travel Wellness

US Road Trip: Capitol Reef National Park + Driving Through Nevada

January 15, 2017

PART FOUR!!! It’s crazy to think that this trip was almost 2 months ago, but I also have like 4 years worth of footage so I’m impressed I’ve managed to put it all together this far. In case you’ve missed the last three posts/videos, here’s where we’ve gotten so far on our trip:

Minneapolis –> Badlands National Park

South Dakota –> Through Colorado

Moab, Utah + Arches National Park


We left off in the middle of nowhere Utah on our way from Arches to Capitol Reef National Park. Our plan was to spend the night in Boulder, Utah with some friends before a 10 hour drive to the California border. As I’m going through the footage of this stretch of the trip (all within a 24 hour period) I’m literally mind-blown at how much ground and scenery we covered. We also encountered every possible weather forecast and somehow made it through.

A visit to Capitol Reef National Park - The Healthy Maven

C and I had a dream of visiting as many national parks along the road trip as possible. We made it to Badlands, got road blocked from Rocky Mountain, adventured through Arches, skipped Canyonlands and opted for Capitol Reef instead (logistically it made more sense). I’m sure Canyonlands would have been beautiful, but I’m so happy we did Capitol Reef.

A visit to Capitol Reef National Park - The Healthy MavenIt was the strangest landscape in contrast to the red rocks we had become used to in Moab and Arches. The park was virtually empty (another theme of the trip) and we loved exploring it on our own. We skipped the Hickman Natural Bridge walk due to time, but made it to Grand Wash in time for golden hour. I truly am unsure if I’ve seen a more beautiful place (besides Banff!) so if you’re considering a visit to Capitol Reef, GO.

From there we took the scenic highway 12 to Boulder, Utah to stay with our friends. They manage the farm of an incredible farm-to-table restaurant in Boulder, Utah. I didn’t snap any pictures since it was super dark in the restaurant, but the owner graciously gifted me their cookbook and I’ve already made a few recipes. If you’re around highway 12 (or on your way from Capitol Reef to Bryce Canyon), stop at Hell’s Backbone.

Boulder, Utah

We woke up the next morning ready to hit the road for our 10-hour drive and of course there were snow warnings. After navigating some tricky conditions in Wyoming and Colorado, we felt good about our beast of a rental making it through the snow, but we were in for a wild ride.

Our plan had been to drive from Boulder to Bryce Canyon and spend an hour or two in Bryce before continuing West towards the Nevada border. Of course, Bryce was completely snowed in and we made it about 10 feet into the park before realizing there was no way we were going to see anything.

A snow storm in Utah - The Healthy MavenFrom there, we braved the storm for a few more hours before finally reaching the Nevada border. The snow actually stopped the second we crossed the border, and the following 5 hours we spent in Nevada ended up being some of the strangest, exhilarating, boring and beautiful stretches of the trip.

Just to note, we opted to skip Zion National Park for 2 reasons. 1. We know we want to spend more than a few hours there and 2. If we went that route, we’d end up taking the super-boring trip through central California, rather than through the Sierra Nevadas, so we skipped Zion. We’ll be back for you!

Road Trip to Capitol Reef National ParkNevada, as I mentioned, was a wild ride! There were long stretches of pure nothingness and then a crazy alien-focused town would appear like a mirage. In fact, the whole drive felt like a mirage. Then you’d see a huge black ominous cloud and a double rainbow popping out in the distance. We were also the only people on the road.

Road Trip to Capitol Reef National Park

We finally crossed the border into California after exhausting every single California-themed song we knew and could no longer contain our laughter from pure cabin fever. I had the giggles for two hours straight. It was a relief to finally arrive in our final destination of Bishop, California at the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.

Time for the home-stretch across Northern California!

Have you ever been to Southern, Utah? If you could get in a car and road trip right now, where would you go?


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  • Reply
    Kelly - A SIde of Sweet
    September 16, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    This post is so helpful! Thanks for leaving a recommendation on my Instagram account!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      September 19, 2017 at 9:46 am

      So happy to hear that! Sorry if the formatting was off! Just redid the site so it’s been a bit wonky but the info is all there. Hope you enjoyed your trip! Love your blog btw 🙂

  • Reply
    January 16, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Love your videos! Thanks for posting. Especially in a time like now, people need to be reminded of the value of their federal (public!) lands!! So beautiful!!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 16, 2017 at 11:06 pm

      exactly!!! We are so fortunate to have preserved and now have access to them. Truly grateful for this experience!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Awesome post. My husband and I have the new tall a couple times. We are totally hooked on going there. We love flying in running a car, and just driving everywhere. Our last trip we did Zion national Park, capital reef, and Bryce Canyon. We also stopped in Boulder and had dinner at Hells backbone grill too. Such a great place.
    P.s. I think you may mean Route 12? Such an awesome word to drive. Scary as hell, but lots of fun.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 16, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      yes I did! Thank you for catching that. So happy to hear you’ve been to Hell’s Backbone too!

      • Reply
        January 17, 2017 at 11:01 am

        It’s such an awesome road to drive isn’t it! It scares me to death but it’s such an awesome ride. The Hogsback part (I think that’s what they call it) where it’s the S turns with shear drop offs is crazy. Did you all drive that in the snow?
        We hit fog after dinner on our way to Capital Reef and almost hit a cow in the road!!! So much fun.
        Hells Backbone Grill was amazing. The fresh organic food was awesome!

        • Reply
          Davida @ The Healthy Maven
          January 17, 2017 at 11:49 am

          CRAZY!!! and YUP drove it in the snow. Was so scary but also so beautiful! Our friends run the farm to Hells Backbone. So happy you guys enjoyed it!

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