Utah Colors, Steep Grades and Stunning Landscapes

October 1-7, 2018 — This week brought us from Payson, Utah to a boondocking spot on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land just west of Capitol Reef National Park near Torrey, Utah. We stayed all week at this boondocking site as it was quiet and peaceful yet located just outside a national park. Some nights many RVs came to join us while other nights there were just a few rigs present. 

Like most BLM sites, this one was free of charge with a 14 day maximum stay. No services (water, electric, sewer) are offered but there is water and a dump station ($5 fee) just a few miles away at the Fruita campground within Capitol Reef National Park. The site was open enough to allow for good solar power on sunny days and had great AT&T and Verizon cell signal. 

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Boondocking on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property just outside of Capitol Reef National Park near Torrey, Utah. Quiet, peaceful, beautiful scenery. Perfect. 


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Scenic Byway 12, All-American Road travels through some of the most diverse, remote and ruggedly beautiful landscapes in the United States. The 122 mile route is home to two national parks, three state parks. a national recreation area, a national monument, and a national forest. We drove 65 miles of the Byway from Torrey to Escalante, Utah and were stunned at the beautiful scenery. Hope to see the rest of the Byway someday. 

Someone’s momma forgot to tell this fellow not to play in the middle of the road. Scenic Byway 12 is an open range area with lots of beef cattle present. 

Scenic Byway 12 climbs from 5,223 feet to 9,636 feet above sea level. With the elevation variance, fall colors on our trip ranged from trees barely turning to yellow and orange to those that had completely lost their leaves. 

With elevation changes comes steep grades including this one at 14 percent. Hope the brakes are in good working order!


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Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has the distinction of being the last place in the continental United States to be mapped. The monument spans thousands of acres with very diverse geological terrain including slot canyons, natural bridges and arches. 

A view of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument from Scenic Byway 12. Amazing how far one can see on a partly cloudy day. 

Capitol Reef National Park is one of five national parks in Utah and the first one we visited. 

The landscape at Capitol Reef National park is stunning!

Unfortunately we didn’t see any marmots while at Capitol Reef but did see one a few weeks prior at Glacier National Park in Montana. 

View of Capitol Reef National Park taken along the Scenic Drive. So pretty!

The weather was rainy during much of our stay near Torrey, Utah but we were blessed with a few awesome sunsets. 


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The Fruita Schoolhouse in Fruita, Utah which is within the boundaries of Capitol Reef National Park. The land for the school was donated by the Behunin family in 1892 with Nettie Behunin being the first teacher. The school had a dirt roof for over a decade and in 1935 the bare walls were finally chinked in. The school remained a functional grade school until 1941. 

Capitol Reef National Park and Highway 24 as seen from the Hickman Bridge Trail. Love the different colors of rocks in this park from white to black and everything in between. 

Petroglyphs along Highway 24 in Capitol Reef National Park. The rock art figures were created by ancient Native Americans and can been seen in several places throughout the park. Most are attributed to the Fremont people that inhabited the area from 600 to 1300 AD. 

The Capitol Gorge Trailhead at the end of the Scenic Drive in Capitol Reef National Park. Even with wet and cool weather the park was full of visitors. 

Our boondocking site on BLM land near Torrey, Utah was quiet and peaceful with great cell signal. Good place to spend some downtime and enjoy Sunday football and the MLB playoffs. 

Capitol Reef National Park is the least popular of Utah’s five national parks but it is not one to miss. The scenery is both diverse and amazing. We loved our time here and know we will be back again to explore the park more. Follow along next week as we move east to Goblin Valley State Park and Moab, Utah but not until we wait out a predicted rain/snow storm. See you then!

Thank you for hanging out at Off Our Rocker RV.

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