Tagged: National Park

6 National Parks of Ireland: Castles, Cliffs, Green Mossy Landscapes [38 PICS]

March 16th, 2014 Permalink

We’ve looked at Ireland Now and Then (100 years ago), but to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a look the six national parks of the Republic of Ireland. Killarney National Park was first, and Ballycroy was the last to be established. The Burren National Park is the smallest and Wicklow Mountains National Park is the largest in Ireland. There are also Connemara and Glenveagh as well as landscapes with castles, karst, cliffs, waterfalls and green mossy forests. [38 Photos]

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara is about 5km from Connemara National Park

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara is about 6km (10 minutes) from Connemara National Park. For St. Patrick’s Day, let’s look upon the green beauty of Ireland and scenic landscapes found in the 6 National Parks of Ireland: Ballycroy, Connemara, Glenveagh, Killarney, The Burren and Wicklow Mountains National Park. Photo #1 by Dennis Wilkinson

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Hidden Gems: 25 Least Crowded U.S. National Parks [50 PICS]

July 23rd, 2013 Permalink

National Park Service sites receive approximately 280 million visitors each year and it publishes a ‘Ranking Report for Recreation Visits’ every year. This public usage list includes all NPS properties, not just National Parks, but also National Monuments (NM), National Historical Parks (NHP), National Seashores (NS), National Military Parks (NMP), National Recreation Areas (NRA), and so on as listed on the ranking report for 2012. The National Park Service says it has one mission, to “care for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.” There are a total of 367 places on this list, but when it comes to only national parks — some with and without a preserve — what are the hidden gems among national treasures, the least crowded U.S. National Parks? If you want more of nature, and less of people, then you might be interested in visiting one that is less popular. Here’s a list starting at #25 and working down to the #1 least-visited, therefore least-crowded national parks in all of the United States during 2012. [50 Photos]

Virgin Islands National Park, Trunk Bay and the beach on Saint John, called the most beautiful beach in the world

#25 of the 59 U.S. National Parks: Virgin Islands National Park had 483,341 visitors in 2012, coming in with a rank of #119 of the #367 on the list. It is the 25th least-crowded national park in the U.S. This is Trunk Bay and the beach on Saint John, called the most beautiful beach in the world. It is continually listed in the top 10 beaches worldwide to visit. Photo #1 by Iliyan Gochev

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American Buffalo Traffic Jams: Bison of Yellowstone National Park [55 PICS]

February 28th, 2013 Permalink

Bison (American Buffalo) can weigh up to 2,000 lbs and can sprint or stampede at speeds around 30 – 40 mph. Bison can also jump 6 feet straight up in the air, over fences. They are wild animals in a domesticated setting at Yellowstone National Park, the only free-roaming herds of bison in the United States. There are about 4,000 American Buffalo at Yellowstone and despite the National Park Service warning visitors not to get too close, people get too tempted to capture that awesome photo and instead end up being gored. Yellowstone bison are also famous for ruling the roads, sometimes hip-checking, kicking or charging cars. With males being 2,000 pounds, there’s not much you can do other than wait them out if the bison are blocking the road. This is referred as the bison (or buffalo) traffic jam. Yellowstone National Park is the only place in the U.S. where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times. Here’s a look at the bison of Yellowstone, buffalo traffic jams, and bison attacking cars and people. [55 Photos, 7 Videos]

Yellowstone bison and calf, 2000 pounds of anger when calf hesitated to cross road in traffic

2,000 pounds of anger. The photographer explained, “A bison with its calf. It is staring right at the camera and not too happy about it. She was a lot more upset when the calf hesitated to cross the road because of the traffic.” Yet that doesn’t stop most bison from crossing the road or taking their half out of the middle. They make the rules and buffalo traffic jams as you will see. Photo #1 by Krishna Santhanam

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Dry Tortugas: Coastal Fortress, Coral Reefs, Marine Life, Shipwrecks & Sunken Treasure

August 3rd, 2012 Permalink

About 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, lies Dry Tortugas National Park which is world-renowned for picturesque blue sea waters, white sands, brightly colorful coral reefs, abundant marine life, and legends of shipwrecks and sunken treasures. There are seven small islands in the 100-square mile park, but it is mostly open water that is accessible only by boat or seaplane. Dry Tortugas is also famous as the home of magnificent and historic Fort Jefferson, the largest masonry building in the Western Hemisphere. Though it was not finished, the fort has more than 16 million bricks that make up the massive 45-foot-high, three-level hexagon, coastal fortress that has 2,000 architecturally beautiful arches. [44 Fabulous Photos]

Fort Jefferson aerial looking east

Aerial of Fort Jefferson on Garden Key, part of Dry Tortugas National Park. The park is located at the farthest end of the Florida Keys, closer to Cuba than to the USA mainland. NPS says, “To reach this remote ocean wilderness one must travel by boat or plane over 68 nautical miles of open sea.” Garden Key is the second largest island in this chain. Photo #1 by National Park Service

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Paradise In The Devil’s Garden: Plitvice Waterfalls

July 13th, 2012 Permalink

Once upon a time in Croatia, this mysterious world was hidden deep in an enchanted forest and called “The Devil’s Garden.” For the few brave souls that dared to venture beyond the woods, they found a paradise of amazingly-colored lakes, spectacular karst and thunderous waterfalls. Together it creates the natural phenomena which can still be seen at Plitvice Lakes National Park. Every year, at least 1,200,000 visitors come to be awed by the geomorphology and natural beauty of changing lake colors. There are 16 cascading lakes in crystal-clear shades of blue and green. Plitvice waterfalls have been called some of the most beautiful to be found among UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Plitvicka Jezera National Park is spread out over 73,350 acres and some of the most amazing features are underground in the form of subterranean caverns. [37 Photos, 4 Videos]

Walking through Plitvice NP

Plitvice National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where 16 gorgeous lakes from azure to green to gray are said to constantly be changing colors based on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and depending upon the angle of sunlight. It’s an amazing natural phenomena and just one of the many reasons people come to Plitvice. Photo #1 by Desktop Nexus

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Majestic Zion National Park: Angels Landing, The Subway, Cliffs & Canyons [45 PICS]

June 7th, 2012 Permalink

Zion National Park in Utah came in as the 7th most visited national park in the USA during 2011. You stand in the wide open surrounded by massive cliffs, or you can hike into the narrow slot canyon. The 229-square-mile park offers mild ‘leg-stretcher’ walks or seriously strenuous adventures. The majestic natural beauty calls out to nature lovers and adventurers alike for rock climbing, canyoning, rappelling, backpacking and hiking. Where else can you see both a place for Angels and a subway created by nature? [45 Photos]

On Angel's wings --  Angels Landing trail of Zion National Park is something to behold

‘On Angel’s wings.’ The photographer wrote, “I’ve done my share of gruelling hikes, long monotonous, twist your ankles hikes, but this one stands out on it’s own though it was a short 5 mile hike. Angels Landing trail of Zion National Park is something to behold. Aptly named so because when Zion was initially explored, no one belived they could get to there unless it was an Angel on his wings. Then the demons made a trail to the top of it. And us urchins scrambled along to the holy sanctuary.” Photo #1 by Joseph Dsilva

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Unsurpassed & Sublime Beauty of Grand Teton National Park [60 PICS]

May 3rd, 2012 Permalink

Grand Teton National Park is 310,000 breathtaking acres of wow! 40 miles of jagged peaks making up the Teton Range tower 7,000 feet above gorgeous Jackson Hole valley. The unsurpassed and sublime beauty of the natural landscape and the equally famous abundant wildlife have been called inspirational, stunning, spectacular and it will take your breath away. NPS describes the park as, “Rising above a scene rich with extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain, the Teton Range stands monument to the people who fought to protect it. These are mountains of the imagination. Mountains that led to the creation of Grand Teton National Park where you can explore over 200 miles of trails, float the Snake River or enjoy the serenity of this remarkable place.” Located in Northwestern Wyoming the park is only 10 miles from Yellowstone. Grand Teton National Park is the 8th most visited national park in the U.S. We dare you to stare at the magnificent scenery of this national park and not be struck with desire to hop in your car and head out for an epic nature adventure. We love these pics! [60 Photos]

Rainbow Forever, Moulton Barn at Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

‘Rainbow Forever,’ Moulton Barn at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Everywhere you look, this park has stunning scenes, making it easy to understand why in 2011 this was the 8th most visited national park in America. Photo #1 by wallpapers5

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Acadia National Park: 9th Most Visited U.S. National Park in 2011 [40 PICS]

April 28th, 2012 Permalink

Acadia National Park along the rugged coastline of Maine may not be the first place that jumps to mind when thinking about America’s busiest parks, but maybe it should come to mind in the top 10 because it was the 9th most visited U.S. national park in 2011 with over 2,300,000 visitors. Acadia and Cuyahoga switched places from 2010, when Cuyahoga Valley National Park was ranked 9th in visitors. Acadia National Park protects more than 47,000 acres of lakes, ponds, woodlands, granite-domed mountains, and ocean shoreline along the coast of Maine. There are more than 140 miles of hiking trails, 45 miles of historic carriage roads, and scenic park roads for drivers. Diverse wildlife, waterfalls, cliffs, stone bridges and scenic vistas can all be found on this cluster of islands that make up Acadia. Hikers, bikers, horseback riders, kayakers, climbers, bird watchers and photographers are among the nature lovers who visit Acadia National Park. [40 Photos]

Mount Desert Island, Wild gardens of Acadia NP

The largest island along the rugged coast of Maine is Mount Desert Island. A cluster of islands make up Acadia National Park. The photographer called this the ‘Wild gardens of Acadia NP.’ Photo #1 by Liz West

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Cuyahoga Valley National Park: 10th Most Visited U.S. National Park in 2011

April 23rd, 2012 Permalink

Coming in as the 10th most visited national park in 2011 is Cuyahoga Valley National Park in northern Ohio. It offers adventurers a little bit of everything in the 20,339 acres of woods, water, wildlife and even caves. There are nearly 200 miles of trails within the park for visitors to hike, bike or for horseback riding. The Cuyahoga River, meaning ‘crooked river’ in Mohawk, is fed by more than 190 miles of other waterways to tempt fishermen of all ages. Millions of years ago, water etched out the 105-foot high sandstone Ritchie Ledges and Ice Box Cave, also carving other wonderful rock formations. More than 2 million visitors came to Cuyahoga Valley National Park last year to enjoy the wooded ravines, gentle rolling hills, 170 waterfalls, historic railway, buildings and paths. Welcome to Ohio’s only national park, welcome to Cuyahoga Valley National Park! [40 Photos]

Ledges with spring trees at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Ritchie Ledges, which formed more than 300 million years ago, with spring trees at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Ledges are found within the Virginia Kendall Park unit of Cuyahoga National Park. Photo #1 by © Tom Jones / NPS

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Adventure Lovers’ Paradise: Arches National Park [47 PICS]

January 28th, 2012 Permalink

Arches National Park is a gorgeous 76,679 acre landscape which preserves over 2,000 natural sandstone arches. The park is located in eastern Utah, right outside Moab which is an outdoor adventure lovers’ paradise. The park is in the high desert where the forces of nature like erosion have exposed millions of years of geologic history, diverse colors and textures of arches and very unusual rock formations. 43 arches have collapsed since 1970, yet still the beauty of nature here will leave you in awe. Arches National Park is an outdoor adventure lovers’ paradise with many activities such as backpacking, biking, camping, canyoneering, commercial tours, hiking, rock climbing and plenty to keep a photographer busy. According to the National Park Service, “To many, the most outstanding natural features of Arches are the park’s geologic formations. Over 2,000 catalogued arches range in size from a three-foot opening (the minimum considered to be an arch), to Landscape Arch which measures 306 feet from base to base. Towering spires, fins and balanced rocks complement the arches, creating a remarkable assortment of landforms in a relatively small area.” [47 Photos]

Arches National Park, Utah, Delicate Arch -- The iconography of time

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park ‘The iconography of time’ is the title given to this amazing long exposure capture. The photographer said, “Billions of years ago some of those stars sent their light on a journey to delicate arch long before its grains of sand had even settled to the bottom of a vast ocean. This complex intermingling of time and space and light fills me with much awe, wonder and inspiration. I live for these moments.” Photo #1 by Jason Corneveaux

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park: Where Wildlife & Buffalo Still Roam

January 15th, 2012 Permalink

Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, the 26th U.S. President, fell in love with the North Dakota badlands during his first visit there in 1883 while he was hunting bison. Roosevelt believed the ‘Wild West’ had a rugged lifestyle and ‘perfect freedom.’ The establishment of Theodore Roosevelt National Park was to memorialize Roosevelt’s life, and the influence the landscape had on him and his conservation ethics. The 110 square miles park is divided into three sections packed with wildlife including bison, feral horses, elk, bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer and mule deer, prairie dogs, and 186 species of birds such as golden eagles, sharp-tailed grouse, and wild turkeys. The largest, South Unit, and the North Unit have about 100 miles of foot and horse trails, wildlife viewing, and opportunities for back country hiking and camping. The Elkhorn Ranch Unit which has Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch is located in-between the two larger units. Besides wonderful wildlife, the National Park Service calls the bizarre geologic rock formations the “grim fairyland” of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Roosevelt said the badlands were “so fantastically broken in form and so bizarre in color as to seem hardly properly to belong to this earth.” Here’s a look at the wildlife at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, one of the few places where the buffalo still roam. [35 Photos]

Feral Horses in the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Feral Horses in the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. To give you an idea of the time period that Roosevelt fell in the love with the area, he told two favorite stories from the Dakota Territory: The Bar Fight and the adventure of Pursuing Boat Thieves. Photo #1 by Sarah Nystrom / NPS

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Highest Points: 20 U.S. National Parks by Elevation [40 PICS]

January 4th, 2012 Permalink

The United States has 58 national parks that are operated by the National Park Service. It takes an act of U.S. Congress to establish a national park and we frequently see these parks listed in some type of ordered list such as number of yearly visitors. This list of 20 parks is by elevation and includes the 20 highest points found among all of the gorgeous U.S. national parks. [40 Photos]

Down the valley towards Denali on this beautiful day, with the one park road winding its way

Denali National Park, Alaska, ranks as the #1 highest point of any U.S. national park. In this valley towards Denali, only the first 15 miles are paved even though the winding road is 92 miles long. Photo #1 by Nic McPhee

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