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.
Many mountains and streams go unnamed on maps of Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve in Alaska. The wilderness is vast and untamed, forcing the people who explore this gorgeous landscape to depend on themselves. Maintaining its wild and undeveloped character, the park offers opportunities to experience both quiet solitude and thrilling recreation. Photo by National Park Service.
When describing glaciers in Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska, superlatives are hard to avoid. Within our largest national park exists the nation’s largest glacial system, with rivers of ice flowing dozens of miles through majestic mountains. In summer, runoff from glaciers swells rivers and precipitates an explosion of green. From the ground and the air, it’s an epic sight. Photo by Neal Herbert, National Park Service.
Happy 80th Birthday to Olympic National Park! Named after the Olympic Mountains it encompasses, Olympic National Park in Washington was established on June 29, 1938 to preserve the area’s unique wildlife and landscapes. With snow-capped mountains, lush forests and picturesque beaches, few parks posses such a variety of sights and experiences. Photo by Kristopher Schoenleber (www.sharetheexperience.org).
One of the most daunting tasks facing visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is choosing a trail. Start by deciding on what you would like to see. Waterfalls? Wildflowers and forests? Endless mountain views? Then decide how far you would like to hike. If you haven’t hiked much recently, be cautious. Five miles roundtrip is a good maximum distance for novices. Just remember to take plenty of water and your sense of adventure, and don’t forget to tell someone where you’re heading. Photo by Stavros Mitchelides (www.sharetheexperience.org).
What are you doing for National Get Outdoors Day? If you’re a fan of public lands, you could frolic in the sand at a national seashore, take a peaceful hike in a wilderness area, go bird watching in a wildlife refuge or enjoy breathtaking views at our incredible national parks. These deer at Olympic National Park in Washington seem to have the right idea. Photo by Jason Horstman (www.sharetheexperience.org).