This was our 3rd visit to Capitol Reef. It was beautiful as always, and the best part is still the lack of crowds. The beautiful red, yellow, pink, white and multi-colored cliffs of the Waterpocket Fold surround you everywhere you go. There is a new spectacular view around every corner. It is truly photographer's paradise. Our stay was short, and I was sick with a 24 hour flu the day we planned to visit several backcountry sites, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it!
Most of the park is backcountry. Some areas are accessible via dirt roads, which are often impassible, especially when wet, and some areas are only accessible by hiking. However, if you aren't interested in or don't have time for any of that, at least take the 30 mile drive from Torrey, Utah to Caineville, Utah on well maintained paved State Route 24, through the historical town of Fruita, where the Capitol Reef NP Visitor Center is located. That has to be one of the most beautiful short drives in the US.
There is also a paved road that turns south off of SR 24 at the Visitor Center in Fruita, which meanders 8 miles to the end of the pavement. This road, aptly named Scenic Drive, also offers constant beautiful scenery, and it is an easy drive. A small fee is requested for Scenic Drive at an honor station. No other areas of the park charge a fee. You might notice a white sandstone conical shaped formation off to east of Scenic Drive as you drive south 3 or 4 miles south of the visitor center. The formation is named Fern's Nipple, and is a 7065 foot high sandstone peak that was purportedly named by Butch Cassidy after one of his girlfriend Fern's better attributes. I can attest that it will make for great family conversation in the car as you drive along.... At the end of Scenic Drive, a well maintained dirt road takes you 2 more miles into Capitol Gorge. It is a smooth easy road to drive, and well worth your time, as long as it isn't raining.
Don't forget your camera!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.