Capitol Reef Scenic Drives

Nonstop Knockout Scenery: Seeing the Best of the Capitol Reef National Park Area by Car

This drive along Utah Highway 24 from Loa to Hanksville and through Capitol Reef National Park is nonstop knockout scenery, from the green valley of the Fremont River through the dramatic geologic upheaval of the Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef to the wild shale and sandstone high desert mesas and buttes that spread out to the north of the rugged Henry Mountains. It is approximately 75 miles from Loa to Hanksville. Make that 75 extraordinary miles.

Plan on a full day for this entire scenic drive, including the 25-mile Capitol Reef National Park Scenic Drive, allowing at least half a day to poke around Capitol Reef and longer if the park grabs your interest. Several excellent side trips might extend this drive even longer.

Unless you’ve already arrived at Highway 24 from a previous drive, start this journey in the pretty farm community of Loa. From the north, Highway 24 to Loa is easy to reach from I-70 near Richfield in the Sevier Valley. Highway 24 from Loa to Torrey is scenic in a peaceful, bucolic way, following a pretty river in a verdant valley. The land along the Fremont River is all private and mostly farm and ranchland. It is easy to understand why early settlers found this valley so attractive. There is a small national forest campground, called Sunglow, just east of Bicknell on the left.

Five miles east of Bicknell a paved road on the right leads a mile or so to the lovely little hamlet of Teasdale, a worthwhile diversion to see a fine example of a classic Mormon farming community. Keep an eye open for deer all along Highway 24.

The town of Torrey is the gateway to Capitol Reef National Park as well as to the mountain wilderness of the eastern flank of the Aquarius Plateau.

Explore the best of Capitol Reef, side trips and nearby drives below.