Some of the best times to see the Northern Lights are typically in the early fall and late winter, and some of the best places to experience this incredible lights how are on the nearly 72 million acres of Alaska’s public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The amazing natural spectacle is created when particles ejected by sun flares collide with Earth’s magnetic field. You don’t need to know the #science to appreciate the beauty, though. Photo by Jeremy Matlock, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
Photographer Nate Luebbe’s passion is taking gorgeous photos in public lands. This shot comes from Glacier National Park inMontana. Nate told us about how he captured this breath-taking image: “After an unusually strong storm in September closed all the roads into the park last month, I was forced to find new angles to work with. Thankfully, in a place like Glacier, there’s beauty around every corner, and we were treated to this spectacular twilight moonset over a partially frozen river. It’s moments like this that inspire me to keep exploring.” Photo courtesy of Nate Luebbe.
One of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes in North America, Canyon de Chelly National Monument is a place of natural beauty and living legends. A dry climate, sheltering cliffs and the watchful eyes of local residents protect the distinctive architecture, artifacts and rock imagery. Completely within the Navajo Nation in Arizona, the park’s signature vista is looking down at Spider Rock, an 825-foot-tall sandstone spire that got its name from the Navajo story of the Spider Woman. Rangers and Navajo guides share these stories to connect visitors to this special place. Photo by Nina Mayer Ritchie (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The peaceful beauty of a winter sunset at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon gives few hints of the landscape’s violent past. For approximately 400,000 years, volcanic eruptions built up a 12,000 foot mountain now called Mt. Mazama. 7,700 years ago, the volcano erupted in a cataclysmic explosion. Fatally weakened, the top of the mountain collapsed and created the hole – the caldera – that we now see today filled with pristine blue water. Photo courtesy of Albert Yang.
The purple light of dawn glows in the morning sky above Mount Moran at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The winter air is cold and fresh as frost and snow cover this gorgeous landscape. Less than 10 million years old, the Tetons are one of the youngest mountain ranges in North America. In that time, Mount Moran has risen 6,000 feet above the valley and supported the creation of Falling Ice and Skillet glaciers. Photo courtesy of Daniel Ewert.
Not far from the glitz and excitement of Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada offers a different kind of thrill. With scenic trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, it’s easy to find a quiet place to enjoy its natural beauty. Photographer Courtney Knaup – a frequent visitor – recently enjoyed a perfect moment of wonder and solitude. “Being out there alone, watching the first light hit the cliffs is always magical. Even more so with a fresh layer of snow.” Photo courtesy of Courtney Knaup.
Sometimes things just work out. Photographer Rebecca Helen was planning for some awesome shots at Yosemite National Park in January, but the weather wasn’t cooperating. Finally, on her last day in the California park, “the sun pierced through the clouds. I fired off shots as quickly as I could, and as I was finishing up, the clouds rolled back over El Capitan and swallowed it in a gray haze. I jumped up and down with excitement, so pumped I finally got that wondrous shot I had envisioned. Yosemite, I will be dreaming of you for a long time yet.“ Photo courtesy of Rebecca Helen.
You don’t see bison flake because of a little snow. During a winter storm, bison face the cold and take the winter elements head on, conserving energy as they hunker down and wait for snowstorms to pass. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is the only place where bison have lived continuously through American history, and they have a good handle on surviving tough winters. Photo by Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service.
The brilliant orange and red sunset highlights a craggy snow-covered portion of Olympic National Park in Washington. Missing the mountains can cause quite an ache, so for those who can’t see them all the time, we share them regularly. These majestic mountains are the ancestral home to Twana/Skokomish, Quinault, Hoh, Quileute and Klallam/S’Klallam people. Photo courtesy of Becky Stinnett.