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 mighty Mississippi River flows past Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin early in its 2,300 mile voyage to the Gulf of Mexico. In the fall, migrating birds and monarch butterflies likewise travel south, looking for food and warmer temperatures. Other wildlife remain, keeping the refuge active through winter. As the leaves fall, it’s easier to spot eagles in trees, rabbits bounding through fields, foxes chasing mice and river otters playing on the banks of the river. Photo by Michael Boerger (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Is it just us or does it look like these sunrise clouds are getting ready to fight? The forces of nature are powerful indeed, and the rugged landscape of City of Rocks National Reserve in Idaho is testament to more than two billion years of geologic upheaval. Faults stretch, mountains rise, ranges extend and wind and rain scour and smooth everything. The park’s unusual rock formations tell these ancient stories, leaving room for future tales under the ever-changing sky. Photo by National Park Service.
It’s National Lighthouse Day! Standing 93 feet tall at the westernmost point of the basalt headland, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse has been a bright beacon of the night, guiding ships and their supplies along the west coast since 1873. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area features exhibits on seabirds and marine life as well as human history from the headland. Visitors can see the wheelhouse of a historic ship, check out a recreated rocky island and its inhabitants, and explore fascinating tidepools along the Pacific Ocean. Photo by Jon Fischer (www.sharetheexperience.org).
One of the most iconic views at Zion National Park in Utah is the Watchman glowing in sunset light as it rises beyond the Virgin River. With trails, overlooks and bridges easily accessible from the Visitor Center, this gorgeous scene is very popular with everyone from professional photographers to anyone with a smartphone. If the sunset is particularly colorful, stunned crowds will form, offering you a chance to connect with nature and your fellow visitors. Photo by Jeremiah Pierucci (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Get away from the crowd and venture into the amazing solitude of Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. Marked hiking routes lead into narrow, twisting gorges, slot canyons and to spectacular viewpoints high atop the Waterpocket Fold. Water, wind and gravity have shaped Cathedral Valley’s free-standing monoliths, or temples, out of the soft reddish-orange sandstone, leaving visitors feeling like they’ve stumbled onto an alien planet. Enjoy the beauty, but remember to take plenty of water and Leave No Trace. Photo by Dan Mitler (www.sharetheexperience.org).
A kaleidoscopic sunset splashes across the sky and over the sagebrush sea at Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado. At 8,100 to 8,700 feet above sea level, it’s the highest refuge in the lower 48 states. The refuge supports diverse wildlife habitats, including sagebrush steppe uplands, grassland meadows, willow riparian areas, and wetlands. Visitors can experience hiking, wildlife observation and photography, an auto-tour, and hunting and fishing opportunities. Over 200 bird species have been documented on the refuge, in addition to elk, moose, pronghorn, and porcupines. Photo by Tom Koerner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Dawn breaks and you can almost smell the fresh mountain air by Sprague Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. One of the shortest and most enjoyable day-hikes the park offers, a stroll around Sprague Lake is sure to reinvigorate and lift the spirit. Photo by Nathaniel Gonzales (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Take a moment to relax and enjoy this gorgeous tie-dye sunrise at Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge. This delightful refuge is a place to experience warm air, gentle waves, soft bird calls and miniature deer slowly prancing by you. The refuge was established to protect Key deer and other wildlife in the Florida Keys and includes pine rockland forests, tropical hardwood hammocks, freshwater wetlands, salt marsh wetlands, mangrove forests and absolutely stunning views. Photo courtesy of refuge volunteer Mickey Foster.
Fought over the first three days of July 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. On those hills and fields, over 160,000 soldiers struggled to survive. More than 50,000 were killed, wounded or missing. Preserved as Gettysburg National Military Park, visitors can hear their stories and walk in their footsteps. Sunset photo by Doug Shearer (www.sharetheexperience.org).