After hiking past the turbulent Tanalian Falls, the serenity of Kontrashibuna Lake is a pleasant surprise. Just one of many stunning landscapes at Lake Clark National Park & Preserve in Alaska, the lake’s frigid waters are colored a light blue by glacial dust and lap at the edges of rich forests and rugged mountains. Fall colors make the area even more popular with intrepid visitors. Photo by W. Hill, National Park Service.
The first touches of fall are in the air at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. While most of the trees in this Colorado park are still green, snow showers dusted the Sangre de Cristo Mountains over the weekend, and the highest aspen groves are beginning to turn gold. This photo was taken south of the dunes looking toward California Peak at 13,855 feet. Photo by Patrick Myers, National Park Service.
As you enter Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California, Moro Rock looms overhead, thousands of feet above the highway. This large granite dome is a spectacular geologic feature that can be enjoyed from above or below. A concrete and stone stairway leads over 350 steps to the summit where views open up from the foothills and San Joaquin Valley to the west, to deep into wilderness to the east. View from the top of Moro Rock by Cheryl Dickinson (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Many mountains and streams go unnamed on maps of Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve in Alaska. The wilderness is vast and untamed, forcing the people who explore this gorgeous landscape to depend on themselves. Maintaining its wild and undeveloped character, the park offers opportunities to experience both quiet solitude and thrilling recreation. Photo by National Park Service.
Exit Glacier is the only part of Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska accessible by road. From the Nature Center, visitors can explore trails, walk very close to an active glacier or take a ranger-led walk. It’s a place where you can witness up close how glaciers re-shape a landscape and learn how plant life reclaims the barren rocky land exposed by a glacier’s retreat. In the summer, the wildflower blooms and endless views make the experience magical. Photo by Catherine Danley (www.sharetheexperience.org).
When you close your eyes and picture a mountain, you probably conjure up a vision closely resembling Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The rugged range swiftly rising above a verdant plain – catching the light of an ever changing sky – is something that once seen, can never be forgotten. Photo by Larry Chow (www.sharethexperience.org).