It’s International Mountain Day! Not only are mountains majestic, they’re also critical to the water cycle, food production and tourism. If you asked someone to draw a mountain, they’d probably sketch something like the rugged beauty of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. With its snow-capped peaks catching the sunrise light above the Snake River, it’s one of the most stunning sights in America. Photo by Adam Jewell (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Some sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway have already seen snow this year, but we couldn’t let fall come to a close without one more amazing photo of autumn splendor. The forested mountains of North Carolina and Virginia are the perfect showcase for changing leaves and amazing sunrises. Each turn on the road and trail overlook provides a breathtaking view. Photo by Ric Chamblee (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Travel back to the wild west at John Jarvie Historic Ranch in Utah. In 1880, John Jarvie built a ranch along the Green River to offer store goods to those that lived or traveled in this wild territory. Jarvie chose this location due to a naturally occurring river crossing which was used by Native Americans, fur trappers, travelers and local residents. Today, you can camp, fish, float and enjoy educational demonstrations at this fascinating site. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
Happy Birthday, Glacier Bay National Park! Designated from a national monument to a national park on this day in 1980, Glacier Bay covers 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines and deep sheltered fjords. From sea to summit, the Alaska park offers limitless opportunities for adventure and inspiration. And the most incredible blue water you’ll ever see. Photo by Cliff LaPlant (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Every picture of Glacier National Park in Montana evokes a flood of superlatives. The mountains are majestic, the views are epic and the valleys are picturesque. However, no words can ever really convey the feeling of looking out over this incredible landscape as sunlight shimmers off fresh snow and the cool, fresh wind blows by you. Just the thought makes us want to climb into this photo and explore. Photo by Kate McFadzen (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Happy birthday, Zion National Park! Utah’s first national park, Zion protects some of the most scenic canyon country in the United States. It includes 229 square miles of high plateaus, a maze of sandstone canyons and amazing waterfalls with colorful hanging gardens. Check out more fun facts about Zion: http://on.doi.gov/1X0Ju2P Photo of the Watchman by Nina Mayer Ritchie (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Heading south from Hanksville, Utah, towards Lake Powell, highway travelers bisect the remote Henry Mountains – the last area mapped in the lower 48. The 11,000-foot forested peaks of the main mountain range rise to the west, while two distinctive summits, Mount’s Ellsworth and Holmes, jut skyward from the rolling red sandstone mesas to the east. Known as the “Little Rockies,” these peaks are studied by geologists around the world as a classic example of igneous rocks, formed deep within the earth’s mantle, thrusting through the overlying sandstone layers. The Little Rockies have been designated as a National Natural Landmark for their geological significance. The peaks also provide habitat for desert bighorn sheep and numerous birds of prey. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
There’s no wonder why Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one our most popular national parks for hiking. The rolling mountains along the North Carolina – Tennessee border are gorgeous in all seasons, but the transition to bright fall colors is a sight to behold. In golden sunset light, the beauty of this place is overwhelming. Photo by Jerome Ginsberg (www.sharetheexperience.org).
In 1792, America’s first planned industrial city was established around the Great Falls of the Passaic River. Harnessing the power of the falls, cotton and silk mills began to spring up along the river. It was here in Paterson, New Jersey, that the American Industrial Revolution was born, making our country an economic player on the world stage. Today, the history and the stunning falls are protected as Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. Photo by volunteer Terry McKenna, National Park Service.
The rolling plains and scattered wetlands of Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge in Montana were created by receding glaciers more than 12,000 years ago. Today, these lands and waters serve as habitat for a great variety of wildlife, especially migrating waterfowl. Depending on the season, the sky can hold a lone eagle, fill with waves of tundra swans or show dramatic sunset colors. Photo by Christal Steele (www.sharetheexperience.org).