Great American Parks
Collected by Andi Fisher, AFAR Local Expert
America the Beautiful. The United States is vast. The size of our country brings us a unique advantage over a lot of countries in the world in that we have a lot of beautiful national and state parks just ready to be explored!
Furnace Creek, CA 92328, USA
hiking through mesquite dunes in death valley is an amazing communion with mother nature. One knows civilization is directly south once out in the middle if dunes, but the feeling of being completely lost is overwhelming among the high dunes and...
As someone born and raised in Austin, Texas I was shocked that West Texas had so much to offer and that I had not visited sooner. The small, but cowboy chic, Terlingua Ghost Town just outside the National Park made a great place for brunch before...
This national park is centered along the spine plateau above Bryce Canyon, which drops to the east from the main park road. Along the road are numerous pull-offs for enjoying views down into the canyon, with its miles and miles of awe-inspiring...
Yellowstone National Park is no secret by any stretch of the imagination. Yellowstone is one of America's most popular tourist destinations, and with good reason; there few places in the country where you can rub shoulders with grizzlies, smack...
Big Bend National Park, TX, USA
One my favorite short hikes in Big Bend National Park is the Window Trail which leads directly to "The Window", a large rock canyon that cuts through the Chisos Mountains rim, allowing drainage from the Basin to the Chihuahuan Desert. The V-shaped...
If you have never had the opportunity to see Crater Lake in person, nothing can quite prepare you for the intense azul waters reflecting the sky. The deepest lake in the US, it is made up completely of collected water from melted snow and rain...
Mormon Row, Wyoming, USA
One of the most exciting facets of life on the road is finding new ways to look at frequently photographed locations. Mormon Row is iconic Americana, right up there with the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, and the Welcome to Las Vegas sign,...
11450 State Hwy Park Rd 5, Canyon, TX 79015, USA
A half hour south of Amarillo lies the second-largest canyon in the United States. Palo Duro offers lovely hiking and camping along its 120-mile length. Georgia O’Keeffe painted landscapes inspired by what she called the “burning, seething...
For several summers, I just couldn't seem to get the timing right for wildflowers while hiking around Mt. Rainier: too early, too late, too cold, rain...Finally, one summer, although the skies were grey and getting lower on the glaciers, I arrived...
Mono Lake, California 93541, USA
The colors and incredible rocks at Mono Lake draw you in. It is like no place I have ever visited. The rock formations are called Tufa towers which form in a variety of ways at Mono Lake. The most visible formations are the towers on the lake’s...
675 Dead Horse Ranch Rd, Cottonwood, AZ 86326, USA
The sweeping view in Utah's Dead Horse State Park was made famous by the final scene in Thelma and Louise. The park is mostly comprised of a small overlook area, but the grand scenery of the valley below is breathtaking. It is a quick and worthy...
Hike, bike, or ride at your leisure up through Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Colorado. For photographers, I recommend taking Trail Ridge Road for its vast opportunity to stop off and take pictures of beautiful views. The trip begins in the...
3002 Mt Angeles Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98362, USA
My daughter didn't label this part of her photo album "Mirkwood" for no reason. Not a giant spider in sight (thankfully), but if we had seen an elf behind a tree in Hoh Rain Forest, we hardly would have found it unanticipated. Despite the other...
17119 Avenue of the Giants, Weott, CA 95571, USA
We couldn't find the signs for Bull Creek Trail. We asked other hikers. They couldn't find it either. We wandered for a while, finally gave up, and wandered aimlessly, crossing the creek. The idea of finding the trail evaporated from our minds as...
Phelps Lake, Wyoming 83014, USA
Jackson Hole in the summer is one of the most beautiful places in the US and Phelps Lake in Grand Teton National Park is an example why. Hike about an hour down to the locals favorite "Jumping Rock" where you can jump 20 feet into this pristine...
Oljato-Monument Valley, UT 84536, USA
Nuzzled up against the Arizona border about 100 miles west of Four Corners are some 30 square miles of the most iconic scenery in the American West. Monument Valley is one of those places that you’ll recognize as soon as you see...
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