Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California, USA

Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California

 

Located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California, the Ansel Adams Wilderness is a wilderness area encompassing 937 square kilometers (362 square miles or 231,533 acres). Within the Ansel Adams Wilderness are glaciated mountains including Mount Ritter, Banner Peak, and the Minarets, all of which are part of the Ritter Range. The wilderness area is also home to many lakes, including Shadow Lake, Thousand Island Lake, Lake Ediza, and Garnet Lake. A popular feature located in the Ansel Adams Wilderness is Devils Postpile National Monument, an unusually symmetrical formation of columnar basalt. Visitors to the wilderness area can enjoy 562 kilometers (349 miles) of hiking trails, opportunities for technical rock climbing on the Minarets, and cross-country skiing at Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain in the winter.

Banner Peak and Thousand Island Lake, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California

Credit: Mark Wetters

Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California

Banner Peak and Thousand Island Lake, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California

Credit: Mark Wetters

Minarets Lake Ediza, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California

Banner Peak and Thousand Island Lake, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California

Shadow Creek, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California

Credit: Rob Kroenert

Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California

Credit: Brian Tobin

The Minarets and Lake Ediza, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California

Ritter Range and Garnet Lake, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California

Devils Postpile National Monument, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California

Ediza Creek Falls, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado, USA

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

 

Great Sand Dunes National Park, located in the state of Colorado in the United States, encompasses an area of 340 square kilometers (130 square miles, or 85,000 acres) of magnificent sand dunes. The 12,000 year old sand dunes include the tallest dunes in North America, rising 230 meters (750 feet) above the valley floor. The park contains other landscape features found in the high desert, such as alpine lakes, tundra, forests, grasslands, and wetlands, all of which provide habitats for many kinds of wildlife. Visitors to the park can enjoy hiking over the dunes, though it is wise to either keep the visitor center in sight, or bring a compass, as there are no marked trails on the ever-changing dunes. The closest town with accommodation is Alamosa, 30 miles southwest of the park. There is also tent camping available within the park. The nearest international airport is located in Denver, the capital of Colorado, which is a 4 1/2 hour drive from the park.

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

 

Lake Bled is a glacial lake that lies in the municipality of Bled, located in northwestern Slovenia. The picture perfect lake features a small island in the middle which is home to the Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church. You can often hear the bell of the church ringing, as it is believed that visiting the church to ring its bell brings good luck. The romantic church is a popular place to have a weeding, as is the nearby Bled Castle. Visitors to Lake Bled can enjoy a walk around the lake, try their hand at fishing, or take a swim in its lovely emerald waters in the summer months. There are also ample opportunities for hiking in the nearby Triglav National Park. The closest airport to Bled is the Airport Joze Pucnik Ljubljana, just outside the city of Kranj.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Credit: Rainer

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Credit: Pilar Azaña

Monument Valley, Arizona and Utah, USA

Monument Valley, Arizona

 

Monument Valley is a an area know for its impressively formed sandstone buttes. The region is part of the Colorado Plateau, located in the Navajo Nation on the border between the states of Arizona and Utah in the American Southwest. Encompassing much of the area surrounding Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Monument Valley is an important part of Native American heritage. For a $5 fee, visitors to Monument Valley can take a 2-3 hour scenic drive over a 17 mile (27 km) dirt road, which is open from 6:00am-8:30pm from May to September, and 8:00am-4:30pm from October to April. Other visitors may chose to enjoy a multi-hour or overnight horseback ride to some of the more spectacular views and sites. If you’re interested in a unique view of Monument Valley you can even take a hot air balloon ride over the area. Visitors who are arriving via car can only access the park via Highway 163. There are two hotels near Monument Valley, and the nearest town of Kayenta, Arizona, is about 20 miles (32 km) away. Monument Valley is part of a greater network of attractions called the Grand Circle which also includes Grand Canyon National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Zion Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and Arches National Park.

Monument Valley, Arizona

Monument Valley, Arizona

Monument Valley, Arizona

Monument Valley, Arizona

Monument Valley, Arizona

Credit: Thad

West Mitten Butte, Monument Valley, Arizona

Monument Valley, Arizona

Credit: Thad

Monument Valley, Arizona

Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

Logan Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana

 

The famously beautiful Glacier National Park is located in the US state of Montana. The park is massively large, encompassing over 1,000,000 acres (4,000 square km). In the mid 1800s the park was named for its roughly 150 glaciers, though only 25 remain today and it’s estimated that all the glaciers will have melted by 2030. With over 130 lakes, two mountain ranges, over 700 miles of hiking trails, and many miles of scenic road, the park is a popular hiking, camping, and scenic driving destination for all manner of tourist. The nearest airport is in Kalispell, Montana, and the Amtrak train line stops at East and West Glacier, but most visitors choose to drive to the park. The park is also home to historic chalets and hotels if you’re looking for a more relaxed than rugged experience.

Swiftcurrent Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana

Grinnell Point & Swiftcurrent Falls, Glacier National Park, Montana

Two Medicine Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana

Lake Josephine & Mt. Gould, Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

Grinnell Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana

Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA

In the southwestern part of Utah in the United States lies a wondrous work of erosion – Bryce Canyon. Despite its name, Bryce Canyon is an eroded natural amphitheater rather than a canyon. The most notable features of Bryce Canyon are its “hoodoos”, or geological structures formed by harsh weather erosion caused by wind, ice and water. One of the hoodoos is called Thor’s Hammer because its shape resembles that of a hammer. Visitors to Bryce Canyon can enjoy a scenic drive to 13 viewpoints overlooking the canyon. Tourists can also enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Bryce Canyon is close to both Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, as well as the town of Kanab, Utah, where many visitors to the area choose to find accommodation. Lodging can also be found in Bryce Canyon National Park’s two campgrounds or its lodge.

Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA

Credit: 5348 Franco

Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA

Credit: Ashwin Rao

Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA

Credit: Dene' Miles

Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA

Credit: 5348 Franco

Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Credit: Uwe George, National Geographic Society

The majestic Mount Roraima is the highest mountain in the Pacaraima Mountains. Roraima lies on the three borders of Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana. The mountain is part of Venezuela’s Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Angel Falls is also part of this beautiful park. Mount Roraima’s highest point is Maverick Rock at 2,810 meters (9,219 feet), and the whole of Mount Roraima’s fairly flat top surface area is surrounded by 400+ meter (1,312+ feet) high sheer cliffs. Mount Roraima can be climbed, though all routes besides the Paraitepui route require technical climbing gear. Visitors can get a stunning view of Mount Roraima and the greater Canaima National Park from a memorable helicopter ride.

Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Credit: ianmacd75

Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Credit: Yosemite

Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Credit: Corrie

Vernal Falls, Yosemite, California, USA

Vernal Falls - Yosemite National Park, California

Credit: God of War

One of the most popular waterfalls in Yosemite National Park of California in the United States, Vernal fall measures 97 meters (317 feet) high. A hike along the Mist Trail to the fall takes visitors very close to the fall where they become shrouded in its mist. The hike to Vernal Fall is short at only 2.1 km (1.3 miles) long. At the top of the fall hikers enjoy a rest at the Emerald Pool, named for its deep green color, which is a small lake where some visitors choose to swim, though it is against the park rules and can be dangerous if care is not taken. Travelers who wish to visit Vernal Fall should make it a part of a greater trip to the awe-inspiring Yosemite National Park where many other spectacular natural sights can be enjoyed. Accommodation is plentiful at the park and includes hotels as well as campgrounds. There is a $20 fee to enter Yosemite National Park.

Vernal Falls - Yosemite National Park, California

Credit: Eli Weiss

Vernal Falls - Yosemite National Park, California

Vernal Falls - Yosemite National Park, California

Vernal Falls - Yosemite National Park, California

Vernal Falls - Yosemite National Park, California

Credit: Jacquie Winter