Heading south from Hanksville, Utah, towards Lake Powell, highway travelers bisect the remote Henry Mountains – the last area mapped in the lower 48. The 11,000-foot forested peaks of the main mountain range rise to the west, while two distinctive summits, Mount’s Ellsworth and Holmes, jut skyward from the rolling red sandstone mesas to the east. Known as the “Little Rockies,” these peaks are studied by geologists around the world as a classic example of igneous rocks, formed deep within the earth’s mantle, thrusting through the overlying sandstone layers. The Little Rockies have been designated as a National Natural Landmark for their geological significance. The peaks also provide habitat for desert bighorn sheep and numerous birds of prey. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Protected as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, the South Fork of the John Day River flows from south to north through central Oregon, providing unparalleled recreational opportunities including fishing, swimming, hiking, camping and birdwatching. The views here are colorful, striking and unique. Basalt outcrops, Ponderosa pine, and Douglas and white fir intermix with juniper, sagebrush and native bunchgrasses to create a distinct pattern on the rugged canyon slopes. Photo by Greg Shine, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Take a trip to gold country in Alaska. Canoeists along the Fortymile River can see modern prospectors working the river gravels, as well as remnants of several large historic dredges, as they float through thick stands of black spruce and tussocks that grow above the permafrost. It never truly gets dark here in summer, making more time for fun and exploring. The long days melt into a pink dusk that slowly transitions into a lengthy dawn. This is the longest river in the system with the main stem and tributaries stretching for almost 400 miles. #FindYourWay on more wild and scenic rivers: https://on.doi.gov/2vBIC9K
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” -John Muir
In 1984, Congress designated the Table Rock Wilderness in Oregon. A remnant of a lava flow that once covered this region along the western foothills of the Cascades, the “fortress” of Table Rock stands at 4,881 feet above the northeastern portion of this small Wilderness. On this steep and rugged terrain you’ll find a quiet forest of Douglas fir and western hemlock, with noble fir at higher elevations and crowds of rhododendron on many of the upper slopes, an island of old growth in an ocean of forest development. At least two endangered plants bloom here: Oregon sullivantia and Gorman’s aster. Deer and elk wander about in winter, and the northern spotted owl has been spotted among the old trees. Photo by Bureau of Land Management.
Explore Oregon’s dramatic coastline at Yaquina Head Natural Area. Depending on the tide, visitors can see waves crashing against rocks or shallow tidepools filled with fascinating marine life. Looking up, they’ll see an incredible variety of birds flying near Oregon’s tallest lighthouse. It’s a particularly beautiful sight on a summer day. Photo by Alyssa Uhen, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
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
It’s Great Outdoors Month – a time to connect with nature whether it’s in your backyards, along trails or on the water. At Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River in Montana (pictured here), canoeists can float from several days to weeks, following in the footsteps of famous explorers Lewis and Clark as they traverse the geological folds and faults of “Breaks” country. The roadless canyon boasts broad vistas where fishermen are likely to catch goldeye, drum, sauger, walleye, northern pike, channel catfish, carp, smallmouth buffalo and paddlefish. Floaters might even spot some of the many elk and mule deer that inhabit the area, or they can scan the cliffs to get a glimpse of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Photo by Roland Taylor (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
It’s never too early to start planning your summer adventure. Located in Idaho, Little Jacks Creek Wilderness is a landscape of sagebrush, grasses and magnificent multi-tiered 1,000-foot-deep canyons towering over meandering creeks, like the Little Jacks Creek Wild and Scenic River. These rivers and their canyons have what you are looking for whether it’s placid pools or turbulent whitewater; vertical cliffs or steep grassy slopes; or wildlife or wildflowers. It’s the perfect place to #FindYourWay. Photo by Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Set between the jagged peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the geologically complex Inyo Mountains, California’s Alabama Hills is the perfect place for rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking – and for films buffs, touring “Movie Road.” Since the 1920s, more than 400 movies have been filmed at the Alabama Hills, and Movie Road allows visitors to walk or drive along the sets of many of their favorite blockbusters. Filmmakers love to use the steep hills, natural arches and windows found throughout the area to evoke far away places, including Afghanistan in Iron Man, the Himalayas in Gunga Din and a Spanish Estate in Gladiator. Photo by Michele James (www.sharetheexperience.org).