Game and Nature Reserve

Yellowstone National Park is a nearly 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness recreation area atop a volcanic hot spot. Mostly in Wyoming, the park spreads into parts of Montana and Idaho too. Yellowstone features dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests, hot springs and gushing geysers, including its most famous, Old Faithful. It’s also home to hundreds of animal species, including bears, wolves, bison, elk and antelope.

Grand Canyon National Park, in Arizona, is home to much of the immense Grand Canyon, with its layered bands of red rock revealing millions of years of geological history. Viewpoints include Mather Point, Yavapai Observation Station and architect Mary Colter’s Lookout Studio and her Desert View Watchtower. Lipan Point, with wide views of the canyon and Colorado River, is a popular, especially at sunrise and sunset.

Yosemite National Park is in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s famed for its giant, ancient sequoia trees, and for Tunnel View, the iconic vista of towering Bridalveil Fall and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. In Yosemite Village are shops, restaurants, lodging, the Yosemite Museum and the Ansel Adams Gallery, with prints of the photographer’s renowned black-and-white landscapes of the area.

Bryce Canyon National Park, a sprawling reserve in southern Utah, is known for crimson-colored hoodoos, which are spire-shaped rock formations. The park’s main road leads past the expansive Bryce Amphitheater, a hoodoo-filled depression lying below the Rim Trail hiking path. It has overlooks at Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point and Bryce Point. Prime viewing times are around sunup and sundown.

Zion National Park is a southwest Utah nature preserve distinguished by Zion Canyon’s steep red cliffs. Zion Canyon Scenic Drive cuts through its main section, leading to forest trails along the Virgin River. The river flows to the Emerald Pools, which have waterfalls and a hanging garden. Also along the river, partly through deep chasms, is Zion Narrows wading hike. To the west of the Virgin River, the challenging Angels Landing Trail leads to a 5,785-ft. summit overlooking Zion Canyon and the Great White Throne mountain.

Glacier National Park is a 1,583-sq.-mi. wilderness area in Montana’s Rocky Mountains, with glacier-carved peaks and valleys running to the Canadian border. It’s crossed by the mountainous Going-to-the-Sun Road. Among more than 700 miles of hiking trails, it has a route to photogenic Hidden Lake. Other activities include backpacking, cycling and camping. Diverse wildlife ranges from mountain goats to grizzly bears.

Everglades National Park is a U.S. National Park in Florida that protects the southern 20 percent of the original Everglades. In the United States, it is the largest tropical wilderness, the largest wilderness of any kind east of the Mississippi River, and is visited on average by one million people each year. It is the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states after Death Valley and Yellowstone. It has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance.

Denali National Park and Preserve encompasses 6 million acres of Alaska’s interior wilderness. Its centerpiece is 20,310-ft.-high Denali (fka Mount McKinley), North America’s tallest peak. With terrain of tundra, spruce forest and glaciers, the park is home to wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou and Dall sheep. Popular activities in summer include biking, backpacking, hiking and mountaineering.

Death Valley National Park straddles eastern California and Nevada. It’s known for Titus Canyon, with a ghost town and colorful rocks, and Badwater Basin’s salt flats, North America’s lowest point. Above, Telescope Peak Trail weaves past pine trees. North of the spiky salt mounds known as the Devil’s Golf Course, rattlesnakes live in Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Near Nevada is the Spanish-style mansion Scotty’s Castle.

Sequoia National Park is adjacent to Kings Canyon National Park in California’s southern Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s known for its huge sequoia trees, notably the General Sherman Tree dominating the Giant Forest. The underground Crystal Cave features streams and striking rock formations. Moro Rock is a granite dome offering sweeping park views. Nearby is the Tunnel Tree, a toppled tree cut to accommodate the road.

Olympic National Park is on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest. The park sprawls across several different ecosystems, from the dramatic peaks of the Olympic Mountains to old-growth forests. The summit of glacier-clad Mt. Olympus is popular with climbers, and numerous hiking and backpacking trails cut through the park’s rainforests and along its Pacific coastline.

Rocky Mountain National Park in northern Colorado spans the Continental Divide and encompasses protected mountains, forests and alpine tundra. It’s known for the Trail Ridge Road and the Old Fall River Road, drives that pass aspen trees and rivers. The Keyhole Route, a climb crossing vertical rock faces, leads up Longs Peak, the park’s tallest mountain. A trail surrounding Bear Lake offers views of the peaks.

Grand Teton National Park is in the northwest of the U.S state of Wyoming. It encompasses the Teton mountain range, the 4,000-meter Grand Teton peak, and the valley known as Jackson Hole. It’s a popular destination in summer for mountaineering, hiking, backcountry camping and fishing, linked to nearby Yellowstone National Park by the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.

Mammoth Cave National Park is in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It’s home to the Mammoth Cave, a long cave system of chambers and subterranean passageways. Sites include the Frozen Niagara section, known for waterfall-like flowstone formations, and Gothic Avenue, its ceiling covered in 19th-century visitors’ signatures. Trails take in other park features like the Green and Nolin rivers and the sinkholes of Cedar Sink.

Arches National Park lies north of Moab in the state of Utah. Bordered by the Colorado River in the southeast, it’s known as the site of more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, such as the massive, red-hued Delicate Arch in the east. Long, thin Landscape Arch stands in Devils Garden to the north. Other geological formations include Balanced Rock, towering over the desert landscape in the middle of the park.

 

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