Here’s a look into the future at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Green hillsides and spring showers are still months away at our country’s largest national park, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream of endless mountain views under the midnight sun. If this doesn’t inspire you to start planning your trip, we don’t know what will. Photo by Neal Herbert, National Park Service.
The sun sinks behind the horizon, coloring the sky a bright orange before night falls in South Florida. Big Cypress National Preserve protects 729,000 acres of unique freshwater swamp, offering refuge to a wide variety of plants and animals. From hardwood hammocks hiding rare Florida panthers to tidal estuaries teeming with birds and fish, there is so much to see in this wonderful place. Photo by National Park Service.
Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is not only one of the most beautiful places in the country but also one of the snowiest. Park staff work hard to keep the road to the Rim Village open year round, but all of Rim Drive won’t be open for months. Free guided snowshoe walks will continue through the end of April and cross country skis are recommended for those who want to explore the park off plowed roads. With views like this, how can you not want to see more? Photo by Eric Valentine (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The calendar says it’s spring, but it still looks like winter at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois. The snow and fog glow in the purple gloom on this April morning. Despite the chill, the wetlands, forests and prairies of the refuge are great places to see migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Listen for their calls in the morning. Photo by Mitchell Baalman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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).
Here are some spring flowers for Lady Liberty. Visiting Statue of Liberty National Monument is one of the most rewarding experiences of any trip to New York City. The size and artistry of the massive sculpture is only surpassed by the incredible inspiration this iconic symbol has had on generations. Don’t forget to get tickets ahead of time. Photo by National Park Service.
Lenticular clouds are stationary, saucer-shaped clouds that form when moist air is pushed over large obstructions. As the tallest mountain in the Cascade Range, Mount Rainier in Washington is a great place to see these unique cloud formations. If you don’t care about the clouds, you can still enjoy amazing recreation, wildlife watching and cultural history at Mount Rainier National Park. Photo by Jacklyn Fraizer (www.sharetheexperience.org)
As the sun nears the horizon of this huge, high-elevation valley at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, its intense light shines through soft atmospheric haze – shifting the color spectrum toward crimson. Early explorers were moved by this phenomenon and named this Colorado mountain range Sangre de Cristo, meaning the “Blood of Christ.” Visitors today are also inspired by the vibrant color and light in these mountains, which reach over 14,000 feet! Photo by Patrick Myers, National Park Service.
Land and sky collide as wispy clouds creep between rolling mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. The drifting clouds and forested peaks create layers of white and green, stretching out to the horizon. The parkway is only 469 miles long, but the views are endless. Photo courtesy of Joshua Moore.