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driving from Capitol Reef to Moab

NJ
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driving from Capitol Reef to Moab

In August I will be spending a day at Capitol Reef N.P. and then I'll be driving on to Moab where I have lodging reservations. I'd like to make the most of the day at Capitol Reef and I have read that the sunsets in Capitol Reef are spectacular. The drive from Capitol Reef to Moab is 148.4 miles (UT 24 East to I-70 East to US 191 heading south). I am not familiar with these roads. How long does it actually take in time to get from Capitol Reef to Moab using this route? How is this route to drive after sunset (if I were to stay in Capitol Reef through sunset and then start the drive to Moab)? Would I need to worry about scary turns and cliff-like drop-offs and/or wildlife crossing the roads? If anyone has any information about this, I'd appreciate it. I want to make the best decision regarding when to leave Capitol Reef for the drive to Moab and still maximize my time in Capitol Reef. Thank you in advance for your help.

indiana
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1. Re: driving from Capitol Reef to Moab

I can't think of any scary dropoffs along this route. It will be two lane except for the interstate and the two lane roads do sometimes have cows open grazing. Most of time the speed limit is 60. I think it will take about 2 1/2 hours.

NJ
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2. Re: driving from Capitol Reef to Moab

Thanks hikes - your response solidified that I can stay in Capitol Reef until sunset and then start the drive to Moab. It sounds very doable. :)

NJ
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3. Re: driving from Capitol Reef to Moab

it's okay just remember once dark, it's dark - unless it is a moon filled night. but i have been on those roads getting from one place to another. the roads are fine, there could always be wildlife, IMO the "scariest dropoff" in the area is the access into arches!

Park City, Utah
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4. Re: driving from Capitol Reef to Moab

It's a simple drive as noted by the others. If you get through Green River at a decent time, grab a burger at Ray's Tavern.

And do keep in mind that there's not a lot of civilization along the route. But once you're out of the park area, you'll make really good time. You can easily do 60-70 on 24 up to I70, then 75+ to the Moab exit.

If you're into sunsets, make sure to do the Delicate Arch hike in Arches National Park at sunset.

Have fun.

NJ
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5. Re: driving from Capitol Reef to Moab

Thank you pal and tkellytravel. I will look up Ray's Tavern. I had not mapped out a place to grab some dinner after Capitol Reef so I'll follow up on your recommendation. Thanks for that information as I'd rather eat at a place that comes with a recommendation. It is certainly easier to preplan a stop rather than driving onwards without any idea of where to stop for a decent food especially when the surroundings get isolated at night. Pal - I will be spending three days in Moab (one day for Arches, one day for Canyonlands - Isle in the Sky and the last day - Canyonlands Needles District) and leave from there to drive to Cortez. I will probably be entering Arches in early morning daylight. I'll watch for that entry access road. Thank you for the heads up. :)

Uden, The...
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6. Re: driving from Capitol Reef to Moab

Between Hanksville and Green River is the turn off to Goblin Valley SP. It makes a nice detour but not in the dark of course. Also, in Hanksville is a curious rock shop worth a short visit. On you left hand side, coming from Capitol Reef, just before the intersection with ut95. Personally I would not drive in the dark with the wildlife etc. but as the other posters have mentioned, the drive itself is easy enough.

Have fun

Tet

NJ
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7. Re: driving from Capitol Reef to Moab

I will be hopefully spending the day in Capitol Reef, starting out early. The plan is to start out from Torrey and then drive along UT 24 making the various stops and then travel the loop road along the waterpocker fold - Notom-Bullfrog Road to the Burr Trail Scenic Backway, then connect with UT 12 again and circle back to UT 24 to head out to Moab. I plan to do 2 or 3 of the smaller trails that day. I've looked at the possibility of the Cathedral Valley Loop but I will be in a rental car and I won't have the high clearance that the Cathedral Valley Loop requires (from what I've read). I have no idea how long my plan will take. I hope to still be enjoying the park heading towards sunset. I'd like to get some nice photos of that. I'll research Goblin Valley SP just in case I do finish up in Capitol Reef with enough daylight left to enjoy a stop there. Thank you for mentioning that as a possibility.

As far as driving in the dark, I am not a fan of it. I lived in NYC for most of my life and the night driving is really no big deal because of all the lights. Last year I traveled through Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, northern Utah and Colorado so I know that the night driving out west is much different. I don't particularly like such darkened roads but I'll do it to maximize the time spent in each of the parks. It is worth it for that alone. :)

Uden, The...
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8. Re: driving from Capitol Reef to Moab

Yes, I can understand you are maximizing your stay. It's a wonderful area. Ask about roadconditions for Notom Bullfrog road at the Capitol Reef visitor center. There may be flash floods in august.

Have a great trip!

Tet

NJ
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9. Re: driving from Capitol Reef to Moab

Thanks for the well wishes. I will check-in at the visitor's center. If the conditions are poor, I'll be sticking to paved roads. Hopefully though I'll luck out and have sunny days. :)

nyc
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10. Re: driving from Capitol Reef to Moab

Sounds like a nice day. We enjoyed the notom-bullfrog rd/burr trail a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. BTW the restaurant on the corner of Rte 12 and the Burr Trail is pretty good. If you do happen to make it to Goblin Valley the sunsets there are very nice. Just be warned that it sets a tiny bit earlier due to the ridge that obstructs the western sky. Also, the later afternoon sun would provide great lighting for the trip between CR and Hanksville. And if you haven't gotten enough road descriptions; I wouldn't worry about missing the scenery between Goblin/Hanksville and Moab. That section of rte 24 is arrow straight through some grasslands and the remaining section of 70 and 191 north of Canyonlands isn't all that exciting or curvy either.

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