Nature & Science

Night sky from the Burr Trail
Night sky from the Burr Trail

NPS photo


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 recently was designated an International Dark Sky Park. As part of this designation, park staff perform ongoing monitoring of night sky conditions throughout the park.

At Capitol Reef National Park and 15 other parks, the Northern Colorado Plateau 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.

Explore Biodiversity

Have 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. Learn more about how you can help document the various life forms in our national parks. Explore Biodiversity.
Check out Capitol Reef’s iNaturalist project.

Last updated: May 14, 2019

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HC 70, Box 15
Torrey, UT 84775



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