Summer green becomes autumn orange in the blink of an eye at Denali National Park in Alaska. Termination dust – what Alaskans call the high altitude snow that signals the end of summer – coats mountains and sprinkles onto valleys. The red leaves of blueberry bushes carpet the landscape and offer bears a last dessert before hibernation. It’s a feast for the eyes. Photo from a previous fall by Tim Rains, 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.
To watch the sunrise, most people face east. At Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, turning west will allow you to see the morning’s first rays touch the peaks and work their way down the mountain faces, spreading light, warmth and beauty. Shades of orange and pink glow on the snow to create a picture perfect moment. Photo by John Corso (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Do you remember what is was like to be a child, when everything seemed so huge and amazing? No matter your age, that’s the feeling you’ll get walking through the Giant Forest at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California. Growing over 250 feet tall and over 30 feet wide, these wonders of nature are a sight you’ll never forget. Photo by National Park Service.
Delicate frost clings to a solitary tree at J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota. These little details are easy to miss when visitors are busy bird watching, hiking or ice fishing. Extending from the Canadian border for 45 miles, it’s the largest wildlife refuge in the state and one of the nation’s premier birding locations. Photo by Colette Guariglia, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Only fossils remain of the dinosaurs that gave Dinosaur National Monument its name. However, some large animals continue to prowl this rugged landscape along the Colorado and Utah border. These tracks in the snow are 5 inches wide and belong to a mountain lion, just one species of the amazing wildlife that lives in the park. Photo by National Park Service.
This weekend, the annual Iditarod race kicked off in Alaska. This famous dog-sled race traverses across the rugged Alaska tundra, including on the Iditarod National Historic Trail. A 2,300-mile system of trails that first connected Alaska Native villages and opened Alaska up for America’s last great gold rush, the Iditarod Trail now plays a vital role for travel and recreation in modern-day Alaska. Photos by Kevin Keeler, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
With dawn’s light peeking over the horizon and snow dusting the steep rock walls, this winter scene at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado reminds us of a Van Gogh painting. Every determined tree and each ripple of stone stands out, telling a story that spans geologic eras. Lesser known than other Colorado parks, the Black Canyon can be a stunning surprise to first time visitors. Photo by James Broscheid (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Soaring above a maze of red canyons, the Fisher Towers are a dramatic sight along the Colorado River in Utah. A National Scenic Trail winds 2.2 miles around the stone pinnacles and climbs up to nearly 360 degree views. Experienced climbers can test their skills on the rock faces while less daring visitors can enjoy relaxing moments at the nearby Bureau of Land Management campsite. Pro-tip: clear nights offer incredible stargazing opportunities. Photo by Adam Jewell (www.sharetheexperience.org).