Wiggle out of your sleeping bag, toss back the tent flap and take in the morning view. Sounds like a great fall morning in Oregon. The Smith River forms in the Coast Range and flows about 50 miles west, emptying into the Pacific Ocean just north of Reedsport, Oregon. With 10 campsites operated by the Bureau of Land Management, this peaceful, old-growth forest setting provides an ideal place to picnic, wade, fish and watch for bald eagles. Photo by Michael Campbell, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
You’ll need to make more than one visit if you really want to enjoy fall colors at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. Different trees peak at different times, so each journey into this gorgeous forest offers a unique experience. Throughout October and November, maples, oaks, gums and dogwoods put on a splendid show you don’t want to miss. Photo at Blue Hen Falls by Craig Walton (www.sharetheexperience.org).
For waterfall lovers, there’s no better place than Yosemite National Park in California. The roar of the water, the feel of the mist and a glimpse of a rainbow give us a thrill and a sense of romance. The 317-foot tall Vernal Fall is a popular destination in the park, with views from the Mist Trail and the John Muir Trail. Please use caution when hiking. The trails are steep and slippery. A safe visit is a fun visit. Photo courtesy of Mark Bouldoukian.
Discover rich history, spectacular overlooks, unique rock formations, cascading waterfalls and an extensive trail system at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Kentucky. Following in the footsteps of Native Americans and early pioneers, modern day explorers can scramble up mountains or descend into the park’s elaborate cave system. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for wildlife, too. Deer, black bears, rabbits, raccoons, opossums, gray squirrels, foxes and wild turkeys are commonly spotted. Photo by Kim Maxwell (www.sharetheexperience.org).
New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along 53 miles of the New River as it tumbles over waterfalls and winds through picturesque valleys. High points offer dramatic and expansive views of mountains, forests and the rugged river. Descending closer to the flowing waters gives visitors a chance to scramble over smooth stones and marvel at one of the park’s many waterfalls. Sandstone Falls marks the transition zone of the New River from a broad river of wide bottomlands, to a narrow mountain river roaring through a deep boulder strewn gorge. Photo by National Park Service.
On the one mile Yahoo Falls loop trail at Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area in Kentucky, visitors can actually walk behind the waterfalls as they plunge 113 feet over the large rock shelf. In the deep forest, passing from sun to shade with the roar of the water in your ears and the spray of mist on your skin, it’s an adventure for all your senses. It’s just one of the many spectacular outdoor experiences you can have in this wonderful 125,000-acre park. Photo by Tom Wood (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Sunlight streaming through leaves, the chirps and squeaks of birds and animals in the trees, and the rich scents of the outdoors make the forest a happy place for many people. Today on International Day of Forests, we recognize these special places and their importance to wildlife and recreation. Photo of the Sol Duc rainforest at Olympic National Park in Washington by Adam Jewell (www.sharetheexperience.org).
On March 1, 1872, Yellowstone National Park was born – making it the world’s first national park. Today, millions visit Yellowstone to discover the park’s geysers and mud pots, forests and lakes, and historic cabins and prehistoric sites – not to mention it’s stunning waterfalls. Check out 7 surprising facts about Yellowstone as we celebrate the park’s birthday: http://on.doi.gov/24zbV9d
Photo of Lower Falls courtesy of Stuart Burnett.
The Potomac River roars over rocks and ice in this winter shot from Great Falls Park in Virginia. A short drive from downtown Washington, D.C., Great Falls and Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park on the opposite bank in Maryland offer terrific outdoor recreation. Locals will tell you, it’s home to some of the best views and hiking in the area. Be sure to obey all signs and stay away from the falls. Photo by National Park Service.
If you’re looking for fall colors on public lands, Blue Hen Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park has to be on the list. An easy drive from Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, the falls are one of the most popular spots in the park and a great place to #OptOutside. Decked in orange and yellow leaves, the forest around the picturesque falls is peaceful and welcoming. Photo by Jennifer Lhost (www.sharetheexperience.org).