These Killer Photos from U.S. National Parks Will Make You Want to Pack Now
By Hal Amen
How would you go about designating, managing, and protecting the prime wilderness areas of the United States, a country of 3.8 million square miles and many of the most spectacular natural features in the world? Despite the enormity of the task, the U.S. National Park Service has done a phenomenal job.
Americans and those who visit the U.S. from abroad have access to 59 different national parks, whose characteristics and opportunities, taken together, are more diverse than those of anywhere else in the world. From glaciers to mangroves to waterfalls to canyons to towering forests — if you visited all 59 of America’s national parks, you would have a pretty thorough understanding of our planet’s geology and ecology.
Many of these park names will be familiar to you. Some you may be hearing for the first time. But whether they see 10 million annual visitors or barely 1,000, all are worth a trip. Here’s some inspiration to get you planning.
Wrangell–St. Elias National Park
The largest park in the country, Wrangell-St. Elias (top photo) lies in a corner of southern Alaska, adjacent to the Yukon’s Kluane National Park just over the border. Its 20,000 square miles make for a whole lot of potential exploration; pictured above is a hiker on the Skookum Volcano Trail.
Shenandoah National Park (Photo: Brandon Atkinson/Flickr)
Shenandoah National Park
Encompassing a long strip of both the Blue Ridge Mountains and adjacent Shenandoah River Valley, this Virginia national park gets super popular during the fall, when leaf peepers arrive to complete the 105-mile Skyline Drive.
Yellowstone National Park(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)