84 acres

Exploring Our National Parks…from Space!

The United States has nearly 84 million acres of historic and scenic land in its national parks system. In celebration of National Park Week, here are some satellite views of a few of those national treasures.

Throughout National Park Week, you can #FindYourPark and visit for free.

Yosemite National Park – California

Naked summits alternate with forested lowlands in Yosemite Valley, part of California’s Yosemite National Park. Our Landsat 7 satellite captured this true-color image of part of the Yosemite Valley on Aug. 8, 2001.

Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming, Idaho and Montana

Established in 1872, it was the first national park in the United States, and the world! Its geological and biological wonders have led international groups to declare it a world heritage site and a biosphere reserve. Yellowstone National Park captures the spirit and purpose of the National Park Service, blending modern and ancient human history with nature in its raw complexity.

Hot Springs National Park – Arkansas

National Parks usually make us think of pristine landscapes untouched by human civilization. Most of the 59 national parks in the United States fit that mold, but there are a few exceptions. Arkansas’s Hot Springs National Park, the country’s smallest and most urban, is one of them. Hot Springs, a city of 96,000 people, lies at the southern edge of the park and partly within its boarders.

Shenandoah National Park – Virginia

This long, narrow park in the Blue Ridge Mountains spans more than 179,000 acres, with 40% of the land protected as wilderness. More than 95% of the park is forested, sheltering 1,300 plant species and 267 types of trees and shrubs. The park contains 577 archeological sites, more than 100 cemeteries, and some rocks that date back a billion years.

Olympic National Park – Washington

Possibly one of America’s most diverse national landscapes, Olympic National Park is situated on the Olympic Peninsula in northwestern Washington. If you walked from west to east across the park, you would start at the rocky Pacific shoreline, move into rare temperate rainforests and lush river valleys, ascend glaciers and rugged mountain peaks, and then descend into a comparatively dry rain shadow and alpine forest. From beach to the top of Mount Olympus, you would rise 7,980 feet above sea level.

Colorado National Monument – Colorado

Along the Interstate 70 corridor in western Colorado, well-watered croplands, residential properties and urbanized areas create a broad stripe of green and gray. Away from the interstate, dry climate conditions color the landscape shades of beige, brick and tan. Yet these arid regions offer treasures of their own, including stunning vistas and wildlife both living and extinct. The varied landscapes of this park show the effects of tens of millions of years of erosion.

The images above were produced by our Earth Observatory as part of its 2016 series featuring the National Park Service properties. Check out more HERE

Want to see more of our nation’s parks from space? Visit our Flickr gallery HERE.

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