On to Torrey, UT

Torrey, UT

As much as we like Moab (and our huge site at Portal RV), we pulled out on Wednesday and headed west toward Torrey for a visit to Capitol Reef NP.   The first half of the 150 mile drive is unremarkable as we drove north on UT-191 then west on I-70.   After a brief stop in Green River for fuel we continued west to the junction of UT-24.  UT-24 was almost  void of other vehicles as we drove through the flat land with a nice view of the snow-covered Henry Mountains in the distance.

The Henry Mountains in the distance

As we approached the little community of Hanksville the scenery began to get a bit more interesting.

Rte. 24 then winds through the north end of Capitol Reef NP with some spectacular views.

We had a reservation at Thousand Lakes RV Park on the west side of the small community of Torrey.  This is where we stayed during a previous visit this time of year in 2013 and knew the park to be just what we need.

There are great views to the north and south of us at this park.

The view to the north

The view to the south

One of the reasons for our return stop in Torrey was to visit our friends, Annette and Larry.  Annette facilitated many summer technology workshops at Pam’s school and was the person who first introduced us to the concept of living full time in a motorhome.  The two lived in a motorhome for a number of years but have built a home near Torrey and no longer have a motorhome.

On our first day in Torrey we made plans to go to dinner with Annette and Larry late in the afternoon so we chose a short hike that would get us back to the motorhome in time to be ready to meet them.  When we were last here, the trail to Hickam Bridge had been made impassible by a rock fall and was closed to hikers.  Since the trail is only about a mile one way, today was the perfect day to check it out.  The trailhead is right along Rte. 24 just a few miles east of the visitor center.

Hickam Bridge Trailhead

Hiking along the Freemont River

About half way up to the bridge the trail runs next to a couple of small bridges where the water in the wash has eroded a path under the rock.

A tree has to be tough to grow around here

A short distance further up the trail the beautiful Hickam Bridge came into view.

Hickam Bridge (Can you find John just behind the boulders!)

Just before the bridge the trail splits into a loop.  The loop goes right through the bridge then back to the main trail and back down to the trailhead.

About 35 miles south of Torrey is the little community of Boulder (pop. 180).  When we visited this area two years ago, Larry and Annette introduced us to a small restaurant here, Hell’s Backbone Grill.  It would seem that Boulder has one gourmet restaurant per every 180 people, a better ratio than any town in the country!  We were very impressed with our meal during that visit and were pleased when they invited us to join them for dinner there again this time. This time around the food was just as delicious as we remembered.

Annette, Larry, Pam, and John at Hell’s Backbone Grill

The road between Torrey and Boulder (UT-12) goess up to about 9,000 feet on Boulder Mountain.  It has some great views looking east toward Capitol Reef NP and, if you’re lucky, some wildlife.  We had dinner at a relatively early time so that it would still be light on the return trip.  We drove back just at dusk and were rewarded with great views and spotted some deer and elk near the road.

There is much to do and see in the Capitol Reef NP area and we have many adventures planned during our ten day visit.  More on that later . . .

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40 Responses to On to Torrey, UT

  1. Lindsay says:

    Ah, memories … we headed from Kodachrome SP on scenic byway 12 via Devil’s Garden 12 miles down Hole in the Rock Road, before heading to Torrey. It was Oct 2013, mid Govt shutdown, so we were so pleased when Utah decided to open the parks, especially as our next stop was Arches & Canyonlands. I would have been in tears if everything was closed! Didn’t get to see Hickman, still closed and only ate at the grill across from the Best Western where we stayed, so will have to try Hell’s Backbone Grill on a return trip. Enjoy 😀👍👌 #Jealous

  2. pmbweaver says:

    That trail is gorgeous. The Bridge is awese. Looks like you two are enjoying beautiful weather.

    We love RV parks that have full thurs.

    We haven’t been to Capitol Reef. Looking forward to seeing all the beauty of that area. Enjoy.

    • placestheygo says:

      If you come back to southern Utah, you need to visit Capital Reef. It is a much over looked park so it isn’t as crowded, but it is a large park with lots of moderate hking and amazing rock formations. There are also several long back roads that aren’t four wheel drive.

  3. I finally found John behind he boulder. I felt like I was playing Where’s Wally!

  4. Laurel says:

    Love that hike! It’s so much fun tagging along with you — you’re visiting some of our favorite spots. I’m looking forward to your discoveries and adventures — we’re planning to head that way in early October, so we’ll be following in your footsteps. :-))

    • placestheygo says:

      Laurel, we are hitting the few places we didn’t get to during our last visit and keeping the hikes shorter with the threat of afternoon storms. Our posts from May of 2013 show our big adventures around the area with our friends. You’ll have to check and view those posts for some terrific ideas. It is amazing how much there is to do in this park. It is a hidden gem not to be missed.

  5. Fabulous photos! I love how there is red rock on one side and white rock on the other side of John as he ascends the stairs! I can’t wait to see what else you get up to!

  6. Sherry says:

    Great start to your visit to Capitol Reef. Love the Hickman bridge pictures and I did see tiny John or think I did. The distance views shots are terrific. Looking forward to more of your stay here in one of our favorite National Parks.

  7. Ingrid says:

    Stunning country. I’m always amazed to see trees grow in some of the harshest and unusual places.

  8. Jim and Barb says:

    For as much time as Barb and I have spent in Utah there are so many places we have yet to see. Capital Reef looks beautiful. I love the picture of the tree growing out of the rock. Amazing!

    • placestheygo says:

      Utah is one awesome state, isn’t it! This is a park that is often overlooked and therefore, not as crowded which is nice. If you are touring around this area again, make sure you plan a nice long stay to explore all that it offers.

  9. Sheila says:

    It looks like you guys have found a very nice home base while visiting with your friends and the NP. It is gorgeous! Enjoy seeing all your photos, especially you two in some odd places, like down in a hole! Have fun exploring!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Sheila:) It is really neat to visit a place with friends who are locals. Two years ago we had quite the tour of the area and places others wouldn’t see.

  10. A beautiful hike, dinner with friends, deer and elk sighting. What a great day!

  11. Jodee Gravel says:

    The landscape before the red rock looked like dinosaurs sleeping beside the road – such a contrast from the bright color ahead. Love hiking near water and that little river is beautiful. The path under the rock is really fun. Nice to return to find good friends and good food just as you remember them. You(we)’re going to have a great 10 days here!

    • placestheygo says:

      It is always fun seeing various objects in the rock shapes. This park is full of well sculpted rocks with so much of it being sandstone. Sure makes each trip out an adventure. Our weather doesn’t look the best during our visit so we are hoping we’ll be able to get in a few long hikes we missed last time around. But we are glad to have you along for our visit:)

  12. Mary says:

    I do miss that area. I think we will be making a trip down there in about a week however. We love Hells Backbone grill, always so delicious. If you can, drive the burr trail road. Our favorite.

    • placestheygo says:

      I totally understand how one would miss this area with beauty at every turn. Our dinner at Hell’s Backbone Grill did not disappoint:) We did the Burr Trail Road during our last visit. Our friends drove us all over the area on all the back roads for great adventures. We are staying away from long back road drives right now because of shaky weather. But the back roads are so much fun around here.

  13. Gay says:

    Beautiful country for sure…our trip there had to be cancelled this year. Looking forward to your adventures!

    • placestheygo says:

      So sorry you had to cancel your visit to Capital Reef. Luckily, the park isn’t going anywhere and will be around for you another time:) Have a great visit to one of our favorite parks!!! Love Portal:)

  14. Janna says:

    We just missed you by a few days I guess! We moved Saturday to a spot between Monticello and Moab. Had a great ride yesterday seeing Wilson Arch from the back side. Enjoy!

  15. LuAnn says:

    I can see why you love Utah so much. The beauty is staggering!

    • placestheygo says:

      LuAnn, you must make sure you put Capital Reef on your list when you come this way.

      • LuAnn says:

        Believe me, you and I will be having some chats before we head that way. Perhaps you and John would like to accompany us? Can’t have too many red rock hikes, even if you have already done them before, right?

      • placestheygo says:

        That would be wonderful, LuAnn:) But we have reserved the month of April in Portal RV in Moab for next year. When are you planning to visit Utah?

  16. Erin says:

    I really like the look of this trail … it’s the series of naturally created bridges that did it for me.

  17. rommel says:

    It’s always awesome when the drive near destination is travel views in itself. It’s like the excitement gets even more heightened. I would so drive many-a-mile even just for those small bridges.

  18. Nancy says:

    I can’t believe how beautiful Utah is. All your photos are beautiful but the last few with the sun shining down upon the mountains in the background… amazing! I found JOHN, by the way!

  19. Eileen in Phoenix says:

    I was up through there last September, and just happened upon the Hells backbone grill. Oh my goodness what a wonderful late breakfast I had there on the patio with my two doggies!!!! Will definitely return to the Capital Reef area.

    • placestheygo says:

      We’ve only ever eaten dinner there, but I can imagine how creative and delicious breakfast would be. This whole area is a hidden gem. But thanks to Utah’s big campaign to Visit Utah, each area is much more crowded than previous years. Capital Reef has so much to offer. I just love it here:) Thanks for stopping by:)

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