America - the most epic place on Earth

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America - the most epic place on Earth:

America - the most epic place on Earth Source : The Telegraph Music : Neil Diamond Author : Beatrice Vaisman

 Sequoia National Park, California The highlights here are, of course, those giant sequoias. Chief among them is General Sherman tree, pictured here, which grows in the Giant Forest, home to five of the ten largest trees in the world.  :

 Sequoia National Park, California The highlights here are, of course, those giant sequoias. Chief among them is General Sherman tree, pictured here, which grows in the Giant Forest, home to five of the ten largest trees in the world. 

Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords, Alaska The best way to explore this icy wonderland is aboard a boat (or kayak) on Resurrection Bay. From your front-row seat you’ll be dazzled by smoky fjords, remote outlying islands and the chance to view blue tidewater glaciers up-close. :

Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords, Alaska The best way to explore this icy wonderland is aboard a boat (or kayak) on Resurrection Bay. From your front-row seat you’ll be dazzled by smoky fjords, remote outlying islands and the chance to view blue tidewater glaciers up-close.

 Tunnel View, Yosemite, California In the heart of Yosemite Valley you’ll spy more natural wonders in a minute than you will anywhere else in an entire day. California’s Yosemite sparkles as a crown jewel of the national parks, showcasing not just glacier-carved beauty but a panoply of superlatives: North America’s highest waterfall (Yosemite Falls); the world’s tallest uninterrupted granite monolith (El Capitan) and mountains that Ralph Waldo Emerson dubbed “unmatched on the globe.” :

 Tunnel View, Yosemite, California In the heart of Yosemite Valley you’ll spy more natural wonders in a minute than you will anywhere else in an entire day. California’s Yosemite sparkles as a crown jewel of the national parks, showcasing not just glacier-carved beauty but a panoply of superlatives: North America’s highest waterfall (Yosemite Falls); the world’s tallest uninterrupted granite monolith (El Capitan) and mountains that Ralph Waldo Emerson dubbed “unmatched on the globe.”

Zion, Utah In a state blessed with a profusion of national parks, Utah’s Zion — the state’s first national park and its most popular — overextends itself with orangey-red rock walls, slickrock peaks, slot canyons and hanging valleys towering more than 2,000 feet above the centerpiece Zion Canyon.  :

Zion, Utah In a state blessed with a profusion of national parks, Utah’s Zion — the state’s first national park and its most popular — overextends itself with orangey-red rock walls, slickrock peaks, slot canyons and hanging valleys towering more than 2,000 feet above the centerpiece Zion Canyon. 

Yellowstone A vast volcanic playground in northwest Wyoming, Yellowstone flaunts the world’s most amazing concentration of thermal features — more than 10,000 — including mud pots, hot springs, fumaroles and, of course, geysers.  :

Yellowstone A vast volcanic playground in northwest Wyoming, Yellowstone flaunts the world’s most amazing concentration of thermal features — more than 10,000 — including mud pots, hot springs, fumaroles and, of course, geysers. 

Arches, Utah You may be familiar with Utah’s Arches already, without having been there, as this striking park, with its 2,000-plus sandstone arches, has served as a backdrop to countless Hollywood flicks, including Indiana Jones, and Thelma & Louise and many of those starring John Wayne. :

Arches, Utah You may be familiar with Utah’s Arches already, without having been there, as this striking park, with its 2,000-plus sandstone arches, has served as a backdrop to countless Hollywood flicks, including Indiana Jones, and Thelma & Louise and many of those starring John Wayne.

Newfound Gap, Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee It’s true that Great Smoky Mountains is the nation’s number one visited national park — in part because of the busy scenic highway that cuts through its middle, offering bumper-to-bumper views in summer as people drive straight through. That said, with 521,896 wild acres beckoning from beyond, there’s no excuse to get stuck in traffic. :

Newfound Gap, Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee It’s true that Great Smoky Mountains is the nation’s number one visited national park — in part because of the busy scenic highway that cuts through its middle, offering bumper-to-bumper views in summer as people drive straight through. That said, with 521,896 wild acres beckoning from beyond, there’s no excuse to get stuck in traffic.

Horseshoe Bend, Grand Canyon, Arizona Nearly everyone has seen photographs of Arizona’s famous gorge, measuring a mile deep and up to 18 miles wide. But nothing prepares you for its vastness, or intense beauty, as you stand on its edge, peering far, far down to the Colorado River. That snake of a river is responsible for carving the canyon’s many layers, the different colors hinting at their age; the oldest, the pink-and-white-veined granite along the bottom, dates back 1.8 billion years.  :

Horseshoe Bend, Grand Canyon, Arizona Nearly everyone has seen photographs of Arizona’s famous gorge, measuring a mile deep and up to 18 miles wide. But nothing prepares you for its vastness, or intense beauty, as you stand on its edge, peering far, far down to the Colorado River. That snake of a river is responsible for carving the canyon’s many layers, the different colors hinting at their age; the oldest, the pink-and-white-veined granite along the bottom, dates back 1.8 billion years. 

Rocky Mountain, Colorado Just 1.5 hours north of Denver, Rocky Mountain showcases 72 named peaks higher than 12,000 dizzying feet. No wonder they call it the “roof of the world.” Indeed, nowhere else in the United States can you access such gorgeous alpine scenery with such ease. :

Rocky Mountain, Colorado Just 1.5 hours north of Denver, Rocky Mountain showcases 72 named peaks higher than 12,000 dizzying feet. No wonder they call it the “roof of the world.” Indeed, nowhere else in the United States can you access such gorgeous alpine scenery with such ease.

 Saguaro, Arizona Standing guard over the Sonoran Desert with uplifted arms, the saguaro cactus has been dubbed the desert monarch. With reason. Some may reach over 50 feet tall and last up to 200 years – the biggest may have 40 twisting arms. Beloved symbol of the Old West, this prickly giant is the linchpin of Saguaro National Park, which comprises two units straddling Tucson, Arizona. :

 Saguaro, Arizona Standing guard over the Sonoran Desert with uplifted arms, the saguaro cactus has been dubbed the desert monarch. With reason. Some may reach over 50 feet tall and last up to 200 years – the biggest may have 40 twisting arms. Beloved symbol of the Old West, this prickly giant is the linchpin of Saguaro National Park, which comprises two units straddling Tucson, Arizona.

 Isle Royale, Michigan You must truly desire solitude to strike out for Isle Royale, a remote archipelago consisting of one narrow, 45-mile-long island and more than 450 smaller isles in Lake Superior. The park gets fewer visitors in a year (18,000) than Yellowstone sees in a day (26,000-plus). First off, the only way to get here is by boat or seaplane (ferries leave from mainland ports in Michigan and Minnesota, 56 miles and 15 miles respectively). There are no roads — even bicycles aren’t allowed.  :

 Isle Royale, Michigan You must truly desire solitude to strike out for Isle Royale, a remote archipelago consisting of one narrow, 45-mile-long island and more than 450 smaller isles in Lake Superior. The park gets fewer visitors in a year (18,000) than Yellowstone sees in a day (26,000-plus). First off, the only way to get here is by boat or seaplane (ferries leave from mainland ports in Michigan and Minnesota, 56 miles and 15 miles respectively). There are no roads — even bicycles aren’t allowed. 

Acadia, Maine Every morning, in the predawn darkness, a crowd gathers on Cadillac Mountain, part of Mount Desert Island along the Atlantic seaboard, peering expectantly to the east. As soon as the sun peeks over the horizon they cheer — the first in the country to see the sun’s rays. And thus begins a brand-new day at Maine’s Acadia National Park. :

Acadia, Maine Every morning, in the predawn darkness, a crowd gathers on Cadillac Mountain, part of Mount Desert Island along the Atlantic seaboard, peering expectantly to the east. As soon as the sun peeks over the horizon they cheer — the first in the country to see the sun’s rays. And thus begins a brand-new day at Maine’s Acadia National Park.

Olympic, Washington Triply blessed with spellbinding ecosystems, Olympic amazes with an abundance of pristine beauty. Much of the park’s landscape, whether it’s mountain, rainforest, or coastline, remains as it has for hundreds of years. Above all rises Mount Olympus, named by a British fur trader who, upon viewing the mountain at sunset in 1788, thought it could be nothing else but the dwelling place of the gods.  :

Olympic, Washington Triply blessed with spellbinding ecosystems, Olympic amazes with an abundance of pristine beauty. Much of the park’s landscape, whether it’s mountain, rainforest, or coastline, remains as it has for hundreds of years. Above all rises Mount Olympus, named by a British fur trader who, upon viewing the mountain at sunset in 1788, thought it could be nothing else but the dwelling place of the gods. 

 Hawaii Volcanoes Watch land being born before your very eyes at Hawaii Volcanoes, one of the world’s most volcanically active spots. Comprising two active volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, the park stretches from the palm-fringed coastline south of Hilo to Mauna Loa’s steaming, 13,677-ft summit. :

 Hawaii Volcanoes Watch land being born before your very eyes at Hawaii Volcanoes, one of the world’s most volcanically active spots. Comprising two active volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, the park stretches from the palm-fringed coastline south of Hilo to Mauna Loa’s steaming, 13,677-ft summit. 

Glacier, Montana Given its name, you’d expect glaciers at Glacier — the Montana portion of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park that straddles the USA-Canada border. But there’s so much more: tiptop peaks rising abruptly from the plains, 762 turquoise alpine lakes, plunging waterfalls, a dazzling spring wildflower display — not to mention, mountain goats and grizzly bears.  :

Glacier, Montana Given its name, you’d expect glaciers at Glacier — the Montana portion of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park that straddles the USA-Canada border. But there’s so much more: tiptop peaks rising abruptly from the plains, 762 turquoise alpine lakes, plunging waterfalls, a dazzling spring wildflower display — not to mention, mountain goats and grizzly bears. 

 Channel Islands, California Though Channel Islands lies just 11 miles off the southern California coast, less than an hour away by boat, few people actually venture to this undeveloped, eight-island chain (five comprise the national park). What they’re missing: a sublime throwback to California of yore, where craggy arches, spindly spires and grassy hills jut up from the Pacific, without a car or mobile phone in sight. :

 Channel Islands, California Though Channel Islands lies just 11 miles off the southern California coast, less than an hour away by boat, few people actually venture to this undeveloped, eight-island chain (five comprise the national park). What they’re missing: a sublime throwback to California of yore, where craggy arches, spindly spires and grassy hills jut up from the Pacific, without a car or mobile phone in sight.

Everglades, Florida These million-plus acres of wetlands harbour 200 types of fish, 350 species of birds, 120 different kinds of trees and more than 1,000 kinds of plants. Drive the main 38-mile road through the park’s heart for a primer, making sure to stop along the way to hike the various trails.  :

Everglades, Florida These million-plus acres of wetlands harbour 200 types of fish, 350 species of birds, 120 different kinds of trees and more than 1,000 kinds of plants. Drive the main 38-mile road through the park’s heart for a primer, making sure to stop along the way to hike the various trails. 

Mammoth Cave, Kentucky To date, more than 400 miles of passages have been charted in Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave, a five-level labyrinth hidden beneath the state’s rumbled hills and hollows — and the end has yet to be found. With its concert-hall-size chambers jam-packed with lofty stone columns, snaggle-toothed icicles, shimmering draperies, frozen waterfalls and crystal-clear pools, it’s no wonder that Jules Verne, upon visiting in the 1800s, was inspired to write A Journey to the Center of the Earth. :

Mammoth Cave, Kentucky To date, more than 400 miles of passages have been charted in Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave, a five-level labyrinth hidden beneath the state’s rumbled hills and hollows — and the end has yet to be found. With its concert-hall-size chambers jam-packed with lofty stone columns, snaggle-toothed icicles, shimmering draperies, frozen waterfalls and crystal-clear pools, it’s no wonder that Jules Verne, upon visiting in the 1800s, was inspired to write A Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Grand Teton, Wyoming Grand Teton National Park, where the Teton mountain range kicks up, is Yellowstone’s immediate neighbour. The high point is the 4000-meter Grand Teton peak, and it's popular destination for mountaineering, hiking, backcountry camping and fishing.   :

Grand Teton, Wyoming Grand Teton National Park, where the Teton mountain range kicks up, is Yellowstone’s immediate neighbour. The high point is the 4000-meter Grand Teton peak, and it's popular destination for mountaineering, hiking, backcountry camping and fishing.  

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt’s beloved Badlands celebrate everything the great conservationist and 26th President loved about the Wild West: spectacularly corrugated cliffs, eroded buttes, steep gullies, craggy ravines and dome-shaped hills, striped with layers of rock and sediment in magnificent shades of purple, yellow, red and orange.  :

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt’s beloved Badlands celebrate everything the great conservationist and 26th President loved about the Wild West: spectacularly corrugated cliffs, eroded buttes, steep gullies, craggy ravines and dome-shaped hills, striped with layers of rock and sediment in magnificent shades of purple, yellow, red and orange. 

Mono Lake, California While not park of a national park (it's on Highway 395, 13 miles east of Yosemite), Mono Lake's unusual appearance makes it a popular attraction. It was described by Mark Twain as "the loneliest place on Earth".  :

Mono Lake, California While not park of a national park (it's on Highway 395, 13 miles east of Yosemite), Mono Lake's unusual appearance makes it a popular attraction. It was described by Mark Twain as "the loneliest place on Earth". 

Bryce Canyon, Utah It is the hoodoos that make Bryce Canyon so remarkable - the spires, fins and windows of eroded and beautifully coloured rock formations. This small national park also has vast stone ampitheatres, mountains that reach 9,000ft and is perfect for hiking. :

Bryce Canyon, Utah It is the hoodoos that make Bryce Canyon so remarkable - the spires, fins and windows of eroded and beautifully coloured rock formations. This small national park also has vast stone ampitheatres, mountains that reach 9,000ft and is perfect for hiking.

 Denali, Alaska Only one road accesses six-million-acre Denali, a single, mostly unpaved, 92-mile strip that opens up dramatic views of the subarctic wilderness — and perhaps offers the best chance to experience wildlife of any national park. No cars are allowed beyond Mile 15; everyone must jump aboard a shuttle bus. This is a good thing, given the road’s precipitous, winding nature (and the temptation to keep peering at the ever-more-dramatic landscape). :

 Denali, Alaska Only one road accesses six-million-acre Denali, a single, mostly unpaved, 92-mile strip that opens up dramatic views of the subarctic wilderness — and perhaps offers the best chance to experience wildlife of any national park. No cars are allowed beyond Mile 15; everyone must jump aboard a shuttle bus. This is a good thing, given the road’s precipitous, winding nature (and the temptation to keep peering at the ever-more-dramatic landscape).

Thanks to Dr. Ema Leibovici:

Thanks to Dr. Ema Leibovici

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