One of the most spectacular hikes in Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska, the 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail starts on the valley floor, winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs well above tree line to a breathtaking view of the Icefield. The trail is strenuous – it gains about 1,000 feet of elevation with every mile – and hikers should allow at least 6-8 hours. Although the view from the top is well worth the effort, you don’t need to hike all the way up to experience the wonders of this trail. This stunning photo shows the view of the wildflowers and valley below from part of the way up the trail. Be sure to check current conditions for the trail on the park’s website before heading out out on the trail. Photo by Chandra Sekhar Gantha (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The wildflowers are on full display at Lemhi Pass in Idaho. This location is where Lewis and Clark crossed over the Continental Divide in 1805. This marked a major milestone in the U. S. westward expansion, but Lewis and Clark were not the first people to use the pass. They followed a well-traveled Shoshone Trail. Sacajawea lived as a child below the pass along Agency Creek until age 12 when she was captured during a battle with another another tribe and forced to North Dakota. It was here that she became part of the Corps of Discovery with Lewis and Clark and proved to be invaluable to the success of the expedition. Today the pass is traversed by a 35-mile long graded unpaved Backcountry Byway through public lands. Interpretive pullouts and scenic views abound. Pictured here are arrowleaf balsam-root (yellow), lupine and delphinium (purple) at sunset. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
The gorgeous landscape of Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma includes the delightful oasis of Treasure Lake near Elk Mountain. The refuge boasts almost 60,000 acres of natural grasslands that are now home to reintroduced species including bison, elk, prairie dogs, river otters and burrowing owls. Visitors can enjoy wildlife watching, fishing, climbing, hunting and walking among wildflower blooms. Photo by Stan Schwartz (www.sharetheexperience.org).
It’s National Wildflower Week! Of all the unique and colorful wildflowers on public lands, few are as fascinating as the Cahaba lily. A rare type of spiderlily with striking 3-inch white flowers, the Cahaba lily requires a specialized habitat of swift water flowing over rocks with lots of sunlight. Cahaba lilies bloom from mid-May to mid-June (or Mother’s Day to Father’s Day). The best and largest populations are located at Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama. Photo by Keith Boseman (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The Giant Gap run of the famous North Fork of the American River Wild and Scenic River is one of the most challenging runs in northern California. Cliffs tower 2,000 feet above clear green streams, smashing a path through rapids choked with boulders. Heaps of mine tailings and an old cabin border the course of this roller coaster ride through historic Mother Lode. While the awe-inspiring river canyon is best known for its thrilling whitewater, its challenging hiking trails, excellent fishing, abundant wildlife and dramatic scenery make it a popular place to #FindYourWay. Photos by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri is the first national park area to protect a river system. The Current and Jacks Fork Rivers – the beating heart of the park – are two of the finest floating rivers you’ll find anywhere. Spring-fed, cold and clear they are a delight to canoe, swim, boat or fish. The watershed also quenches the thirst of lush forests and grasslands, making it the perfect place for a spring hike. Photo by Pamela Reid (www.sharetheexperience.org).
With towering cliffs, flowing water and a rich diversity of flora and fauna, Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness remains one of Arizona’s truly unique areas. Its 19,410 acres of designated wilderness beckons adventurers who yearn for solitude and scenic splendor. Aravaipa Creek flows year-round, an unusual phenomenon in the desert. Nurtured by this abundant water, sycamore, ash, cottonwood and willow trees flourish along the stream and the spring wildflower blooms can be beautiful. Photo by Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
It’s the first day of spring! We hope you’re making plans to get outside on your public lands to enjoy the coming color. We’re excited for scenes like last year’s Superbloom at Carrizo Plain National Monument in California, where wildflowers put on a spectacular show. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management.
Add Bodie Hills to your travel bucketlist for its wildflowers, wildlife and a one-of-a-kind ghost town. California’s Eastern Sierra region is a dramatic transition zone between the snow-capped granite spires of the Sierra Nevada and the endless sagebrush covered uplands of the Great Basin. A trip at the right time of year will reward visitors with a diversity of wildflowers. Because of their high elevation, wildflower blooms are later here than much of California – typically arriving in May-June on the lower slopes and into July on the highest peaks. Pictured here is the “Dry Lakes Plateau” where ephemeral lakes fill with snowmelt. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Happy National Dog Day! Out on the trail or curled up on the bed, we love our four-legged friends. At Denali National Park in Alaska, sled dogs are important members of the team. Here’s Tephra, a 9-year-old Alaskan husky working her last season before she retires this month. Photo of Tephra posing with fireweed by Miles Leguineche, National Park Service.