Outside Capitol Reef National Park

Probably the best home base for exploring the park, the pretty town of Torrey, just outside the park, has lots of personality. Giant old cottonwood trees make it a shady, cool place to stay, and the townspeople are friendly and accommodating. A little farther west on Highway 24, tiny Teasdale is a charming settlement cradled in a cove of the Aquarius Plateau. The homes, many of which are well-preserved older structures, look out onto brilliantly colored cliffs and green fields. Bicknell lies another few miles west of Capitol Reef. Not much happens here, making it a wonderfully quiet place to rest your head. The Wayne County seat of Loa, 10 miles west of Torrey, was settled by pioneers in the 1870s. If you head south from Torrey instead of west, you can take a spectacular 32-mile drive along Highway 12 to Boulder, a town so remote that its mail was carried on horseback until 1940. Nearby is Anasazi State Park. In the opposite direction, 51 miles east, Hanksville is more a crossroads than anything else.

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