The Capitol Reef Reader


For 12,000 years, people have left a rich record of their experiences in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park. In The Capitol Reef Reader, award-winning author and photographer Stephen Trimble collects the best of this writing—160 years worth of words that capture the spirit of the park and its surrounding landscape in personal narratives, philosophical riffs, and historic and scientific records.

The volume features nearly fifty writers who have anchored their attention and imagination in Utah’s least-known national park. The bedrock elders of Colorado Plateau literature are here (Clarence Dutton, Wallace Stegner, Edward Abbey), as are generations of writers who love this land (including Ellen Meloy, Craig Childs, Charles Bowden, Renny Russell, Ann Zwinger, Gary Ferguson, and Rose Houk). Their pieces are a pleasure to read and each reveals a facet of Capitol Reef’s story, creating a gem of a volume. Editor Stephen Trimble guides and orients with commentary and context.

A visual survey of the park in almost 100 photographs adds another layer to our understanding of this place. Historic photos, pictures from Trimble’s forty-five years of hiking the park, as well as images from master visual artists who have worked in Capitol Reef are included. No other book captures the essence of Capitol Reef like this one. 

Stephen Trimble began his writing and photography career as a park ranger, including a season at Capitol Reef National Park. His books include Bargaining for Eden, Lasting Light, and The Sagebrush Ocean.

Praise and Reviews:
“When it comes to Capitol Reef, Trimble’s breadth of knowledge is surpassed only by his passion for the place, its people, and its grandeur. I can’t imagine a better guide through the geological beauty of the Waterpocket Fold nor through the stories of those who have known—and have sometimes been defeated by—the power of the place.”
—Jana Richman, author of Finding Stillness in a Noisy World

“The richness and variety of literature on the greater Capitol Reef region is astonishing, brought together here for the first time. Reading this collection animates the natural and cultural history of greater Capitol Reef. The writings left by the people who have lived in and passed through offer a window into the soul of a place.”
—Jedediah Rogers, author of Roads in the Wilderness: Conflict in Canyon Country