Capitol Reef National Park vs Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

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Capitol Reef National Park vs Wrangell - St Elias National Park & Preserve

Capitol Reef National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve are two vastly different wonders of nature that offer unique and breathtaking experiences. While Capitol Reef is a desert oasis, dotted with towering red rock formations and dotted with orchards, Wrangell – St Elias is a wilderness of glaciers, towering peaks, and untamed wildlife. Imagine hiking through a maze of towering cliffs in Capitol Reef or exploring the largest national park in the country, where grizzly bears roam free and glaciers stretch as far as the eye can see in Wrangell – St Elias. These two parks are like night and day, but both offer unforgettable memories and a chance to escape into the heart of nature. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to embark on an adventure that will leave you in awe and leave you wanting more.

Hiking Trails in Capitol Reef National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Capitol Reef National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve both offer a variety of hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts, but they differ in terms of difficulty and landscape.

At Capitol Reef, some of the easiest hikes include the Capitol Gorge Trail, which is a 2-mile round trip hike through a narrow canyon, and the Rim Overlook Trail, which offers stunning views of the park’s Waterpocket Fold. On the other hand, the hardest hike in the park is the Cassidy Arch Trail, a strenuous 3-mile round trip hike that leads to a stunning arch formation.

Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve is a much larger park, and its hiking trails offer a wider range of difficulty levels. Some of the easiest hikes include the Root Glacier Trail, a 1.5-mile round trip hike on a glacier, and the Nizina River Trail, a 2-mile round trip hike through a scenic river valley. The hardest hike in the park is the Mount Bona Climb, a strenuous 16-mile round trip hike that leads to the summit of one of Alaska’s tallest peaks.

In conclusion, both Capitol Reef National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve offer a range of hiking trails for all levels of hikers, from easy scenic hikes to strenuous mountain climbs.

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Capitol Reef National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Hickman Bridge Trail 1.70 mi 426.40 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Cassidy Arch Trail 2.89 mi 701.92 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Grand Wash Trail via Northeast Trailhead 4.39 mi 400.16 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Chimney Rock Loop Trail 3.29 mi 793.76 ft loop Moderate 4.5/5
Cohab Canyon Trail 2.99 mi 793.76 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Navajo Knobs Trail 8.68 mi 2,135.28 ft out and back Hard 4.5/5
Goosenecks & Sunset Point 2.49 mi 544.48 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Capitol Gorge Trail 4.49 mi 373.92 ft out and back Moderate 4/5
Sulphur Creek Route 11.47 mi 1,403.84 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Rim Overlook Trail 4.09 mi 1,052.88 ft out and back Hard 4.5/5

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
0.00 mi 0.00 ft /5

Wildlife in Capitol Reef National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Capitol Reef National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve are both beautiful natural areas with unique flora and fauna.

At Capitol Reef, visitors may see:
– Desert animals such as bighorn sheep, pronghorns, and coyotes.
– Birds such as ravens, roadrunners, and various species of hawks and falcons.
– Plants like cacti, yucca, and wildflowers in spring.

Wrangell – St Elias, on the other hand, has:
– Larger mammals like moose, caribou, and bears.
– A variety of bird species including bald eagles, gyrfalcons, and ptarmigans.
– A mix of tundra, taiga, and temperate rainforest vegetation.

In summary, Capitol Reef is known for its desert wildlife and vegetation, while Wrangell-St. Elias is known for its diverse wildlife, including larger mammals and a mix of tundra, taiga, and temperate rainforest vegetation.

Below are lists of the most commonly spotted wildlife at Capitol Reef National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve. However, you can see a full list of wildlife at each national park here.

Birds

Capitol Reef National Park Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
Peregrine Falcon Peregrine Falcon
Northern Harrier Northern Harrier
Sharp-Shinned Hawk Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Osprey Osprey
Tree Swallow Tree Swallow
Mallard Mallard
Canada Goose Canada Goose
Lincoln’s Sparrow Lincoln’s Sparrow
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
American Robin American Robin
Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl
Red-Tailed Hawk Red-Tailed Hawk
Northern Flicker Northern Flicker
Merlin Merlin
Barn Swallow Barn Swallow
Savannah Sparrow Savannah Sparrow
Great Blue Heron Great Blue Heron
Hermit Thrush Hermit Thrush
American Kestrel American Kestrel
Bald Eagle Bald Eagle
Song Sparrow Song Sparrow
European Starling European Starling
Northern Pintail Northern Pintail
American Wigeon American Wigeon
Green-Winged Teal Green-Winged Teal

Mammals

Capitol Reef National Park Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
Coyote Coyote
American Beaver American Beaver
Muskrat Muskrat
Big Brown Bat Little Brown Bat
Bobcat Black Bear
Striped Skunk Porcupine
Little Brown Bat Red Fox
Deer Mouse Puma
Raccoon Mink
Black Bear Mule Deer
Porcupine Wolf
Silver-Haired Bat Short-Tailed Weasel
Hoary Bat Snowshoe Hare
Red Fox Land Otter
Long-Tailed Weasel Common Shrew
House Mouse Water Shrew
Mountain Lion Red Squirrel
American Mink Montane Shrew
Mule Deer Long-Tailed Vole
Common Gray Fox Lynx
Long-Legged Myotis Wolverine
Long-Eared Myotis American Marten
American Badger Northern Flying Squirrel
Ermine Grizzly Bear
California Myotis Meadow Vole

Fish

Capitol Reef National Park Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
Rainbow Trout Steelhead
Brown Trout Longnose Sucker
Bluegill Lake Trout
Mottled Sculpin Northern Pike
Speckled Dace Burbot
Black Bullhead Silver Salmon
Cutthroat Trout King Salmon
Slimy Sculpin
Threespine Stickleback
Sockeye Salmon
Pink Salmon
Chum Salmon
Dolly Varden
Cutthroat Trout
Arctic Grayling

Amphibians

Capitol Reef National Park Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
Northern Leopard Frog Wood Frog
Tiger Salamander
Woodhouse’s Toad
Red-Spotted Toad
Canyon Treefrog

Beautiful Landscapes in Capitol Reef National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Capitol Reef National Park is known for its:
– Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile long wrinkle in the earth’s crust.
– The Capitol Dome, a large rock formation resembling a capitol building.
– Grand Wash, a narrow canyon with towering cliffs.

Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve is known for its:
– St. Elias Mountains, the highest coastal mountain range in the world.
– Wrangell Volcanoes, including Mount Wrangell, one of the largest active volcanoes in North America.
– Kennicott Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in North America and a popular spot for backpacking and hiking.

In summary, Capitol Reef is known for its unique rock formations and canyons, while Wrangell-St. Elias is known for its massive mountain ranges, active volcanoes, and glaciers.

Things To-Do and Activities in Capitol Reef National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Capitol Reef National Park:
1. Scenic Driving: The scenic drive through the park offers stunning views of the Waterpocket Fold and the park’s unique rock formations.
2. Hiking: Popular trails include the Capitol Gorge Trail and the Hickman Bridge Trail, both offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
3. Rock Climbing: The park offers opportunities for technical rock climbing and bouldering, with routes ranging from beginner to expert levels.
4. Wildlife Watching: Visitors can observe a variety of wildlife in the park, including desert bighorn sheep, pronghorns, and other desert animals.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve:
1. Scenic Driving: The park offers scenic drives through the Chugach Mountains and the Wrangell Mountains, offering breathtaking views of glaciers, mountains, and wildlife.
2. Hiking: Popular trails include the Root Glacier Trail, the Kennicott River Trail, and the Mount Blackburn Trail, offering opportunities for backpacking, day hiking, and mountaineering.
3. Backpacking: The park offers numerous backpacking opportunities, including multi-day trips through the backcountry, with options for both novice and experienced backpackers.
4. Glacier Trekking: Visitors can explore the park’s glaciers, including the Root Glacier, the Kennicott Glacier, and the Nabesna Glacier, offering opportunities for guided or self-guided trekking and ice climbing.

Best Time to Visit Capitol Reef National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Capitol Reef National Park and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve are both located in the United States, but they have very different climates and weather patterns.

Capitol Reef National Park is located in southern Utah and has a semi-arid climate with hot summers and cold winters. The best time to visit is spring (April to June) or fall (September to November) when temperatures are mild and there is less chance of rain or snow.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve is located in Alaska and has a subarctic climate with cold winters and mild summers. The best time to visit is during the summer months (June to August) when temperatures are warmer and there is more daylight for outdoor activities.

In both parks, weather conditions can change quickly and visitors should be prepared for a range of conditions, including rain, snow, and high winds. It is also important to note that some park roads and trails may be impassable during the winter months.

In summary, the best time to visit Capitol Reef National Park is during the spring or fall, while the best time to visit Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve is during the summer. Visitors should be prepared for a range of weather conditions and be aware of any road closures or trail restrictions.

Family Friendliness of Capitol Reef National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Capitol Reef National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve are both great options for families, but each has its own unique features.

Capitol Reef is more family-friendly, with easy hikes and scenic drives, as well as a visitor center with educational exhibits. This park is also known for its natural bridges, petroglyphs, and fruit orchards, making it a great destination for families with children who are interested in history and nature.

Wrangell – St Elias is a more remote and rugged park, but it offers a unique wilderness experience for families who are up for an adventure. The park features glaciers, mountains, and wildlife, and it’s a great destination for families who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and fishing.

In conclusion, if you’re traveling with children, Capitol Reef National Park is the better option as it offers a more family-friendly and accessible experience. Wrangell – St Elias is better suited for families who are seeking a more rugged and adventurous trip.

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