There’s nothing like a 5 am sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean with the pink rocks of Maine’s rugged coastline illuminated by the golden light. Experience this amazing sight and others with free entrance to all national parks on Friday, August 25. We hope you get out there and #FindYourPark.
Photo from Acadia National Park by Lorianne Simon (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The short Alaska summer pulls back a blanket of snow and offers visitors epic views of mind-boggling landscapes. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve is our country’s largest national park and home to wide river valleys, towering mountain ranges and a glacier larger than the state of Rhode Island. Add in amazing wildlife and volcanoes, and this park is an adventurer’s dream. Photo by Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service.
There are some moments in nature that leave you breathless. Take an early morning walk in Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia. Follow the trails past calm wetlands. Listen to night noises begin to quiet. Look up over a misty field to see the golden sun rise above a stand of trees. Find your perfect nature moment. Photo by Kris Orr (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The 101-foot tall Rainbow Falls is just one of the many natural wonders found at Devils Postpile National Monument in California. Nestled in pristine mountain scenery, the Devils Postpile formation is a rare geologic spectacle of hundreds of symmetrical basalt columns. Lucky glimpses of black bears and pine martens amaze hikers. Wildflower blooms bring vivid color to the landscape. Don’t you want to see it all now? Photo by Cat Connor (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Happy birthday to the Appalachian Trail! Completed on August 14, 1937, the A.T. is a 2,180-mile long footpath that traverses the Appalachian Mountains from Georgia to Maine. Conceived in 1921 and built by private citizens over the next 15 years, the entire Appalachian Trail has been conquered by over 17,500 thru-hikers. Most challengers start off in Georgia in March and April and take 5-6 months to complete the journey. Along the way, hikers push their limits, make friends and enjoy spectacular scenery. It’s a great place to #FindYourWay. Photo from the AT in Shenandoah National Park by Kah-Wai Lin (www.sharetheexperience.org).
One of the most strenuous trails in North Cascades National Park reaps stunning rewards for those willing and able to make the grueling trek. The historic lookout on the summit of Washington’s Sourdough Mountain can be approached via Diablo or Pierce Mountain sides. Both trails are steep, and both pass through forest and meadow communities before arriving at the rocky lookout site with views of lakes, peaks and glaciers in every direction. Pictured here is the view never the top of Sourdough Mountain with Diablo Lake visible down below. Photo by Chris Holm, National Park Service.
You never know what you’ll see at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Emerging from cover after a storm, Ron Hazeloop chased a rainbow to Spruce Lake and just happened to catch a large bull moose standing in the water. Snapping the photo, he called it “a magical moment.” Photo by Ron Hazeloop (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Gifford Pinchot is often called the “Father of American Forestry.” His life and legacy shaped American conservation and our public lands. Celebrate his birthday and check out his story https://on.doi.gov/Pinchot Photo of Gifford Pinchot National Forest by Pat Di Geronimo (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Located within the Pacific Flyway, Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge in California is an important resting and nesting place for migrating birds. With a fascinating history and an uncertain future, the refuge takes visitors 227 feet below sea level to witness a stunning desert landscape. It can get extremely hot in August, but well prepared adventurers can still find gulls and migrating shorebirds. Photo by Sarah Chah (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore’s protected bays, pristine beaches and natural beauty provide outstanding water recreation. Public docks are found on 12 of the islands in the Wisconsin national lakeshore, and visitors can explore this area of Lake Superior by boat, kayak or canoe. Use safe boating practices and you’ll enjoy fun times and stunning scenery. Photo by Jasmine Wilhelm (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Towering 800 feet above the North Platte River, Scotts Bluff in Nebraska has served as a landmark for peoples – from Native Americans to emigrants on the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails to modern travelers. Rich with geological and paleontological history as well as human history, there is much to discover while exploring the 3,000 acres of Scotts Bluff National Monument. Photo by Brian Poffenberger, National Park Service.
For National Lighthouse Day, we’re featuring the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina. Protecting mariners in an area known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” the lighthouse was built in 1870 and is distinctive for its spiral black and white paint pattern. It remains the tallest brick lighthouse in America and is a favorite subject of visiting photographers. Photo by Stacy Abbott (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Learn more about the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse: https://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/chls.htm
Southwest Colorado’s Alpine Loop National Backcountry Byway provides access to some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere in the Rockies. Here, jagged peaks up to 14,000 feet in elevation rise above rushing streams and wildflower-filled meadows. A few miles further West, the American Basin in Handies Peak Wilderness Study Area has a plethora of wildflowers including fields of Colorado’s state flower, the columbine. You can scale 14,000 foot Handies Peak with a long non-technical but demanding day hike. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
In the last four years of the 19th century, over 100,000 prospectors flooded into the Klondike region of Alaska and Canada looking for gold. Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park not only tells the stories of these pioneers, it preserves 13,000 acres of historic sites and stunning wilderness. Traveling the trails is like going back in time. Photo by C. Anderson, National Park Service.
With fluffy feathers, large eyes and dramatic facial expressions, these birds of prey have long been fan favorites. There are 150 species of owls worldwide and 19 that call North America home, providing plenty of opportunities to spot these birds on public lands or in your backyard.
While they may look adorable, owls are fierce hunters. These well-adapted predators are silent hunters with excellent eyesight and hearing, allowing them to soar through the night sky in search of prey. Some scientists estimate that a single owl can eat 2,000 rodents a year.
Be sure to check out more owl photos – they’re a real hoot! https://on.doi.gov/owls
The colors at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Oregon will make you do a doubletake. The yellows, golds, blacks, greens and reds of the Painted Hills are beautiful at all times of the day, but are best lit for photography in the late afternoon. Changing light and moisture levels can drastically affect the tones and hues visible in the hills. It’s easy to become immersed in the views, but please remember to stay on the trails. Photo by Bill Vollmer (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Vulture Peak’s jagged profile glowing in the sunset light is a dramatic sight rising above the Arizona desert. Walking up the eroded remains of an ancient volcano, hikers are treated to stunning views and curious rock formations along the trail. If you’re thinking of conquering the summit this summer, park in the Bureau of Land Management lot and take plenty of water! Photo by Raymond Lee (www.sharetheexperience.org). @mypubliclands
Shenandoah National Park in Virginia has over 500 miles of trails, including 101 miles of the famous Appalachian Trail. Some trails lead to a waterfall or viewpoint; others penetrate deep into the forest and wilderness. With such an abundance of trail options and the famous Skyline Drive, it’s easy to find an adventure to fit your interest and ability. Sunrise photo by N. Lewis, National Park Service.
Loggerhead Key – located almost 70 miles west of Key West, Florida – is the largest island of Dry Tortugas National Park. Covering about 49 acres, it is home to a 160-year-old lighthouse and some truly excellent sites for snorkeling and diving. Along with amazing coral formations, divers can find a variety of colorful reef fish, including parrotfish, angel fish, triggerfish and damselfish. Just remember, look but don’t touch. Not only will an accidental brush up against the coral probably kill it, you may be bumping into any number of potentially dangerous animals, include fire coral, jellyfish, sea urchins or the exotic venomous lionfish. Photo by Bryan Goff (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Whether you delight in the challenge of a strenuous hike to spectacular views, the thrill of rafting through a twisting canyon, getting up close to famous dinosaur fossils, or sitting quietly and watching the sunset, Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado and Utah offers endless opportunities for adventure. The hardest part may be choosing what to do first. Sunset from Wagon Wheel Point courtesy of Louis Kamler.