Thursday, April 18, 2024

Driving Capitol Reef NP's Scenic Drive, Hiking The Tanks Trail and a little T-Dub'ing

 Sunny day with some noticeable but not bad winds.

Martha and I drove over to the Capitol Reef NP's Visitor Center located just off the UT24 Highway about six miles east of Torrey, UT.

After getting her Park Passport book stamp and a map, we drove onto the Scenic Highway deeper into the park.  First, a stop at the Gifford Farm where a museum and store is located.  Mainly, to get a pie sample.  

The drive into the scenic highway's rock formations was "into the sun" so we didn't stop for pics or use any of the dashcam video footage.  We got to the end of the road where there is a small trailhead.  Parking was an issue and we ended up parking in a small spot at the end of a line of parking spots.  When we returned it was a cluster-f*ck of a parking area.  

The Capitol Gorge Road trail is pretty level and we walked about a mile in, I think you can take this trail all the way to the small town of Notom, UT but we wouldn't be going that far.

The gorge is obviously by definition bordered by high rock walls.  We were walking where water once flowed (and probably does during floods and heavy rains).

We walked past Pioneer Register where people from the past left their mark and names while transiting this area.  There's also a bunch of modern era ass wipes who left their names on the rock walls.  I guess they didn't see the sign stating it's illegal, after all what's historical value compared to a fleeting Instagram posting right?

Anyways, we got to the start of The Tanks trail which led up some sketchy looking terrain:

Martha of course was up for the challenge and up we went.  It was signed as 0.2 miles long, the trail.  It wasn't too bad but some parts required due care.

Still we made to within sight of "the tanks".  You can see water collecting in one of the pictured holes below.

Here's views from the trail, a bit higher than the gorge's road bottom:

The walk back to the trailhead was without any issue, just a short stop to get a picture of layered rock that I found interesting:

We apparently were here at a good time this month.  The "Scenic Road" will be closed for construction starting April 30, not sure when they'll be finished but pretty sure not for a few months.

We tilted the dashcam lens a bit for the return trip from the trail head area:

This will probably be last of this type of dashcam video, lots of time to convert/edit. (the crowd cheers...)

A bit past 3:00 PM, I went on a ride on Yagi, my TW200.  I just rode what trails were available around the campsite area.  Found  that Sulphur Creek Road leads one into the Capitol Reef NP a short ways before it meets up with the US 24 Highway at Twin Rocks:

The afternoon had turned mostly cloudy, leading to some dark lighting for the landscape, but still it was OK as I retraced my route back towards camp:

I even found a small water crossing along the way:

I wandered out of the camping area and found another BLM gate to the ridge next to our campsite's ridge.  I wandered for a bit but there wasn't much riding to be done before one ran out of trail and faced the edges of the eroded ridge.

Still, one spot gave a good view of the two prominent mountains to the west near Torrey.  The one on the right is unnamed according to the Peakfinder app.  The one on the right is called The Ant Hill.  I would have thought the unnamed formation would be called Ant Hill but what do I know.

Tonight's sunset was pretty good:


Oz said...

I have heard of Capitol Reef and really want to visit. It looks so fun and interesting. The road looks like a good adventure.

redlegsrides said...

Oz, it's a nice little park, and under good light, gorgeous...besides the scenic road, it's all hiking trails.

CCjon said...

Did wagon trains once use those trails or were they stictly for horseback or walking?

Interesting photos you captured.

redlegsrides said...

CCjon, I believe the road was used by early settlers to get past the "reef" barrier which later became part of Capitol Reef NP. The Capitol part was a rock formation named because it reminded people of the US Capitol at the time I think.

Bluekat said...

My heart belongs to Utah. Loved the drive in Capitol Reef. We didn’t hike as we were time crunched, but the drive was beautiful. I can’t wait to go back to that area. Thanks for the lovely pics and video. Brought back memories.

redlegsrides said...

You're welcome Bluekat....