The Niobrara Valley in Nebraska is home to Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge and 76 miles of the Niobrara National Scenic River. The valley boasts dramatic bluffs, gorgeous waterfalls, world-class fossil resources, rich forests, wide grasslands and incredible wildlife diversity. Over 350 bison live on the refuge, letting visitors enjoy iconic scenes like this sunset. Photo by Kristen Maxfield, National Park Service.
The Potomac River roars over rocks and ice in this winter shot from Great Falls Park in Virginia. A short drive from downtown Washington, D.C., Great Falls and Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park on the opposite bank in Maryland offer terrific outdoor recreation. Locals will tell you, it’s home to some of the best views and hiking in the area. Be sure to obey all signs and stay away from the falls. Photo by National Park Service.
A purple and pink winter sunrise paints the sky at Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. It’s a scene Charles M. Russell would have enjoyed. The refuge was named in recognition of this colorful western artist who often portrayed the refuge’s landscape in his paintings. Along with the stunning scenery and amazing wildlife, the refuge boasts a fantastic history that includes mountain men, Native Americans and dinosaurs. Photo by Mary Jo Hill, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
This time of year, Denali National Park in Alaska gets less than 6 hours of sunlight each day. The sun comes up around 10:30 a.m. and sets at 4:00 p.m. In the dark and cold, you quickly come to appreciate every streak of light across the sky and every moment of warmth on your skin. Still, there is beauty and spring is coming. Photo by Tim Rains, National Park Service.
Fresh snow blankets the floodplain forests at Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa. Established for the protection of migratory birds along the Mississippi River Flyway, the refuge occupies over 8,300 acres across four unique districts. Some of the most recognizable winter residents are wild turkeys, northern cardinals, great horned owls and bald eagles. Watch out for their color and movement in this winter wonderland. Photo by Cathy Nigg, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Peek-a-boo! Can you spot the deer at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico? Best known for its fantastic cave system, the park also boasts above ground wonders like rocky canyons, a cactus-covered desert and wonderful wildlife. Take your time and see it all. Photo by Charlie Reed, National Park Service.
Snow covers the sand at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Indiana. Winter wind kicks up waves from Lake Michigan, rolling chunks of ice and snow onto the beach. Under a colorful sunrise sky with the Chicago skyline visible in the distance, the wonder of this special park is undeniable. Photo by National Park Service.
Want to escape the winter cold? South Florida offers some amazing public lands getaways. Don’t miss sunrise at Big Cypress National Preserve. The orange light shimmers on the wetlands as a terrific variety of wildlife greets the morning. You’ll forget all about the snow at home. Photo by National Park Service.
Mount Rainier National Park in Washington offers amazing rewards for visitors willing to brave the cold. Epic views of mountains and valleys glimmer in snow white and subtle blue combine with the crunch of ice under your boots and the welcome warmth of daylight. The park is open, but vehicle access is limited, so bring your snowshoes and skis. Photo by Jared Pratt (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The natural amphitheater of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah provides the perfect venue for enjoying fascinating landscapes and stunning skies. In winter, snow decorates the bright cliffs and hoodoos. Make sure to take a walk along the Rim Trail for all the best views. Photo by Jim Su (www.sharetheexperience.org).