Mesa Verde means “green table,” but winter snows have turned most of Mesa Verde National Park white. Over 5,000 archaeological sites in the park help tell the story of the Pueblo people, who lived more than 700 years ago in what we now call Colorado. Spruce Tree House, seen here, is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in the country and an astounding sight from Chapin Mesa overlook. Photo by National Park Service.
Are you excited for the Winter Olympics? How about winter at Olympic National Park in Washington? With amazing chances to ski and skate – plus breathtaking views along Hurricane Ridge – this park is a gold medal winner! Photo by Megan Juran, National Park Service.
Ranging over 4 million acres in southwest Alaska, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve offers excellent opportunities for adventure, exploration, learning and just plain fun. However, it can be hard to get a lot done when all you want to do is stare at the epic views. Photo along the Telaquana River by J. Mills, National Park Service.
Sunrise after a fresh snowfall gives an aura of peace to this small meadow at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. With a golden sun and pink light filtered through the morning fog, it’s easy to picture something magical happening in this majestic place. Are you in the mood to frolic? Photo by Shawn Stackhouse (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area on the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border features almost 70,000 acres of forested mountains, picturesque valleys and fertile floodplains that have known 10 millennia of human contact. The sloping, rocky landscape is home to several waterfalls. A popular destination in every season, Raymondskill Falls is especially gorgeous in winter. Photo by National Park Service.
Even in winter, there is plenty of amazing outdoor activities to do at Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. From early November to May, visitors can explore the park by fat bikes, cross-country skis, snowmobile and dog sled. No matter your experience, you’ll enjoy the stark beauty of winter at Kenai Fjords. Photo by National Park Service.
Grandfather Mountain looms over the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, frosted in the white and blue shades of winter. Thought to be one of the oldest mountains in the Appalachians, Grandfather Mountain’s imposing size forced engineers to develop a difficult solution to completing the Parkway. Linn Cove Viaduct carries the road over the shoulder of this wonderful mountain, preserving its unique geology and providing stunning views. Photo courtesy of Jim Ruff.
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.
A purple and pink winter sunrise paints the sky at Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. It’s a scene Charles M. Russell would have enjoyed. The refuge was named in recognition of this colorful western artist who often portrayed the refuge’s landscape in his paintings. Along with the stunning scenery and amazing wildlife, the refuge boasts a fantastic history that includes mountain men, Native Americans and dinosaurs. Photo by Mary Jo Hill, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Fresh snow blankets the floodplain forests at Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa. Established for the protection of migratory birds along the Mississippi River Flyway, the refuge occupies over 8,300 acres across four unique districts. Some of the most recognizable winter residents are wild turkeys, northern cardinals, great horned owls and bald eagles. Watch out for their color and movement in this winter wonderland. Photo by Cathy Nigg, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.