For Teachers

a ranger presenting to an iPad with red sandstone cliffs as a backdrop.
A ranger presenting to students via Skype


Distance Education

Learn about Capitol Reef geology from your classroom!

The park offers distance learning through Skype in the Classroom from approximately mid-November through the end of February. "Capitol Reef Rocks!" is a 30 minute geology program geared towards elementary school students.

Students join a park ranger out in the park, with the landscape as a backdrop, to learn about the geologic processes that created Capitol Reef National Park. Capitol Reef’s geologic story reveals a nearly complete set of Mesozoic-era sedimentary rock. Tectonic forces uplifted the rock layers, forming the Waterpocket Fold. Erosional forces have been sculpting the landscape ever since.

In this lesson, students can learn about geology, fossils, geologic time, and earth history. Visit the park's Skype in the Classroom page to view availability and request a session.


Planning a field trip to Capitol Reef?

Contact us! With advanced notice and as staffing allows, the park can provide a brief, 10-minute orientation for your school visit. With staffing limitations, ranger-led curriculum programs are not being offered at this time. Parking and space are limited so it may be useful to inform the park of your visit. We may be able to assist by letting you know of any potential conflicts with other school groups.

The following suggestions may help you to plan a safe and rewarding educational experience at Capitol Reef. Please review the following with your group. Have a safe and enjoyable visit!

Bus parking is limited and in high demand due to school group visits and private bus tours. Busses can park at the picnic area as well as along the road between the Ripple Rock Nature Center and the picnic area. Please consider informing the park of your visit with the number of students, busses, and the date. Park staff hope reduce congestion in the park and can inform you if there are potential conflicts. You can limit congestion by carpooling.

map of the Fruita Historic District
Map of the Historic Fruita District to aid in planning your visit.
A ranger and visitors at a viewpoint on the Hickman Bridge trail
A ranger and visitors at a viewpoint on the Hickman Bridge trail

NPS photo/C. Roundtree

The park visitor center has museum exhibits and an 18 minute orientation movie.

Flush toilets and sinks are located at the visitor center and picnic area. Vault toilets are located at many trailheads. There are no facilities on the trails, so use the restrooms before you hike.

The picnic area, located on the Scenic Drive south of the visitor center, is open to all visitors. Picnic tables, metal grills, a drinking fountain, and shaded grassy areas are available. Please do not feed or approach wildlife, such as marmots and deer.

Be sure to visit the one-room Historic Fruita Schoolhouse, the Behunin Cabin, and the Fremont Culture Petroglyphs, located along Utah Highway 24. The Historic Gifford Homestead, located on the Scenic Drive, is open seasonally. A pioneer Blacksmith Shop exhibit, located on the Scenic Drive near the picnic area, is also open to the public.

Explore the park's geology and natural history by going for a hike! There are many short hiking trails to choose from. Please see the Fruita Area Map and Guide for a list of the trails, distances, and difficulty. This will help you decide which hike may be best for your students. Suggested hikes for all ages are Grand Wash or Capitol Gorge.

Capitol Reef National Park has been set aside by Congress to be preserved for future generations because of its valuable resources. Inform your students that everything in the national park is protected, from rocks to wildflowers to wild animals. Respect wildlife. Stay on designated trails only. Dispose of trash properly. Leave no trace.

Biological soil crust is vital to the health of desert ecosystems, and one misstep kills decades of growth. Take time to read the display in the visitor center and keep your students single-file on the trails. Mule deer offer students an exciting opportunity to see large wild animals up close. Help them to maintain a healthy respect for people; keep a 30 foot (9.1 m) distance and do not feed or touch any animal in the park. Collecting of any kind is prohibited in the park. Pretty rocks, wildflowers or objects are not souvenirs, but treasures for the next person to enjoy and learn from. Leave the park in the same or better condition than you found it.

Fourth grade students currently qualify for the free Every Kid Outdoors pass. This pass gets the student and their family into National Parks for free while they are in 4th grade. If you would like to get each student a pass while you visit the park, please visit the Every Kid Outdoors website to print the certificate for each student. Large school groups should contact our fee program office a month in advance to ensure there are enough passes for the day of your visit.

Educational group fee waivers are available to groups traveling the Scenic Drive for educational purposes. Applications must be submitted two weeks prior to your visit. If you have any questions, please contact the fee program office during normal business hours at (435) 425-3791.

Last updated: June 23, 2020

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Mailing Address:

HC 70, Box 15
Torrey, UT 84775



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