Capitol Reef National Park encompasses the Waterpocket Fold: a 100
mile long monocline where layers on the West were uplifted 7000
feet above layers on the East, forming a long cliff. Early settlers with
marine experience, considering the cliffs as an obstacle to travel, called
it a reef, named after the Capitol Dome,
one of the white domes of Navajo Sandstone visible at a distance in the East.
This panorama is from the Rim Overlook, reached after hiking 2.25
miles along the tilt of the monocline - which
means an elevation gain of more than 1000 ft
above the valley floor.
Directly below is the Fruita area, an oasis in the desert made
possible by the flowing Fremont River.
The area was inhabited by the Fremont
Indians between 600-1300 AD. In 1880,
the first Mormon settlers arrived, thereafter
naming the community Fruita after their
cherry, apricots, peaches, pears, and apple orchards which
became famous in Southern Utah.
In summer, visitors are welcome to pick and eat fruit for
free, although fruit taken from the orchards must be paid for.