It’s International Mountain Day! Not only are mountains majestic, they’re also critical to the water cycle, food production and tourism. If you asked someone to draw a mountain, they’d probably sketch something like the rugged beauty of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. With its snow-capped peaks catching the sunrise light above the Snake River, it’s one of the most stunning sights in America. Photo by Adam Jewell (www.sharetheexperience.org).
What do special areas look like? Pure, pristine nature and resplendent in all their historic glory. They’re places like John Day Wild and Scenic River – the longest undammed river in Oregon. The river flows through colorful canyons, broad valleys and breathtaking terrain. The river offers exceptional steelhead and warm-water bass fishing, calm water boating punctuated with a few rapids and a chance to learn about the history of the area. Camping, picnicking, sightseeing, photography, swimming and wildlife viewing are also popular, and in the winter, you can snowmobile and ski in the area. Photo by Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
Come for the sunrise and stay for the wildlife at Big Cypress National Preserve. The park is home to many mammals, birds and reptiles that are exciting to observe in their natural habitat. If you know where to look, it’s easy to spot Florida’s largest reptile: the American alligator. Photo by National Park Service.
You don’t have to get up to enjoy a spectacular sunrise this time of year at Kenai Fjords National Park. Alaska’s short December days mean the sun comes up around 9:45 in the morning and sets before 4:00 in the afternoon. So bundle up and take your time finding the perfect spot to enjoy it among the coastal mountains of this incredible park. Photo by Jim Pfeiffenberger, National Park Service.
Travel back to the wild west at John Jarvie Historic Ranch in Utah. In 1880, John Jarvie built a ranch along the Green River to offer store goods to those that lived or traveled in this wild territory. Jarvie chose this location due to a naturally occurring river crossing which was used by Native Americans, fur trappers, travelers and local residents. Today, you can camp, fish, float and enjoy educational demonstrations at this fascinating site. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
Around every corner is another awe-inspiring view at Yosemite National Park. At sunset, El Capitan can take on a golden glow. Combine this stunning California icon with fall colors along the Merced River, and it creates a breathtakingly beautiful sight that you won’t forget. Photo by Jesse Thorpe (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Check out this beautiful shot of a snow-covered autumn landscape near Fallon, Nevada. This area is a small part of the Newlands Irrigation Project that brought water to the desert. Photographer Dennis Doyle captured this image a few years ago, and of the experience, he says, “I am a native of Nevada. I have lived 60 years in this little piece of heaven we call the Great Basin. I have always loved the beauty of the wide open spaces and our version of ‘Big Sky’ country, but what really fascinates me is the ‘little’ spaces; the small springs and oasis areas that define our nature. The areas that feed and water our wild animals and the areas that provide shade for a nap!” Photo by Dennis Doyle, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
From tidepooling to witnessing Oregon’s tallest lighthouse, there is something for every visitor at Yaquina Head. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area extends out from the Oregon coast, one mile into the Pacific Ocean. Standing 93 feet tall at the westernmost point of the basalt headland, the lighthouse has been a bright beacon of the night, guiding ships and their supplies along the west coast since the light was first lit on August 20, 1873. In the tide pools, visitors can see marine life such as anemones, urchins, mussels, barnacles and seastars. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
Olympic National Park’s 73-mile long wilderness coast is a rare treasure. This Washington park is home to rocky headlands, sandy beaches and tidepools teeming with life. Offshore sea stacks topped by nesting seabirds and wind-sheared trees add to the already picturesque landscape of Ruby Beach. Sunset photo by Brooke McLean (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Every picture of Glacier National Park in Montana evokes a flood of superlatives. The mountains are majestic, the views are epic and the valleys are picturesque. However, no words can ever really convey the feeling of looking out over this incredible landscape as sunlight shimmers off fresh snow and the cool, fresh wind blows by you. Just the thought makes us want to climb into this photo and explore. Photo by Kate McFadzen (www.sharetheexperience.org).