Capitol Reef: Temple of the Moon

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Cathedral Valleyβ–Ί

With a sturdy vehicle, you can visit The Temple of the Moon in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park. The temple is one of the many amazing sights in the Cathedral Valley District. We were uncertain of our rental car’s ability to travel the 60-mile dirt road safely. So we arranged a sunrise tour with Jen Howe from Red Rock Adventure Guides. Capitol Reef’s first superintendent named the valley for its many ornate monoliths in 1945.

Driving the entire Cathedral Valley Loop would have taken us all day. Doing the whole drive means fording a river and traveling many miles between points on washboard roads. And we only had one full day to explore Capitol Reef. So we decided to go directly to the Temple of the Sun. Jen picked us up at our hotel way before dawn and drove us through the dark for about 90 minutes.

Temple of the Moonβ–Ί

We arrived at the temples as the sky was just beginning to lighten, but the moon was still up. The temples are monolithic stone formations which seem to ‘worship’ the sun and the moon.

The Temple of the Moon is made of pink Entrada Sandstone and was formed 160 million years ago. It is over 400 feet tall and stands a little less than a half mile south of the Temple of the Sun. After we took our sunrise photos by the Temple of the Sun, we drove the short distance to its sister formation. I was able to catch the setting moon in the elbow of the Temple of the Moon.

Capitol Reef Postsβ–Ί

Location: Wayne, Utah
Designation: National Park
Date Designated/Established: 12/18/1971
Date of my visit: 4/13/2017

25 thoughts on “Capitol Reef: Temple of the Moon

  1. Nice photos. I plan to take in some of the national parks in Utah this fall. I like your idea of a guided tour to these remote sites.

    1. Thanks! The section of Capitol Reef near the visitor center is easily seen on your own. And plenty of people tour Cathedral Valley on their own too…I just wouldn’t feel safe. There is no cell phone reception out there, so no way to get help if you’re in trouble. Our guide’s car was equipped with a satellite phone for emergencies

  2. Anonymous

    Capital Reef is one of those great secondary national parks we love to visit. Beautiful images as usual . Thanks for sharing.

  3. Beautiful, Theresa. Capitol Reef is a true gem.
    I’ll be taking a break from blogging this summer after 11 years and 1100 blogs, but I’ll be checking in on occasion. And I may even post on a couple of National Parks.:) –Curt

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