Sandstone butte in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
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Sandstone butte-iful. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Behold the rugged grandeur of Utah's red rock country. This hidden gem of the American Southwest is Capitol Reef National Park, a tapestry of towering cliffs, twisting canyons, colorful sandstone buttes, and sweeping desert landscapes. Less popular than Zion and Bryce Canyon, the park offers a pleasantly uncrowded experience for visitors keen to enjoy this spectacular landscape. It is also home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including the elusive desert bighorn sheep and more than 230 bird species. But its crown jewel is the nearly 100-mile long Waterpocket Fold, a 7,000-foot-high step in the rock layers, officially known as a monocline. This massive wrinkle on the surface of the planet was formed around 50 to 70 million years ago.