Golden Throne Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

July 8, 2022 at 7:51 PM

In Capitol Reef National Park, Karen and I got up at 6:00 to hike the Golden Throne hike at the end of the Scenic Drive, then down a gravel road to a parking lot in Capitol Gorge. I had some big concerns, too many to list, but I knew we had to hike up a very large mountain. How vertical would it be? 

I was glad to see it wound its way around the cliff, deep into a canyon, across the other side, winding again. It could not have been made any easier, and it was very pretty. I stopped to catch my breath several times, as Karen let me set the pace until I took a wrong turn. Then she took the lead.

Looking back down at the Canyon parking lot

We arrived at a plateau looking up at the Golden Throne, which I suppose is golden in the right light. It took us about 45 minutes to get there, and it would be an easy down hill going back. We walked around to see if we could get a better view of the canyon, the only way through this massive 100-mile wall that is compared to an ocean reef. People have been coming through this canyon for thousands of years. Ancient petroglyphs decorate the walls, as well as Europeans who came through in the late 1800’s.

I tried not to take this personally

It was a beautiful morning with great views and an easy walk down. Driving back to our campsite, I let Karen out to run the last three miles. She is training for a 50-mile race.

It was moving day, so we began the process of packing up. Everyone pitched in, and we were beginning to get into a process that made it a lot easier. Melissa was in charge of closing and locking all the windows while Josh put up the stabilizers. Martha got the inside organized and ready while Karen and I hitched up.

We drove north to Torrey and turned southwest on Utah Rt. 12 where a sign declared it an America’s Highway. Martha looked up what that meant. There are Scenic Highways, but an America’s Highway is a step above. It deserves its designation. The changes in scenery were dramatic. First it was green on this side of the mountain and through a valley. Then we began a long climb up another series of mountains that were green, with pine trees covering everything.

Climbing to 9800’, we pulled over to a beautiful overlook. You could take all day stopping at overlooks on this drive to Bryce Canyon. Down the other side, now winding its way through solid, almost white rocks. Then back up on top of a ridge with incredible views on both sides. An Airstream was perched on top on one overlook where they had probably stopped for lunch. One stretch was along the top of a ridge barely wider than the road. I know the views were spectacular, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the road.

Back down the other side, we stopped at Escalante Mercantile for some lunch. A lady was training a young lady the ropes on her first day on the job. It is a very nice store/restaurant/bakery. It took us a while to figure out how to order, what to order and to get it ordered as locals and travelers stopped for lunch or a snack. It proved to be a great, little stop. 

Then it was only 35 minutes to our campground at Bryce Canyon RV Resort. It was a KOA, but it now has new owners. It took a while to park in our tiny spot. A nice man across from us was nice in moving his truck so we could wiggle in. We started to level as we looked at some bigger and nicer spots on the other side. 

Martha and I went back in and asked if we could move. The very nice ……, gave us some choices, explaining how they had recently bought the campground. I’m sure I had picked a spot away from the highway, but the sites were bigger and had some shade. It was a good move.

Josh was happy to see a basketball net with a paved playing area, so we went over and played Horse. Of course I won every game……NOT! …….came over to take some promotional pictures of the court being used. At 12 years old, Josh’s basketball skills have improved dramatically.

Tomorrow there is a half marathon and a 5K race. Karen signed up in a park in the cute, little town of Tropic. There was a fund-raising spaghetti dinner this evening, so we decided to come back for that.

Half marathon sign-up

Then we drove up to Bryce Canyon National Park to get the big picture. It was busy and crowded, but it was OK. We went to spectacular sunset point. I would have to stay up for another sunset. Then we drove the 15-mile scenic drive atop a grand mesa. Surely we would see lots of wildlife in the early morning or late evening. More pretty views in the land of Hoodoos. Like Goblin Valley, you could go down and walk among the giant Hoodoo maze. 

We drove back to Tropic where the crowds gathered for the marathon spaghetti dinner, which was better than I expected, and very efficiently served. We talked with a man next to us about the race tomorrow and about the hike to Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. He said it is a typical government-run drawing for tickets. Everyone lines up at 8:00 or 11:00 for tickets, then they all go for the hike together. Too many people for his liking, but they did it. I think Karen will be the only one to do this.

Josh lost his Apple Airbuds somewhere on the Scenic Drive in Bryson Canyon. All that getting in and out of the truck at different stops. Surely they will be gone tomorrow, but we will go look and check Lost-and-Found.

  2 comments for “Golden Throne Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

  1. Pam
    July 21, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    Greg, you would have hated Angels Landing. Chip hiked it years ago and just him describing it made me scared of the heights and the narrow path. No thank you!!

  2. July 22, 2022 at 7:05 am

    Ha, ha! I know it Pam! I’m pretty happy we didn’t get tickets, but I’m sorry Karen didn’t get to go.

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