Capitol Reef National Park was set aside to protect a geologic feature--the Waterpocket Fold--an 87-mile long warp in the Earth's crust. Learn more about Capitol Reef's amazing geology.
Capitol Reef National Park contains nearly a quarter million acres in the slickrock country of Utah. Plant and animal life is diverse because of a variety of habitats such as pinyon-juniper, perennial streams, dry washes and rock cliffs.
Biological soil crusts--lumpy black crusts on the undisturbed ground--are literally holding the place in place! Learn more about soil crusts, and other interesting natural features and ecosystems of Capitol Reef.
Capitol Reef has some of the darkest night skies in the country, and was designated an International Dark Sky Park in 2015. As part of this designation, park staff perform ongoing monitoring of night sky conditions throughout the park.
At Capitol Reef and over a dozen other parks, the Northern Colorado Plateau Inventory and Monitoring Network conducts long-term inventory, monitoring, analysis, and reporting on key park resources to assess the condition of park ecosystems and develop a stronger scientific basis for stewardship and management of natural resources. At Capitol Reef, the network monitors air quality, climate, riparian and upland systems, invasive exotic plants, land surface phenology, landscape dynamics, landbirds, and water quality. The NCPN also maintains the official species lists for the park.
- Area of Park: ~381 square miles (243,921 acres; 98,711 hectares)
- Highest Elevation: 8,960 ft (2731 m) in Upper Deep Creek drainage
- Lowest Elevation: 3,880 ft (1183 m), where Halls Creek drainage exits the park
- Average Warmest Month: July
- Average Coldest Month: January
- Average Wettest Month: August
- Hottest Day Recorded: 104°F (40°C), June 26, 1970 and July 5, 1985
- Coldest Day Recorded: -9°F (-23°C), January 7, 1971
- Driest Year: 1973, 3.72 in (9.45 cm)
- Wettest Year: 1957, 13.78 in (35.0 cm)
- Total Species in Park: 1,252
- Amphibian Species: 5
- Bird Species: 239
- Fish Species: 13
- Mammal Species: 71
- Reptile Species: 16
- Vascular Plant Species: 909
- Threatened, Endangered, or Candidate Species: 9
Utah sensitive species lists are available from the Utah Division of Wildlife and State Natural Heritage Program. Statistics are drawn from IRMA.nps.gov, the NPS's Northern Colorado Plateau Network, and the Western Regional Climate Center.