Capitol Reef National Park

The Golden Throne in Capitol Reef National Park

The Golden Throne in Capitol Reef National Park

One of Utah’s best-kept secrets, this south-central park preserves unique geology (including the 100-mile-long Waterpocket Fold, a “wrinkle” in the earth’s crust), a preserved Mormon frontier settlement, and vast wilderness ideal for multiday backpacking trips.

Waterpocket Fold as seen from Strike Valley Overlook in Capitol Reef National Park

Waterpocket Fold as seen from Strike Valley Overlook in Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef is further defined by a dry and warm climate (be sure to drink plenty of fluids while hiking in the area) and home to miles of slickrock, a geological feature that is a popular mountain biking attraction in places like nearby Moab, Utah. Much of the ground is covered by cyanobacteria, or cryptobiotic soil, a sort of living crust that is integral to the ecosystem...so watch your step!