of the Fruita Historic District and passes the Gifford Farmhouse, at left. A museum and store now occupy this building.

Mile 1.3 – Fruita Campground

Fruita Campground in Capitol Reef National Park in Utah

The entrance to the Fruita Campground is on the right. This is the only frontcountry campground in the park. For more information, see Capitol Reef Camping.

Mile 3.5 – Grand Wash Road

Grand Wash Road in Capitol Reef National Park in Utah

The unpaved Grand Wash Road is on the left. The road, which is usually in a condition suitable for careful driving by car, leads a little over a mile to a dead end at the beginning (or end) of the Grand Wash Trail. The trail leads 2.2 miles to the other trailhead on Utah Highway 24. This road, and all unpaved roads in the area, should be avoided during or shortly after periods of rain.

Mile 7.9 – Capitol Gorge Road

Capitol Gorge Road in Capitol Reef National Park in Utah

The formal Scenic Drive ends at this point. The unpaved Capitol Gorge Road continues forward. Another unpaved road, the Pleasant Creek Road, heads off to the right, and is a rough road that crosses washes and other barriers – it is not meant for normal vehicles. The Capitol Gorge Road, however, is normally fine for car travel with care, and leads 2.2 miles back into the canyon to one of the better hikes in the park. This road is actually the former route of UT-24.