The name Observation Point mildly describes the epic view from this overlook at Zion National Park in Utah. More than 2,000 feet below, the North Fork of the Virgin River winds through the lush canyon, curving around the dramatic fin of Angels Landing. If the elevation gain of the hike there doesn’t take your breath away, then the view surely will. Photo by Leslie Poole (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Here’s a great view from Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area on the Wyoming-Montana border. From the fabulous Pryor Mountain wild horses to majestic bighorn sheep, hundreds of bird species and a world-class fishery, Bighorn Canyon is an excellent destination for outdoors lovers. The centerpiece of the 68,000 acre recreation area is the canyon itself, boasting steep walls as deep as 2,500 feet in some locations. It’s quite a sight from hiking trails on the canyon rim or from a boat drifting on the river below. Photo by Todd Johnson, National Park Service.
Morning sunbeams shine down on Washerwoman Arch and Monster Tower at Canyonlands National Park in Utah. Two of many wonderful rock formations near the Island in the Sky Mesa, these stone towers are favorites of climbers wanting to test their skills. For visitors who want to keep their feet on the ground, Canyonlands offers hundreds of miles of hiking trails and remote roads for motorbikes and mountain bikes. Make sure to carry plenty of water and stop frequently to enjoy the amazing views. Photo by Dustin Baugh (www.sharethexperience.org).
Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge’s dramatic backdrop of steep cliffs plunging to the ocean is one of the best places in Hawai’i to view wildlife and take in the amazing island scenery. Home to large populations of nesting seabirds, visitors also have a chance to view spinner dolphins, monk seals, lush coastal plants and Hawai‘i’s state bird – the nēnē or endangered Hawaiian goose. Photo courtesy of Andre Raine, Kaua’i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project.
The walk along the Ocean Path at Acadia National Park in Maine is an easy stroll past tide pools, smooth boulders, jagged cliffs and lush forests. The deep smell of salt air accompanies the dramatic ocean views and the cacophony of breaking waves. The first national park east of the Mississippi River, Acadia has been thrilling visitors for generations. Photo by William Mobilian (www.sharetheexperience.org).
On land or lake, there’s so much to see and do at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan. Along its 42 miles of Lake Superior shoreline are over 15 miles of towering sandstone cliffs, 12 miles of beautiful beaches and 5 miles of sand dunes. You can climb to the top of a lighthouse, hike through forests, kayak past waterfalls or just lay on a beach. It’s a perfect summer getaway! Photo by Betty Greene (www.sharetheexperience.org).
No, this isn’t another planet. It’s Skyline Rim, near Factory Butte in eastern Utah. Massive wrinkles in the rugged landscape give this place an otherworldly appearance, especially in the fading light of dusk. Photo courtesy of Brock Slinger.
The Painted Wall of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado is a stunning sight. At this location, the canyon is over 2,200 feet tall, almost twice the height of the Empire State Building. The stripes on the wall are like pages in a book. The rock layers of Black Canyon tell a story of past environments, ancient animals and dynamic processes of change. Photo by
Ryan McGinley (www.sharetheexperience.org).