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).
With a heavy heart, we say farewell to our director of social media, Rebecca. For the past 4 years, she has helped shape Interior’s digital voice, built a passionate public lands online community and written a great deal of the inspiring content you’ve enjoyed here. We wish her success in all her future endeavors. Thank you. Photo of a momma bear at Lake Clark National Park and Preserve in Alaska by Kevin Dietrich (www.sharetheexperience.org).
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).
Here’s a majestic sunrise sight: An eagle takes off from its nest at Shiloh National Military Park. Established in 1894, Shiloh National Military Park encompasses nearly 4,200 acres of land in southwestern Tennessee and includes a location in northeast Mississippi. In addition to being home to diverse wildlife, Shiloh tells the story of the most epic struggle in the Western Theater of the Civil War. Nearly 110,000 American troops clashed in a bloody contest that resulted in 23,746 casualties – more casualties than in all of America’s previous wars combined. Photo by Don Holland (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Buffalo National River in Arkansas flows pure and clear over a 132-mile meandering course through grassy meadows and by rocky bluffs. Its ancient current gives life to well over 300 species of fish, insects, freshwater mussels and aquatic plants. In addition to the thriving aquatic life, on land there are many more natural wonders to behold: caves with hidden formations, untrodden passageways, tall waterfalls and old pioneer farmsteads that provide food for elk, whitetail deer, wild turkey, bobwhite quail and many other species of wildlife. Settle on a rock by the river and you’ll see for yourself. Photo by John Bingaman (www.sharetheexperience.org).
In a land of stark white sand, a little fall color really stands out. White Sands National Monument in New Mexico preserves part the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. Gypsum sand is considered rare because gypsum is water soluble – it dissolves in water like sugar in iced tea. The 275-square miles of dunes are comprised of over 4.5 billion tons of gypsum sand. It is one of the many things that make White Sands a unique and special place. Photo by Jim Langford (www.sharetheexperience.org).
A scenic drive along the Molalla River in Oregon offers easy river access and opportunities for picnicking, swimming, camping, whitewater boating and fishing. The river is one of the few undammed tributaries of the Willamette River and cuts a picturesque gorge on its way to the valley floor. Molalla River Recreation Area offers an extensive network of more than 20 miles of trails for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. Take your time on the trails to enjoy the changing colors. Photo by Greg Shine, Bureau of Land Management.
Minute Man National Historical Park in Massachusetts is known for Revolutionary history and bold fall colors. Under the rustling leaves, you can hear whispers of the past at the Captain William Smith House. Captain Smith led a small militia against British soldiers at the Battle of Concord, fighting in the fields near his house. The house and fields have been restored to their 1775 appearance, making a visit feel like traveling back in time. Photo by Joseph Sirkovich (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Famous for mountaintop sunrises, Haleakala National Park in Hawaii offers thrilling adventures from summit to sea. Visitors to the Kīpahulu District on the northeast coast of of Maui are treated to views of waterfalls, sweeping ocean vistas and powerful Hawaiian cultural experiences. You might even see a double rainbow. Photo courtesy of Chris Archer.