Hiking Project Logo

gem icon Capitol Dome [Suggest Edits]

12 votes
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Description

The park's namesake formation is clearly visible along the main stretch of UT-24 east of the visitor center with its signature rounded flanks and pointed top. Early settlers remarked on how the white domes of Navajo Sandstone looked like the dome of the Capitol building in Washington, DC. This comparison ended up attributing to the first half of the park's name.

Interestingly enough, the Capitol building's dome isn't constructed of rock at all, rather cast iron that was painted to resemble rock. The Navajo Sandstone also lends a lighter color to the dome in contrast with the redder, older Wingate sandstone below it, which only further supports the comparison to the top of the Capitol building.

Navajo Sandstone is part of the Glen Canyon Group which includes the Wingate Sandstone and the Kayenta Formation separating the two. While the Kayenta Formation was deposited in a dry environment with streams and rivers, the Wingate and Navajo Sandstones are both eolian deposits, meaning they were formed by vast, windswept dunes.

Typically, the Wingate Sandstone is subject to more iron oxide staining, giving it the characteristic red coloration. It is also eroded into more vertical, angled cliffs likely due to its grain size, while the Navajo Sandstone is eroded into rounded domes.

The other half of Capitol Reef's name came from early prospectors who had traveled from the coasts and had nautical backgrounds. Upon seeing the 100-mile long, Waterpocket Fold, ridge, they began referring to the natural obstacle as a reef. In their minds, this formation presented the same block to transportation and trade that an ocean reef does.

On the Road: Views of Capitol Dome are in sight along the main stretch of UT-24 just east of the visitor center.

Family Friendly: Visible from the road, this rock formation is one of the most recognizable and interesting formations in the park with the additional honor of being its namesake.

Gem Type: Rock Formation

Shared by:
Zander Göpfert

You & This Gem

Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jul 4, 2021
Elisa Schmitz
May 19, 2021
Tom Beers
Apr 21, 2021
Matt Culpepper
Great views of the heart of Capitol Reef
Jan 1, 2021
David Merrill
Oct 6, 2020
Bruce Conway
No. Not worthy.
Aug 3, 2020
otherone
Jul 1, 2020
michael kelso
Nov 4, 2019
Jim Klasinski

Nearby Gems

gem Favorite Hickman Land bridge as seen near the bifurcation in the trail.

Hickman Natural Bridge

(27) Loa, UT
gem Favorite Reaching the top and a full view of Cassidy Arch.

Cassidy Arch

(16) Loa, UT
gem Favorite Frolicking through Fruita's famous orchards beside the Fremont River Trail.

Fruita Orchards

(18) Loa, UT
gem Favorite Panorama Point, Capital Reef.

Mummy Cliff from Panorama Point

(7) Loa, UT
gem Favorite Walk along the gorge to truly experience the towering sandstone walls.

Pioneer Register

(7) Loa, UT

Nearby Trails

3.2 mi 5.1 km Cassidy Arch
Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT
Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT
All Clear
Update
Dry
36 days ago
42 
1.0 mi 1.6 km Hickman Bridge
Intermediate
Loa, UT
Intermediate
Loa, UT
All Clear
Update
Dry
36 days ago
36 
9.2 mi 14.9 km Navajo Knobs Out and Back
Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT
Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT
All Clear
Update
Dry
84 days ago
16 
1.9 mi 3.1 km Rim Overlook Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT
Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT
All Clear
Update
Dry
84 days ago
5.8 mi 9.3 km Sulphur Creek
Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT
Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT
All Clear
Update
Chest deep water. Very nice on a hot day
44 days ago
13 
1.4 mi 2.2 km Cassidy Arch Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT
Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT
All Clear
Update
Dry
36 days ago
10 
2.8 mi 4.5 km Frying Pan Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT
Intermediate/Difficult
Loa, UT
Unknown
Update
12 
2.4 mi 3.8 km Grand Wash Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Loa, UT
Easy/Intermediate
Loa, UT
All Clear
Update
Dry
36 days ago
22 
3.1 mi 4.9 km Chimney Rock Trail
Intermediate
Loa, UT
Intermediate
Loa, UT
All Clear
Update
Dry
86 days ago
15 
6.6 mi 10.7 km Burro Wash
Difficult
Loa, UT
Difficult
Loa, UT
Unknown
Update
10 
Shared by Zander Göpfert on Sep 8, 2016. All Page Views: 1,273. Last Month: 11.