Capitol Reef National Park protects many natural wonders, including geologic formations, unusual plants and animals, and amazing dark night skies.
Water in the Desert
Water shapes the landscape, gives life to plants and animals, and determines where people live and prosper.
International Dark Sky Park
Discover Capitol Reef's dark night skies.
Learn about the geologic processes that created the Waterpocket Fold.
Learn about the fossil record in Capitol Reef.
Discover how these volcanic rocks fit into the Capitol Reef geologic story.
Biological Soil Crust
Protect fragile biological soil crusts and "don't bust the crust!"
Discover some of the wild animals that live in Capitol Reef.
Research in Capitol Reef
Scientists monitor many aspects of Capitol Reef, including air and water quality, invasive species, and landscape dynamics.
Learn about some of Capitol Reef's plant species.
Capitol Reef National Park contains nearly a quarter million acres in Utah's slickrock country. The park protects a huge geologic feature, the Waterpocket Fold, a nearly 100-mile long warp in the Earth's crust. A diverse landscape with 19 different rock layers and elevations ranging from 3,880 ft (1183 m) to 8,960 ft (2731 m), supports a diverse array of plant and animal life, big and small. Biological soil crust is on the smaller side, containing a tiny ecosystem of cyanobacteria, fungi, lichen, moss and algae. These lumpy black crusts growing on undisturbed ground protect sandy desert soils from erosion. When visiting the park, stay on trail so as not to "bust the crust."
Explore BiodiversityHave you ever taken a picture of a flower, or lizard, or an unusual lichen? You can keep track of the biodiversity you see when you are in a national park, or wherever you go, with iNaturalist. Check out Capitol Reef’s iNaturalist project. Learn more about how you can help document the various life forms in our national parks. Explore Biodiversity in national park sites.
Last updated: January 23, 2021