Capitol Reef National Park
In continuing on past Mesa Verde National Park I headed across the Colorado border into southern Utah and then weaved my way up into the literal middle of nowhere. Like no cars, gas stations, or people middle of nowhere. While it was somewhat unnerving not seeing a whole lot of civilization, the rock formations were fantastic- especially out by Lake Mead. The soil was lacking some water though I think.
Eventually, about 5 or so hours later I reached Capitol Reef National Park, a gorgeous little oasis of rock and desert in the middle of Utah. I wasn't quite sure what I would make of the place at first, but I quickly fell in love with this carved up sandstone National Park. Somewhat of a photographer paradise of color and contrast. I can usually judge how much I like a park after the fact by how many photos were shot/gigs taken up on my hard drive. On this trip Capitol Reef took the cake over any other park visited. I had a great time out there and drove through some carved out canyons in my rental SUV and hung out with horses. Excellent hikes and photos to be sure, just be ready for a serious road trip. There is basically no easy way to get there other than fill up the tank and hope you're getting good gas milage.