america's great outdoors

The fall colors are showing at Blue Lake in North Cascades National Park in Washington. Photographer Albert Yang described the scene he captured: “The lake was so still I almost felt like I had to hold my breath to embrace it. I was searching for fall colors and these larch trees were just gorgeous. It was my first time exploring this area and I know I will return many, many times in the future.” Photo courtesy of Albert Yang.

There’s no denying the unique attraction of Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. Also known as “Bear Lodge” or “Bear’s Tipi,” the dramatic monolith is a sacred site to several Native American Tribes. Familiar to many in movies like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” it’s recognizable to people around the world. But according to photographer Lori Eckhart, “There’s nothing like standing there in front of it. Its size, and the way it stands out and alone from anything else, just demands respect and fills you with awe.” Photo courtesy of Lori Eckhart.

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Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin, USA

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area on the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border is a wonderland of forested mountains, tumbling waterfalls, Native American and Colonial historic sites, bountiful wildlife and dynamic rivers and streams. Recreation opportunities include boating, biking, fishing, hunting, hiking and enjoying the views along scenic roadways. An easy drive from New York City and Philadelphia, the park is a popular year round getaway. Here, it’s showing a spectrum of lovely fall colors. Photo by National Park Service.

Fascinating animals, muskoxen look like survivors of the Ice Age. Whiles other arctic animals spend their winter in hibernation, muskoxen live in open, unsheltered tundra enduring the unforgiving elements that come their way. One secret to muskoxen survival is their two layers of fur – a very long outer layer of fur that looks like hair and a short fuzzy underlayer of qiviut. You can find muskoxen on several public lands in Alaska, including Cape Krusenstern National Monument. Photo by Doug Demarest, National Park Service.

Energetic carnivores, long-tailed weasels spend most of the daylight hours scouring grasslands, pastures and saltmarsh for prey. Their slender heads and bodies allow them to enter burrows in search of mice, voles, snakes and large insects. The sharp teeth, keen eyesight and scrappy character of long-tailed weasels make them highly skilled predators, able to catch animals bigger than themselves. In mid-summer, whole families of weasels may be seen as males and females teach their young to hunt. Photo from Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming by Tom Koerner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

What better place to relax than Easy Chair Crater in Nevada? Located along Lunar Crater National Back Country Byway, Easy Chair Crater doesn’t have anything to do with the moon. It’s origins lie deep within the Earth. Formed by a cinder cone volcano, it is littered with evidence of its violent past – cooled lava bombs and volcanic crystals. Photo by Chip Caroon, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).

Happy birthday, President Theodore Roosevelt! One of the most influential figures in the history of American public lands, Roosevelt’s legacy is recognized at national parks, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas and national forests across the country. At Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota (seen here), visitors can learn more about this fascinating man, and see the land and wildlife he loved. Photo by Kim Wehner, National Park Service.

Rafting is a popular way to experience Dinosaur National Monument’s remote canyons. From origins high in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, the Green and Yampa Rivers wind their way past steep canyon walls and across sagebrush-covered plains. Some stretches are calm and peaceful, others promise the thrill of swift rapids. All offer amazing views and fun outdoor adventures. Photo by Alan Nyiri, National Park Service volunteer.