As I mentioned in earlier posts, getting a breathe of fresh air much less some elbow room can be a challenge during tourist season in National Parks. Utah National Parks are special because many offer backroad access that is inaccessible by tour buses. Capitol Reef is just one of the parks with Scenic Backways that serve up little known wonders for admiration and exploration.
If you decide to travel these dusty byways, remember it will be a lonely ride – we rarely see other vehicles. There are no services in these remote areas either. Be sure to pack at least a lunch and take copious amounts of water. According to Ranger Lori, there are mountain lions (among other things) hunting out here so make sure you have enough fuel to safely flee any dangers!
Capitol Reef Scenic Backways
We explore two Scenic backways while we camp at Capitol Reef. The Burr Trail-Notom Road Loop leads to oyster shell fossils preserved in an ancient Utah seabed. This trail then wanders up the exciting Burr Switchbacks and through a remote part of Escalante National Monument.
Cathedral Valley Road crosses in and out of Capitol Reef NP through varying and incredible landscapes. One of the stops, Glass Mountain, baffles us at first because with no internet connection we were not able to determine how it was formed. Later Googling reveals that it formed as a plug of gypsum (selenite) was pushed up to create this mound.
Riding Cathedral Valley Backway Loop