The large trees at Muir Woods National Monument in California are coastal redwoods, the tallest of all living things. Undisturbed, redwoods can grow taller than the Statue of Liberty and live longer than 1,200 years. Looking up at these incredible trees in an unforgettable experience. As John Muir said, “Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of autumn.” Photo by National Park Service.
A dramatic backdrop of ocean, rocks and islands are hallmarks of the California Coastal National Monument at Trinidad Head. About 30 miles north of Eureka, California, lies the majestic promontory that encompasses several historic sites like the Trinidad Head Light Station, which first operated in 1871. Outdoor adventurers can choose a hike around Trinidad Head for great views of the coastal rocks and islands, stroll along the beaches and marvel at the birds, including cormorants, common murres and tufted puffins. Photo by by John Ciccarelli, Bureau of Land Management.
Bobcats thrive at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico but are rarely seen. Mostly nocturnal, they use stealth and excellent night vision to hunt small mammals in darkness. Bobcats are usually tawny with darker spots and streaks on their body and legs, and light-colored undersides. They have short black tufts on their ears and a ruff of longer fur on their face. The kittens may look like ordinary house cats, but they quickly grow to twice the size of domestic cats. Photo by National Park Service.
Sometimes you have to get below the surface to truly appreciate public lands. Cave systems are fascinating places and can be found at several unique parks across the country. Jewel Cave National Monument in South Dakota boasts over 195 miles of mapped and surveyed passages, an underground wilderness that appeals to human curiosity. The splendor of this hidden gem is revealed through fragile formations and glimpses of brilliant color. Its maze of passages lure explorers, and its scientific wealth remains a mystery. Photo of a lantern tour by Christopher Raborn (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.
It’s the first day of spring! We hope you’re making plans to get outside on your public lands to enjoy the coming color. We’re excited for scenes like last year’s Superbloom at Carrizo Plain National Monument in California, where wildflowers put on a spectacular show. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management.
At 10,000 feet above sea level, Cedar Breaks National Monument gets you just a little closer to the moon. With epic night skies, unique red rock canyons and excellent wildlife viewing, Cedar Breaks is another must-see on your next adventure. Winter activities include snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross country skiing on miles of awesome trails. Photo by Richard Cozzens (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Snow clings to the jagged sides of Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. This astounding geologic feature is considered sacred to the Northern Plains Indians and other tribes, who call it “Bear’s Tipi” or “Bear’s Lodge.” Winter activities include hiking and cross-country skiing, but a word of caution: trails are not maintained during the winter months. Check out more amazing photos of public lands in winter: https://on.doi.gov/2Bt6ijV. Photo by 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.