Photograph by Kevin Byrne, My ShotGrand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is best known for its size, depth, rock formation, and coloration. The vast canyon was formed during three to six million years of geological activity and erosion by the Colorado River, which continues to alter its contours. The canyon boasts impressive waterfalls and rapids. It is 277 river miles (446 kilometers) long, up to 18 miles (29 kilometers) wide, and a mile (1.6 kilometers) deep.
Photograph courtesy National Park ServiceEverglades National Park, Florida
Everglades National Park consists of 1.5 million acres (607029.45 hectares) of water wetlands. There is no place more than eight feet (2.5 meters) above sea level. The park is home to all different types of species, such as the alligator and egrets (pictured), whose white feathers stand out against the neutral tones of the freshwater prairie, also known as the "River of Grass."
Photograph by Peter Hendrie/Getty ImagesNational Park of American Samoa, American Samoa
The National Park of American Samoa houses the only tropical rain forest that is part of the National Park System. This park also contains coral reefs and white sand beaches. About 890 fish species live in its coastal waters—twice the number of fish species found in Hawaii. This park is also home to unique tropical animals like the flying fox, Pacific boa, tortoises, and many birds and fish.
Photograph by Tyson Fisher, My ShotCrater Lake National Park, Oregon
Crater Lake is a deep, blue lake in southwestern Oregon that was formed by a volcano that erupted 7,000 years ago. The lake and its surrounding region became Crater Lake National Park in 1902. Its waters are exceptionally clear, and it is often possible to see to a depth of more than 100 feet (30 meters). Large amounts of snow, averaging 44 feet (13.5 meters) per year, supply the lake with water.
Photograph by Nic McPhee, My ShotDenali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
The park was established as Mount McKinley National Park in 1917, named after Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America, which is 20,320 feet (6,194 meters) tall. The original park was designated a wilderness area and incorporated into Denali National Park and Preserve in 1980. The park is made up of six million acres (2428117.8 hectares)—larger than the state of Massachusetts. The park's wildlife includes sheep, moose, grizzly bears, and caribou.
Photograph by George F. MobleyGreat Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, especially its wildflower diversity. The park has over 1,660 kinds of flowering plants, more than any other North American national park. The park's name is derived from the smoke-like fog that hangs over the mountains, a result of rain and evaporation from trees. More than nine million people visit the park each year.
Photograph by Melissa FarlowOlympic National Park, Washington
Olympic National Park was established in 1938 to preserve the Olympic Mountains, forests, and wildlife. The park is divided into three major areas—glaciered mountains, rain forests, and coastline. There are more than 60 glaciers in all. Deer, bears, cougars, and Roosevelt elks roam the park.
Photograph by Randy Steffens, My ShotRedwood National Park, California
Redwood National Park covers an area of 172 square miles (445 square kilometers). More than one-third of the park is forest. The park is named after redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), which are the tallest living trees. They can grow over 300 feet (90 meters) in height. Their trunks reach diameters of 10 to 20 feet (three to six meters). The trees can live to be over 2,000 years old. In addition to the monstrous trees, there is a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, black bears, coyotes, and Roosevelt elk.
Photograph by Michael MelfordYellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho
Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America's first national park. It spans three states: Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It is home to a variety of wildlife, such as grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk. Old Faithful, the frequently-erupting geyser, is located in Yellowstone, as well as numerous other geysers and hot springs.
Photograph by Craig Wolf, My Shot
Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite is one of the most heavily visited national parks in the country. The park is best known for its waterfalls and huge granite formations—including Half Dome (pictured), which rises 8,842 feet (2,695 meters). The park is one of the most spectacular glacially-carved landscapes in the world.
Photograph by Ovidiu Ifrim, My ShotZion National Park, Utah
Sharp sandstone cliffs rise 2,000 feet (609 meters) above narrow canyons, which in some places, are barely 40 feet (12 meters) wide. These unique cliffs range in color from cream, to pink, to orange. Angel's Landing, Checkerboard Mesa, and the Great White Throne are famous Zion landmarks.