Simply put, touring Capitol Gorge Road is a visual experience like no other! This short dirt road weaves its way through the towering upheaval bluffs in the central section of the park and a few famous landmarks are located along the way. At the end of the line is the the Capitol Gorge Trailhead, which is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Capitol Reef National Park. Most of this landscape is composed of golden red and orange color sandstone and there are a few of this park's signature white domes to see as well.
One of the first famous landmarks that will be encountered is the towering Tapestry Wall, which is a sheer vertical bluff that rises a few hundred feet above ground level. The face of this red rock wall actually has a wavy look, just like draped fabric. After continuing onward, the dirt road follows the narrow gaps between the vertical rock walls all the way to the end point. There are a few interesting side canyons along the way, but for the most part there will be few views of the horizon because the towering solid rock walls overwhelm all else. The experience is kind of like being a mouse in a maze and there are only a few places in the narrows for roadside parking, so this section will likely be for your eyes only.
Toward the end of the road is where the Golden Throne is located and this truly is a unique sight to see. This deep golden color bluff is surrounded by red rock outcrops and it towers over the white domes, so the setting definitely has a throne like appearance. By throwing the cobalt blue skies into the mix, the Golden Throne certainly is of mythical proportions that compare to similar places in classic literature. There are foot trails for taking a closer look, so be sure to check out this spot when passing through!
At the end of the line is the Capitol Gorge Trailhead parking area, which is complete with facilities and a little picnic area. This is a popular spot for group event hikes and the parking lot can be crowded, so getting an early start is best for this hiking trail. The Capitol Gorge Trail winds its way through the white dome landscape to the Fremont River next to Highway 24 and most visitors do this trek as an out and back.
Where there are vertical bluff walls and bedrock alcoves, there will almost certainly be some natural echo chambers to be found. When an echo area is unwittingly discovered, the experience can be perplexing because voices can be heard clearly even when the people chatting are over 50 yards away. "Hearing voices" upstairs is a normal anomaly in this strange place, so there will be no need to talk with a psychiatrist after the trip. This is just one of the intangibles to discover along Capitol Gorge Road, so be sure to do this little Capitol Reef side trip!
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