If You Have Only 1 day
Because Capitol Reef is such a compact park, it's fairly easy to see a lot in a short time. Although 2 or 3 days in the park would be ideal, it is possible to have an enjoyable time with just half a day or so. Because there are no food services in the park (except fruit in season), pack a picnic lunch.
Start at the visitor center, and watch the short slide show explaining the park's geology and early history. Then head out on the paved 25-mile round-trip Scenic Drive, stopping along the way for a short hike, perhaps the easy walk up the Grand Wash. In the historic pioneer community of Fruita, near the beginning of the Scenic Drive, you can wander among the orchards, where you're likely to see deer. Then visit the Gifford Farmhouse, where you can get a taste of the daily life of Fruita's Mormon settlers and purchase replicas of pioneer-era household items and crafts. Hike one of the shorter trails in the Fruita area before going to see the Fruita Schoolhouse and some of the park's petroglyphs. In the evening, try to take in a ranger program at the amphitheater.
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.