Capitol Reef is relatively easy to see from the comfort of your automobile. From the visitor center, the Scenic Drive leads about 13 miles south into the park. Pick up a copy of the Scenic Drive brochure ($2 at the visitor center), then set out, stopping at view points to gaze at the array of colorful cliffs, monoliths, and commanding rock formations.
If the weather is dry, drive down the gravel Capitol Gorge Road at the end of the paved Scenic Drive for a look at what many consider to be the park's best scenery. It's a 5-mile round-trip drive. If you're up for a short walk, the relatively flat 2-mile (round-trip) Capitol Gorge Trail, which starts at the end of Capitol Gorge Road, takes you to the Pioneer Register, a rock wall where traveling pioneers "signed in".
Another dry-weather driving option is the Grand Wash Road, a maintained dirt road that is subject to flash floods but in good weather offers an easy route into a spectacular canyon. Along the 2-mile round-trip, you'll see Cassidy Arch, named for famed outlaw Butch Cassidy, who, at least by some accounts, hid out in this area.
Utah 24, which crosses Capitol Reef from east to west, also has several view points offering a look at some of the park's best features, such as the monumental Capitol Dome, Chimney Rock, the aptly named Castle, the Fruita Schoolhouse, and some petroglyphs left by the prehistoric Fremont people.
Illuminating Your Drive -- The park's scenic drive runs mostly north-south, with most of the best rock formations on the east side of the road. In the morning you'll be looking into the sun, but drive the road in late afternoon or just before sunset, and the formations are richly illuminated.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.