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The superbloom has migrated north to California’s Central Valley, and the show is simply indescribable at Carrizo Plain National Monument. The Valley floor has endless expanses of yellows and purples from coreopsis, tidy tips and phacelia, with smaller patches of dozens of other species. Not to be outdone, the Temblor Range is painted with swaths of wildlflowers in oranges yellow and purple like something out of a storybook. Visitors are flocking to the area to see this explosion of color, and travelers should be prepared with a full tank of gas as there are no services in the monument. Photos by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).

There are skies and then there are Blue Ridge Parkway skies. The southern end of the parkway in North Carolina winds through the highest elevations, offering dramatic mountain top views. When photographer Robert Stephens chanced upon this scene at Bear Trap Gap, he said “It almost felt like an out of body experience. You can’t believe what you’re seeing, but it’s there! I was so in awe of the light filtering over the ridges I had to remember to snap my shutter!” Photo courtesy of Robert Stephens.

With massive granite towers stretching skyward and building-sized boulders scattered in valleys, there’s no need to ask how City of Rocks National Reserve in Idaho got its name. Dramatic geological features make for excellent nature study and even better climbing. You can also learn about unique plants, wildlife, and the history of Native Americans and early settlers at this fascinating park. Photo by National Park Service.

Morning greets Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming with curling clouds and snow-dusted peaks. When photographer Eric Adams noticed the weather clearing through airport windows, he rebooked his flight, rented a car and drove along the park’s Jenny Lake Road to capture this stunning scene. Photo courtesy of Eric Adams.

Snow clings to the jagged sides of Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. This astounding geologic feature is considered sacred to the Northern Plains Indians and other tribes, who called it “Bear’s Tipi” or “Bear’s Lodge.” Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest crack climbing areas in North America. Devils Tower entices us to explore and define our place in the natural and cultural world. Photo by National Park Service.