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).
Around every corner is another awe-inspiring view at Yosemite National Park. At sunset, El Capitan can take on a golden glow. Combine this stunning California icon with fall colors along the Merced River, and it creates a breathtakingly beautiful sight that you won’t forget. Photo by Jesse Thorpe (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).
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).
Fall colors frame a stunning view at New River Gorge National River in West Virginia. From over 1,000 feet above the river, you can look down on the clouds nestled in the valley below and enjoy sweeping views of mountains and forests. The park encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, which is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers spectacular scenic and recreational opportunities. Photo by National Park Service.
From mountaintops to underground caves, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park encourages discovery. Located at the junction of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, Cumberland Gap was the first gateway to the West and helps tell the stories of Native Americans, pioneers, Civil War soldiers and mountain communities. With historic buildings scattered among the forested mountains, it’s easy to feel like you’re going back in time. Visit in the autumn for spectacular fall colors. Photo by National Park Service.
After hiking past the turbulent Tanalian Falls, the serenity of Kontrashibuna Lake is a pleasant surprise. Just one of many stunning landscapes at Lake Clark National Park & Preserve in Alaska, the lake’s frigid waters are colored a light blue by glacial dust and lap at the edges of rich forests and rugged mountains. Fall colors make the area even more popular with intrepid visitors. Photo by W. Hill, National Park Service.
The first touches of fall are in the air at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. While most of the trees in this Colorado park are still green, snow showers dusted the Sangre de Cristo Mountains over the weekend, and the highest aspen groves are beginning to turn gold. This photo was taken south of the dunes looking toward California Peak at 13,855 feet. Photo by Patrick Myers, National Park Service.
As you enter Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California, Moro Rock looms overhead, thousands of feet above the highway. This large granite dome is a spectacular geologic feature that can be enjoyed from above or below. A concrete and stone stairway leads over 350 steps to the summit where views open up from the foothills and San Joaquin Valley to the west, to deep into wilderness to the east. View from the top of Moro Rock by Cheryl Dickinson (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Wildflowers and epic views make Wyoming’s Carter Mountain an amazing summer spot. Located southwest of Cody, the area is composed of a mix of private lands and public lands managed by the Bureaus of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. While there are various ways the public can access Carter Mountain, the best way is from the north, via the Carter Mountain Road off the Southfork Highway west of Cody. Photo by Gretchen Hurley, Bureau of Land Management.