Hey, Texas! Get out to Guadalupe Mountains National Park before you miss the fall colors. McKittrick Canyon is one of the best places in the state to enjoy autumn’s brilliance as the leaves shift from green to spectacular shades of yellow and orange. Under a gorgeous blue sky, breathing in the fresh air, you’ll never want your walk in the woods to end. Photo by M. Haynie, National Park Service.
Golden morning light shimmers on the ocean and glints against the black rock cliffs at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This unique park reveals at least 70 million years of volcanism, migration and evolution that thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with complex ecosystems and a distinct human culture. Visitors might not realize it, but they’re standing near the top of the most massive mountain on Earth, rising 56,000 feet from the sea floor. Mother Nature really knows how to build. Photo by Janice Wei, National Park Service.
Though they are made of ancient rock, the Tetons are one of the youngest mountain ranges in North America. They have been uplifting for less than 10 million years, making them “adolescent” mountains, as compared to the “middle-aged” Rockies (60-80 million years old) or the “elderly” Appalachians (more than 300 million years old). Erosion has had much less time to work in the Teton range, comparatively, so their peaks remain rough and rugged – a major factor in the iconic appeal of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Photo @GrandTetonNPS by John Tobiason, National Park Service.
You’ll need to make more than one visit if you really want to enjoy fall colors at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. Different trees peak at different times, so each journey into this gorgeous forest offers a unique experience. Throughout October and November, maples, oaks, gums and dogwoods put on a splendid show you don’t want to miss. Photo at Blue Hen Falls by Craig Walton (www.sharetheexperience.org).
A red rock wonderland sculpted by wind, water & time, Arches National Park in Utah will blow your mind. In 1929, President Herbert Hoover established Arches National Monument to protect the arches, spires, balanced rocks and other sandstone formations on this amazing landscape. On November 12, 1971, Congress changed the status of Arches to a National Park. That’s today! But no matter the name, the season or reason, we love celebrating this incredible place. Photo by Zack Nicol (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Some of the best times to see the Northern Lights are typically in the early fall and late winter, and some of the best places to experience this incredible lights how are on the nearly 72 million acres of Alaska’s public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The amazing natural spectacle is created when particles ejected by sun flares collide with Earth’s magnetic field. You don’t need to know the #science to appreciate the beauty, though. Photo by Jeremy Matlock, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
Walking down the winding staircase from the Cape Blanco Lighthouse to the sandy beach below, you can stroll across the sandy beach as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean. Waves and wind pound the surrounding bluffs at this western-most point of land in Oregon. Daytime views provide an unparalleled opportunity to watch California gray whales and other marine mammals swimming just offshore and the lighthouse itself is a fascinating glimpse into our history. Just another wonderful day on public lands. Photo by Lisa McNee, Bureau of Land Management.
The American bison is our national mammal and a symbol of the Department of the Interior. Rugged and resilient, bison are surprisingly agile, able to jump fences and run up to 35 miles an hour. Recovering from near extinction, 17 bison herds can be found on public lands across the West. They are a wonder to see in the wild and we’re proud to feature them on National Bison Day. Photo of bison at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming courtesy of Travis O’Brien.
In the blink of an eye, fall gives way to winter weather at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Before the leaves even have a chance to drop, snow swoops in to dust this gorgeous landscape in a dramatic white blanket. Don’t worry, though. The end of fall doesn’t mean the end of fun. Visitors can enjoy snowshoeing, skiing and sledding in the park. Just plan ahead and be sure to layer up with insulating, waterproof clothing, wear sunglasses, use sunscreen and carry water. Photo of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain by Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service.
October is a busy time at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Campgrounds fill up and Skyline Drive sees an increase in traffic. Everyone wants to marvel at the fall beauty of the mountains and forests. The park is over 100 miles long and spans a wide elevation range. Fall color conditions can vary dramatically from area to area. Weather affects the color from day to day and even hour to hour. If this feels frantic to you, don’t worry. Shenandoah has many trails and overlooks where you can settle down and find a peaceful moment, looking up at the streaming sunlight and the fluttering autumn leaves. Photo by N. Lewis, National Park Service.