Dinosaur National Monument offers a lifetime of places to explore. Depending on your interest and time, you can discover dinosaur fossils, Native American rock art, homesteader cabins, early 20th century ranches, remote canyons, dramatic vistas, peaceful rivers or windswept peaks. Some places are easily accessible from the monument’s roads, while others may require extended hikes or river trips. Looking down hundreds of feet to the Green River as it curls past narrow canyon walls, you’ll know it was worth the exercise. Photo by National Park Service.
The name Observation Point mildly describes the epic view from this overlook at Zion National Park in Utah. More than 2,000 feet below, the North Fork of the Virgin River winds through the lush canyon, curving around the dramatic fin of Angels Landing. If the elevation gain of the hike there doesn’t take your breath away, then the view surely will. Photo by Leslie Poole (www.sharetheexperience.org).
There are no live dinosaurs today at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, but there are other surprises. For most of its length, the Ruple Point Trail crosses a rolling terrain filled with sagebrush and juniper. Near the end of the trail, a short descent suddenly reveals breathtaking views of Split Mountain Canyon and the Green River 2,500 feet below. It’s a great reward at the halfway point of this 9.5 mile hike. Take plenty of water! Photo by National Park Service.
One of the most spectacular geologic features on Earth, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona never fails to impress. Carved over the course of millions of years, the canyon averages 10 miles in width and 1 mile in depth. Resplendent with colorful layers and rugged textures, you’ll never forget your first sight of this incredible place. Photo by W. Tyson Joye, National Park Service.
A stunning variety of landscapes await you at Zion National Park in Utah. Under a deep blue sky, colorful sandstone cliffs transition the high desert to forested mesas and deep canyons filled with life. The Virgin River, often sedate but sometimes violent, runs through the park and hiking through the Narrows is a highlight for many visitors. Photo by R.J. Hooper (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Here’s a great view from Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area on the Wyoming-Montana border. From the fabulous Pryor Mountain wild horses to majestic bighorn sheep, hundreds of bird species and a world-class fishery, Bighorn Canyon is an excellent destination for outdoors lovers. The centerpiece of the 68,000 acre recreation area is the canyon itself, boasting steep walls as deep as 2,500 feet in some locations. It’s quite a sight from hiking trails on the canyon rim or from a boat drifting on the river below. Photo by Todd Johnson, National Park Service.
With dawn’s light peeking over the horizon and snow dusting the steep rock walls, this winter scene at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado reminds us of a Van Gogh painting. Every determined tree and each ripple of stone stands out, telling a story that spans geologic eras. Lesser known than other Colorado parks, the Black Canyon can be a stunning surprise to first time visitors. Photo by James Broscheid (www.sharetheexperience.org).
It’s National Take A Hike Day! Some of the best places in the country to enjoy a walk outdoors are on public lands. National parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas – as well as National Scenic Trails, National Recreation Trails and National Historic Trails – are amazing places to exercise, marvel at stunning landscapes, learn incredible stories and make lasting memories. Here’s a great view from the famous South Kaibab Trail at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Where will you #FindYourWay? Photo by Michael Quinn, National Park Service.
Rafting is a popular way to experience Dinosaur National Monument’s remote canyons. From origins high in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, the Green and Yampa Rivers wind their way past steep canyon walls and across sagebrush-covered plains. Some stretches are calm and peaceful, others promise the thrill of swift rapids. All offer amazing views and fun outdoor adventures. Photo by Alan Nyiri, National Park Service volunteer.