Wayside Exhibits

Changing Landscapes wayside exhibit

In 2014, Capitol Reef installed new wayside exhibits at viewpoints, trailheads, and orientation pullouts throughout the park. Take a virtual tour and learn more about this amazing park by viewing the exhibits, linked below.


Orientation Signs

Highway 24 Orientation Panel is located where Utah Highway 24 enters the park boundary.

Visitors find the Scenic Drive Orientation just past the campground at the beginning of the Scenic Drive.

Waterpocket District Orientation Panel greets adventurous motorists in the park's remote southern district.

Interpretive Waysides

The park's geological story tells of rock layers that are Under Pressure.

Capitol Reef National Park is In Defense of Darkness, preserving our valuable night-sky resources.

Clearing the Air discusses the region's air quality and the threats to its clarity.

From the Goosenecks viewpoint, view the park's oldest rocks deep in Sulphur Creek Canyon.

The park's many colorful rock layers tell a story of Changing Landscapes.

The historic Fruita schoolhouse was A Community's Cornerstone.

Signs of a Thriving People are visible at the petroglyph panels along Highway 24.

Petroglyphs and pictographs preserve ancient Stories in Stone.

Sculpting a Masterpiece requires time and the forces of nature.

The Behunin Cabin was the home of some of Capitol Reef's earliest pioneer settlers.

In the Fruita picnic area, historic cottonwood trees stand as Silent Sentinels.

Living Off the Land in Fruita's early days required ingenuity and hard work.

The Giving Groves of Fruita's orchards provided settlers with food and a source of income.

The Price of a Promise was high when it came to mining uranium at Capitol Reef.

Capitol Gorge is a Passage Through Time for both historic and modern travelers.

Summer monsoonal rains bring the Furious Flows of flash floods.

For the park's plants and wildlife, Surviving Extremes means adapting to harsh conditions.

If Cliffs Could Speak, they could tell us volumes about the park's ancient human history.

Trailhead Signs

Chimney Rock Trail

Hickman Bridge Trailhead

Fremont River Trail

Cohab Canyon Trail

Grand Wash-Cassidy Arch Trailhead

Capitol Gorge Trailhead

Visitor Center Exhibits

Moments pass, weeks turn to years, years to millennia. Evidence of change is visible all around. Here you will find one of the best exposures of Mesozoic rocks that form the foundation of Capitol Reef. The rock record, or stratographic column, tells a story of changing environments from oceans to swamps to deserts. After millions of years of deposition, plate tectonics caused a mountain building event, lifting the land. Over time, the processes of deposition, uplift, and erosion created extraordinary impacts, sculpting a masterpiece. Rock layers deposited and long buried, have been revealed. Evidence of weathering, erosion, and time can also be seen in the waterpockets, black boulders, and desert varnish.

Life has evolved with the landscape and the diverse geology provides a variety of habitats and life zones for hundreds of species of plants and animals.

Water, game, and wild plants for food have supported human survival through time. Archaeology and artifacts reveal part of the story of the connections between the land, its resources, and people. The relationship of people to Capitol Reef has changed over the past 200 years; it has become a time of exploration and settlement. Spanish explorers, geologists, and pioneers each sought something here. Beginning in 1880, the Latter-Day Saint pioneers found an oasis in this valley and formed a community in Fruita.

Today the National Park Service aims to preserve the past and protect the future in this age of conservation.

Last updated: December 20, 2021

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

HC 70, Box 15
Torrey, UT 84775


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