Capitol Reef National Park is mainly in Wayne and Garfield counties, however, a small portion at it's northern border is also found in both Sevier and Emery counties. From there it extends south along the 100-mile long (160 km) Waterpocket Fold, a geological up thrust, to Lake Powell's Bullfrog and Halls Crossing.
The old town of Fruita, on US-24, is located at the confluence of the Fremont River and Sulphur Creek within the park. A small one-room schoolhouse, an old cottonwood tree and hundreds of fruit trees are still found in the town. In 1937 Fruita was absorbed into the newly created Capitol Reef National Monument.
The area known in the 1920s as The Wayne Wonderland, was elevated to national park status in 1971. Massive, rounded rock formations that resemble the domes of federal buildings, inspired the name "Capitol". The word "Reef" was coined by sailors during the Australian gold rush because the Waterpocked cliffs reminded them of reefs found in the seas.