I absolutely love it when I stumble upon the unexpected when viewing a national park. One of the hidden treasures at Capitol Reef National Park is the Goosenecks overlook. It really is a different view than most of Capitol Reef, and it’s a bit off the beaten path so that many people may miss this beautiful natural wonder (it’s at the end of a 1 mile dirt road that begins at Panorama Point). For those that travel through Capitol Reef, don’t let the dirt road discourage you from making the drive. As a reward, you will be greeted with views like this:
The information sign at Goosenecks gives the following description:
When Sulphur Creek was young, this scene was a low plain.
The stream looped leisurely across gently sloping land, overflowing and changing direction with each flood. Imperceptibly, the Waterpocket Fold began its slow, upward warp.
Trapped in its channel, unable to detour, the water ran steeper, and sliced a deepening trench through layers od soft rock. Where loops almost meet, “Goosenecks” form — the stream’s last course, incised in stone. Now the creek flows 800 feet below the rim.
When you enter Capitol Reef National Park from the east on highway 24, one of the first landmarks you come across is Behunin Cabin. Although the structure may not look all that impressive in its grandeur, I found it extremely impressive for where it was and how well it was built.
The information sign by the cabin give a peek into how life was in the area when the Capitol Reef area was first settled:
In 1882 Elija Cutler Behunin and his family built this cabin, and stayed a brief time until the rising river washed out their crops. Behunin was one of the first settlers in this area.
A family of ten lived here. Braided rugs covered the dirt floor. Ends of dress materials became curtains. There was a fireplace to cook in, and a water supply near the door. The family probably ate outside.
Father, mother, and the two smallest children slept in the cabin. The post bed almost filled one side of the room. By widening a dugout in the cliff, the older boys had a place to sleep. The girls made a den in an old wagon box.
It’s well worth the 10 minutes it takes to stop and look around (and you will instantly have a new appreciation for all the modern conveniences we have today)