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.
From tidepooling to witnessing Oregon’s tallest lighthouse, there is something for every visitor at Yaquina Head. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area extends out from the Oregon coast, one mile into the Pacific Ocean. Standing 93 feet tall at the westernmost point of the basalt headland, the lighthouse has been a bright beacon of the night, guiding ships and their supplies along the west coast since the light was first lit on August 20, 1873. In the tide pools, visitors can see marine life such as anemones, urchins, mussels, barnacles and seastars. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
Olympic National Park’s 73-mile long wilderness coast is a rare treasure. This Washington park is home to rocky headlands, sandy beaches and tidepools teeming with life. Offshore sea stacks topped by nesting seabirds and wind-sheared trees add to the already picturesque landscape of Ruby Beach. Sunset photo by Brooke McLean (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Glimpsed from Seattle, Washington, or viewed from up close, Mount Rainier at sunset is an incredible sight. Trails throughout Mount Rainier National Park offer amazing chances to take pictures of the mountain, walk through colorful wildflower meadows, hang out next to still alpine lakes and encounter fascinating wildlife. One visit might not be enough. Photo courtesy of Albert Yang.
What a sight! Despite being one of the snowiest places in Oregon, the last signs of winter have finally disappeared from Crater Lake National Park. The melted snow recharges the lake, home to some of the clearest waters in the world. Enjoy amazing views of this sapphire jewel on a hike, ride or drive on Rim Road. Photo by Nathanael Asaro (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Happy 80th Birthday to Olympic National Park! Named after the Olympic Mountains it encompasses, Olympic National Park in Washington was established on June 29, 1938 to preserve the area’s unique wildlife and landscapes. With snow-capped mountains, lush forests and picturesque beaches, few parks posses such a variety of sights and experiences. Photo by Kristopher Schoenleber (www.sharetheexperience.org).
What are you doing for National Get Outdoors Day? If you’re a fan of public lands, you could frolic in the sand at a national seashore, take a peaceful hike in a wilderness area, go bird watching in a wildlife refuge or enjoy breathtaking views at our incredible national parks. These deer at Olympic National Park in Washington seem to have the right idea. Photo by Jason Horstman (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Sunlight streaming through leaves, the chirps and squeaks of birds and animals in the trees, and the rich scents of the outdoors make the forest a happy place for many people. Today on International Day of Forests, we recognize these special places and their importance to wildlife and recreation. Photo of the Sol Duc rainforest at Olympic National Park in Washington by Adam Jewell (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Happy birthday, Mount Rainier National Park! Established in 1899, our 5th national park has been amazing visitors for 119 years. Home to the tallest mountain in Washington, the park is a wonderland of history, wildlife and natural beauty. Gorgeous in every season, there’s nothing quite like the park’s summer wildflower blooms. Put this park on your bucketlist! Photo by Danny Seidman (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Along the lower reaches of the Columbia River in Washington, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge preserves unique habitat for wintering birds and other fascinating wildlife. Quiet and attentive visitors may be treated to the sight of a long tailed weasel running across a trail or a group of river otters playing in the water. Look out over distant fields and you might see a coyote hunting for rodents or a white tailed deer grazing watchfully. The refuge is a place where people can share a bond with nature, and each other, by passing on outdoor traditions to new generations. Sunset photo by Donna Torres (www.sharetheexperience.org).