Meep meep! Just like in the cartoons, roadrunners love to run and can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. They can fly for short distances but prefer to remain on the ground where they hunt for prey. Cute in a goofy kind of way, roadrunners are very fierce predators. They will eat pretty much anything they can catch, including mice, lizards, scorpions, rattlesnakes and other birds. This one at Big Bend National Park in Texas grabbed this snake snack to present to a potential mate. How romantic! Photo by Lee Jaszlics (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The American bison is our national mammal and a symbol of the Department of the Interior. Rugged and resilient, bison are surprisingly agile, able to jump fences and run up to 35 miles an hour. Recovering from near extinction, 17 bison herds can be found on public lands across the West. They are a wonder to see in the wild and we’re proud to feature them on National Bison Day. Photo of bison at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming courtesy of Travis O’Brien.
In the blink of an eye, fall gives way to winter weather at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Before the leaves even have a chance to drop, snow swoops in to dust this gorgeous landscape in a dramatic white blanket. Don’t worry, though. The end of fall doesn’t mean the end of fun. Visitors can enjoy snowshoeing, skiing and sledding in the park. Just plan ahead and be sure to layer up with insulating, waterproof clothing, wear sunglasses, use sunscreen and carry water. Photo of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain by Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service.
Are you feeling the Halloween mood yet? While we love taking a walk in the woods, sometimes it can feel a little spooky. At Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland, when the mist floats through the forest and the owls hoot from the trees, you could feel a little shiver. The sound of a snapping branch can startle you and your mind can imagine the strangest things. But there’s really nothing to fear here. Since the park’s boundaries include the Presidential Retreat of Camp David, it’s actually a really safe place. Photo by T. Zygmunt, National Park Service.
October is a busy time at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Campgrounds fill up and Skyline Drive sees an increase in traffic. Everyone wants to marvel at the fall beauty of the mountains and forests. The park is over 100 miles long and spans a wide elevation range. Fall color conditions can vary dramatically from area to area. Weather affects the color from day to day and even hour to hour. If this feels frantic to you, don’t worry. Shenandoah has many trails and overlooks where you can settle down and find a peaceful moment, looking up at the streaming sunlight and the fluttering autumn leaves. Photo by N. Lewis, National Park Service.
Certain places evoke a specific feeling. Redwood National and State Parks in California definitely qualifies. “When I think of the Redwood forest, I think of giant trees, lush green ferns, fog and beams of light shining through the forest canopy. This is exactly the feeling that I set out to capture during a recent trip to the Redwoods. While driving through the Del Norte Redwoods, I saw the light bursting through the trees, so I quickly pulled the car over, jumped out and ran into the forest, hoping that the light would last long enough to capture a few images,” said photographer David Dinette. We think he got it. Photo courtesy of David Dinette.
Photographer Nate Luebbe’s passion is taking gorgeous photos in public lands. This shot comes from Glacier National Park inMontana. Nate told us about how he captured this breath-taking image: “After an unusually strong storm in September closed all the roads into the park last month, I was forced to find new angles to work with. Thankfully, in a place like Glacier, there’s beauty around every corner, and we were treated to this spectacular twilight moonset over a partially frozen river. It’s moments like this that inspire me to keep exploring.” Photo courtesy of Nate Luebbe.
I think he likes you. Fall is the season for romance for moose at Denali National Park in Alaska. In fields the color of flames, bull moose are hunks of burning love, battling other males and aggressively courting females. They can stand more than six feet tall at the shoulder and are crowned by massive antlers, making them especially formidable during rut. Once the season passes, so does their urge to mingle. Moose tend to be solitary creatures most of the year. Photo by Hongxun Gao (www.sharetheexperience.org).
As you enter Zion National Park in Utah, you immediately know you’re in a special place. The red rock walls stretching towards the sky, the Virgin River flowing by you and miles of trails to guide you towards nature’s great wonders. There is so much to see and do. While many visitors gather around iconic sights like Angels Landing, the Narrows and the Watchmen – seen here – there are many other stunning locations in the north and east sides of the park that are not as busy. No matter how eager you are to see everything, from time to time, you must stop and just enjoy a moment of peace in this gorgeous park. Photo by Matt Meisenheimer (www.sharetheexperience.org).
A hub of activity at Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska, the Exit Glacier area offers visitors a chance to witness up close the power and beauty of a massive river of ice. The nearby Exit Glacier Nature Center continues your education and the trailhead for the Harding Icefield Trail is your gateway to an incredible experience on a frozen landscape. Summer and fall are the best times to visit, as colorful streaks of wildflowers and changing leaves perk up your photos and memories. Photo by National Park Service.