The rugged beauty of Badlands National Park in South Dakota is undeniable. From hiking past unique rock formations and fossil beds to watching bison run across the grasslands and the surprise of a swift storm moving in, outdoor adventures abound. Photo by Christina Laws (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Photo by @ryan.greenlees (IG)
The beauty of autumn attracts large numbers of sightseers to the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia. People often ask when “peak” season will occur. In a park that is nearly 470 miles long and varies over 5,000 feet in elevation, there is no simple way to predict fall color. The intensity and timing of changes are determined by complex environmental factors and the genetic makeup of the plants themselves. For those with lucky timing, the view is incredible. Photo by Philip Varney (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Waterfall-draped mountains encircle Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. The winding Hanalei River feeds wetlands that are home to five endangered water birds: the koloa maoli (Hawaiian duck), the ‘alae ke‘oke‘o (Hawaiian coot), the ‘alae‘ula (Hawaiian moorhen), the ae‘o (Hawaiian stilt), and the nēnē (Hawaiian goose). Photo by J. Waipa, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
There’s no denying the unique attraction of Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. Also known as “Bear Lodge” or “Bear’s Tipi,” the dramatic monolith is a sacred site to several Native American Tribes. Familiar to many in movies like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” it’s recognizable to people around the world. But according to photographer Lori Eckhart, “There’s nothing like standing there in front of it. Its size, and the way it stands out and alone from anything else, just demands respect and fills you with awe.” Photo courtesy of Lori Eckhart.
Happy birthday to the Appalachian Trail! Completed on August 14, 1937, the A.T. is a 2,180-mile long footpath that traverses the Appalachian Mountains from Georgia to Maine. Conceived in 1921 and built by private citizens over the next 15 years, the entire Appalachian Trail has been conquered by over 17,500 thru-hikers. Most challengers start off in Georgia in March and April and take 5-6 months to complete the journey. Along the way, hikers push their limits, make friends and enjoy spectacular scenery. It’s a great place to #FindYourWay. Photo from the AT in Shenandoah National Park by Kah-Wai Lin (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Shenandoah National Park in Virginia has over 500 miles of trails, including 101 miles of the famous Appalachian Trail. Some trails lead to a waterfall or viewpoint; others penetrate deep into the forest and wilderness. With such an abundance of trail options and the famous Skyline Drive, it’s easy to find an adventure to fit your interest and ability. Sunrise photo by N. Lewis, National Park Service.
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.