Famous Annapurna is a section of the Himalaya mountain range, located in central Nepal. The name “Annapurna” is a Sanskrit name meaning “Goddess of the Harvests”. The massive 22,970+ foot (7,000+ meter) peaks of the Annapurna section are some of the most dangerous to climb in the world. The south face of Annapurna I has the highest fatality rate of all the world’s 8,000 meter or higher peaks. Though the peaks themselves are off-limits to most people, the surrounding scenery can be access by undertaking one of many popular multi-day treks, including the impressive Annapurna Circuit trek, the Kaligandaki River Valley trek, and the Annapurna Sanctuary trek which reaches the Annapurna Base Camp. Annapurna is located within the Annapurna Conservation Area Project, and a permit is required to visit. Permits can be obtained in the Nepalese cities of Pokhara and Kathmandu. Bus service from Pokhara is available, as are many guided tours for trekking.
Yosemite is one of the most well known national parks in the world. With over 3.7 million visitors every year, this California park is an incredibly popular nature destination in the United States. Yosemite National Park is known for its awe-inspiring granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and over 800 miles (1,300 km) of hiking trails. Half Dome, a massive granite cliff jutting out of the earth, is one of the famous icons of the park, along with Cathedral Peak and El Capitan. Most of Yosemite’s iconic peaks, lakes, and waterfalls are located in the tourist-heavy 7 square mile (18 sq. km) area of Yosemite Valley, but the entire park actually encompasses an area of 1,189 square miles (3,080 sq. km). Yosemite has the honor of being the first national park ever designated, thanks in large part to conservationists like John Muir and Galen Clark. These men and others worked hard to protect the park both for the impressive diversity of plants and animals that lived there, and also for the enjoyment of future generations. Today, the park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a favorite destination for hikers, rock climbers, campers, and nature lovers of all kinds.
Torres del Paine is a national park located in south Patagonia, Chile. The park is known for its immense rock towers and peaks, part of the Andes mountain range. The name Torres del Paine means Towers of Blue (Paine is an indigenous name for the color blue). The most famous peaks in the park are Cordillera del Paine, a set of stark peaks, and the Cuernos del Paine (Horns of Blue), a set of jagged, horn-like mountain tops. Also in the park are a glacier, a lake, and rivers. The most popular activity in the park are the multi day hikes, especially the Base Of Las Torres trek. Tourists can reach the national park via dailiy bus service from the city of Puerto Natales. Accommodations in the park consist of basic lodgings called “Refugios” and camping.
The picturesque Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada is known for its breathtaking mountain scenery with calm clear lakes framed by jagged snow covered peaks. The national park is the largest of its kind in the Canadian Rockies, covering a total area of over 10,878 square kilometers (4,200 square miles). Within Jasper National Park lies an amazing collection of lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, glaciers, and massive mountains. Visitors to the park can enjoy a vast array of activities, including hiking and mountain biking on extensive trails, skiing at Marmot Basin, fishing, swimming, kayaking, whitewater rafting and boating on many of the lakes and rivers, plus camping in numerous areas. For those looking for some quiet relaxation, Miette Hot Springs is the perfect place to go. Tourists can visit the park via car or motorcycle, or by train. The closest international airport is in Edmonton, the capital of Alberta. Also nearby is Lake Louise in Banff National Park.
Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, standing an imposing 3,776.24 meters (12,389 feet) tall. It is considered an active volcano, with its last eruption in the early 1700s. Often depicted in Japanese art, the iconic mountain is well known as a symbol of Japan and is a prominent feature of Tokyo’s skyline. The well-formed cone of this stratovolcano is visually almost symmetrical. Climbing the mountain has become a popular excursion for tourists from around the world, with over 300,000 persons reaching the summit each year. Climbing between October and May is strongly discouraged due to the cold temperatures. Many climbers choose to make the climb at night in order to be at or near the summit for a breathtaking sunrise.
The Matterhorn is a large, jagged mountain standing 4,478 meters (14,692 ft) tall on the border of Switzerland and Italy. One of the highest peaks in the Pennine Alps, the Matterhorn is also known as Monte Cervino in Italian, or Mont Cervin in French. The mountain is famous for being one of the most deadly to summit, with over 500 climbers dying on it since it was first climbed in 1865. Today, many climbers summit the Matterhorn each year, and all the faces of the mountain have been ascended in all seasons, though even the easiest route to the top is considered a fairly difficult climb.
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.
In beautiful Wyoming you will find the breathtaking Grand Teton National Park, which features the 46 mile long Grand Teton mountain range. Grand Teton National Park is just 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park, and a visit to one should include a visit to the other. The park is named for Grand Teton mountain, the tallest mountain in the park at 13,775 feet (4,199 m). Grand Teton National Park has a rich history of Paleo-Indian and Native American settlements, dating to over 11,000 years ago. The park also has fascinating geography, with glaciated mountains, lakes, and valleys creating a unsurpassed landscape of beauty.