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).
The peaceful beauty of a winter sunset at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon gives few hints of the landscape’s violent past. For approximately 400,000 years, volcanic eruptions built up a 12,000 foot mountain now called Mt. Mazama. 7,700 years ago, the volcano erupted in a cataclysmic explosion. Fatally weakened, the top of the mountain collapsed and created the hole – the caldera – that we now see today filled with pristine blue water. Photo courtesy of Albert Yang.
The last moments of light before the sun sets at Zion National Park in Utah are a sight to behold. The Watchman stands tall overlooking the Virgin River flowing along the iconic trail. A view like this is easier to achieve than you might think. Pick a few days and plan your next adventure. Photo courtesy of Kenny Chen.
The purple light of dawn glows in the morning sky above Mount Moran at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The winter air is cold and fresh as frost and snow cover this gorgeous landscape. Less than 10 million years old, the Tetons are one of the youngest mountain ranges in North America. In that time, Mount Moran has risen 6,000 feet above the valley and supported the creation of Falling Ice and Skillet glaciers. Photo courtesy of Daniel Ewert.
Happy Birthday to us! The U.S. Department of the Interior was officially created on March 3, 1849. For 170 years, Interior’s mission has expanded to include protecting and managing our natural resources and cultural heritage, providing scientific solutions and honoring trust responsibilities to our nation’s first people. With public lands being what we’re best known for, instead of candles on a cake, we’ll celebrate with sunlight glowing on a gorgeous mountain. Photo at Glacier National Park in Montana courtesy of Christina Adele Warburg-Hon.
Sometimes things just work out. Photographer Rebecca Helen was planning for some awesome shots at Yosemite National Park in January, but the weather wasn’t cooperating. Finally, on her last day in the California park, “the sun pierced through the clouds. I fired off shots as quickly as I could, and as I was finishing up, the clouds rolled back over El Capitan and swallowed it in a gray haze. I jumped up and down with excitement, so pumped I finally got that wondrous shot I had envisioned. Yosemite, I will be dreaming of you for a long time yet.“ Photo courtesy of Rebecca Helen.
Vieques National Wildlife Refuge in Puerto Rico offers access to quiet beaches, spectacular ocean views and topnotch snorkeling. The refuge was created to maintain rare subtropical dry forest habitat, help local wildlife and protect historical and archeological sites. It’s a blend of rich heritage and the soothing calm of paradise. Photo courtesy of Keenan Adams.
Walking through a redwood grove on a fog-shrouded morning can be an unforgettable experience. Sounds are reduced to the musical gurgle of water trickling amongst ferns and mossy rocks. Light ebbs with the somber mist and shafts of sun hang like cobwebs. Stillness and peace weave their spells upon the respectful traveler. Seriously, it’s time to visit Redwood National & State Parks in California. Photo by Michael Wu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Sunset in the desert is a special moment. Distant mountains glow with color and shadows spread over the curving dunes. Mesquite Flat Dunes are the best known and easiest to visit in Death Valley National Park in California. The highest dunes rise to about 100 feet and spread out like waves on a dry sea. Visitors can learn about how these massive sand formations are created and explore three types of dunes: crescent, linear and star shaped. Photo by
David Kiene (www.sharetheexperience.org).
It’s the First Day of Winter! At many public lands like Arches National Park in Utah, winter offers relief from large crowds and high temperatures. Still, be aware of the challenges of snowy roads and slippery trails. With a little planning, you can enjoy frosty views and fresh air adventure. Photo by Michael Wu (www.sharetheexperience.org).