I love nature and I love adventure. Something about fresh air filling my lungs with a western backdrop will always appeal to me. Despite my preference for city-living, few things satisfy me more than a week (or two) away from it all.
Capitol Reef country offers that and then some. That’s why it’s high on my list for an adventure getaway.
CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK
Southern Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park is part of a warp in the earth’s crust (known as the Waterpocket Fold) that’s around 65 million-years-old. If nerding out on geology isn’t your thing, then suffice it to say that this geological marvel promises to be a fantastic playground for all things outdoors.
Inside the park, hikers and the like will find canyons, towers, cliffs, domes, arches, and impassable ridges. Those ridges are what early settlers called, “reefs,” thus the latter half of the park’s name. Hundreds of miles of trails and unpaved roads await adventurers looking for some backcountry action.
Otherwise, I’m happy getting a little wet on the rapids of the Colorado and Green rivers.
Boulder Mountain rises west of Capitol Reef National Park, reaching 11,317 feet (3,449 meters) toward the heavens. Its steep slopes, cliffs, forests, and meadowlands dominate 50,000 acres of the Dixie National Forest, making it the highest timbered plateau in North America.
Naturally this is all to say that I want to get to the top of that mountain, something that’s possible only between July and October, before the snow comes and blocks off the backcountry roads. Assuming I can make my travel timely, that mountain will be mine.
Oh yes, it will be mine…
THOUSAND LAKE MOUNTAIN
You can do just about anything in Thousand Lake Mountain when it comes to western adventure. Anchored in the easternmost corner of Fishlake National Forest, Thousand Lake Mountain stretches between 7,000 and 10,000 feet with no shortage of opportunities to get your heart pounding.
There’s ATV and snowmobiling to start. However, being a fan of non-motorized adventure, I’d have hiking, mountain biking, camping, and cross-country skiing higher on my agenda, enjoying the scenery around the canyons.
FACTORY BUTTE BADLANDS
Looking at pictures, it seems like one would know they’re at the Factory Butte Badlands once they’ve arrived, much like you would the South or North Dakotan Badlands and a redwood forest. Its isolated and sandstone landscape would be unmistakable from anything else in the area.
While you can certainly find adventure here (it’s still Utah, after all), I’d’ be inclined to camp out with my camera. I can only imagine the kind of photographic possibilities available at the Factory Butte Badlands. Perhaps I wouldn’t even need an Instagram filter to save me.
Sponsored: This post is sponsored by Capitol Reef Country.