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Waterpocket Fold, looking north from Strike Valley Overlook, dusk.

Little-known Capitol Reef National Park offers a variety of rock formations that rival any other national park of the Colorado Plateau. Sheer monoliths, domes, canyons, and arches highlight the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile-long wrinkle on the earth’s crust.

Most visitors stay on UT 24 and the scenic drive, both of which cover only a tiny portion of the park. Venture on the extensive network of dirt roads south or north of UT 24, and you’ll make fantastic discoveries, as both of the southern and northern sections of the park would have been deserving of national park status by themselves. You will see only a few souls during a whole day if you come off-season, and the opportunity for solitude and the variety of landscapes make Capitol Reef one of my favorite national parks.

Thanks to the Fremont River, the park has more vegetation than ot...

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QT Luong is a full-time photographer from California, known for being the first to photograph all 59 US National Parks - in large format. Ken Burns featured him in "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" (2009). His photographs, published in dozens of countries around the world, have been the subject several magazine profiles, solo gallery and museum exhibits. He the author and photographer of "Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey through America's National Parks" (, a large format book where photographs of the 59 US National Parks are augmented with detailed photography locations notes from which this series of articles is drawn.
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