Fall 2020 Capitol Reef/Grand Staircase

The middle two weeks of October provided great conditions for our annual fall excursion around the Colorado Plateau. Our first stop was Fruita, Utah, the headquarters for Capitol Reef National Park. From there we continued on to Boulder, Utah and the surrounding Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

Capitol Reef continues to deliver. We spent seven days hiking off the main trail system in the park, immersed in the spectacular landscape. We followed variations of previous routes and explored new routes collected from a couple sources; we saw no other people and barely any footprints.

Two things worth noting. The area had not received any rain for seven months and consequently there was virtually no water to be found in the back country. This made multi day backpacking pretty much unfeasible for us. Second, forget about camping in the park campground. 100% booked in advance and largely occupied by class A motor homes with generators. Fortunately, good van camping is available on BLM land surrounding the park in various directions.

One small hiccup with the van required a tow and minor repair. A previous repair shop had failed to properly torque the bolts holding a new axle to a rear wheel and the axle came unbolted. We got towed to a shop in Richfield, Ut that turned out to be 5 star. The owners, a father and son team, diagnosed the problem right away and had the special 16 point driver tool, unique to VW, required to bolt the axle back into the wheel hub. We were back in Capitol Reef later that afternoon.

After so many trips to Capitol Reef, we still have more we want to do there. It’s an astonishing place and we plan to return again and again.

Next we drove over to Boulder, Ut and hooked up with our local friend and favorite partner for back country adventures. He had a four day route planned out for him and a visiting guest and we were invited to join them. Perfect timing. It was a point to point route through the stunning slick rock wilderness surrounding the upper Escalante River, Boulder Creek and Deer Creek.

Exceptional weather, great company and enough available water made for another excellent session in the Grand Staircase Escalante. It’s another favorite location we plan to re-visit for years to come.

Click the link to see a Slideshow of the best photos from the trip.