30 Famous U.S. National Parks
National parks in the U.S. are often combined with protected areas and areas of special protection. In such cases, the area is divided into sectors so as not to harm nature and allow tourists to spend time there at the same time. Such an approach allows at the expense of one part of the park to maintain the other, while educating travelers. The rules of conduct in protected areas are fundamentally different from those in Russia. In Russian reserves, for example, all activities are forbidden, in the U.S. in the reserves you can engage in sport hunting.
But the opposite is true in national parks. Reserves are needed to preserve unique types of terrain, as well as rare species. Tourism and related infrastructure are everywhere, but there are exceptions. Usually these include particularly remote areas or those that are on islands. Depending on the state, nature in America is very different.
The most famous nature reserves in America
It is the oldest national park in the world – 1872. Its area of 898 thousand hectares is distributed over three states: Montana, Wyoming, Idaho. Later received the status of a biosphere reserve and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Attractions: Yellowstone Caldera, half of all geysers on the planet, including Old Sluzhaka, numerous hot springs, such as Emerald.
Located on 373 thousand hectares in Washington state. Founded in 1938 as a national park in the United States, but later became a biosphere reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Because it is located on a peninsula and has had little impact, unique ecosystems have formed here. Features: rain forests, alpine meadows, glaciers, and more. Open to tourists from July to September.
Refers not only to national parks but also to biosphere reserves and UNESCO World Heritage sites. It was founded in 1941 on an area of 21 thousand hectares in Kentucky. It was named after the longest cave system on the planet. It is karstic in type, is 627 km long and 115 m deep. There are cave rivers and lakes. Excursion tours vary in length and complexity of the route.
National Park covers an area of 130 thousand hectares. Located in the state of Hawaii since 1916. Assigned the status of a biosphere reserve and a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. The area is a volcanic desert Kau, where everywhere you can find volcanoes of varying degrees of activity. For example, Kilauea erupts continuously and slowly. Access to the park can at times be blocked if it becomes unsafe to visit.
Great Smoky Mountains
National Park, part of a biosphere reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Established in 1934 on 210,000 hectares in North Carolina and Tennessee. The Appalachian Trail, the longest hiking trail on the planet, runs through it. Attractions: the Cherokee reservation, a lookout point at the highest point of the park, and waterfalls. You can play golf, drive electric cars, and take a horseback ride.
The national park, which is part of a biosphere reserve, was founded in 1980. It is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Located in Alaska, occupying most of the coastline of the state. Attractions: icebergs and glaciers, including Lamplough and Margery. Tourists are offered regular cruises. Leisure activities are varied, too: fishing, catamaran rides, rock climbing, rafting, and more.
Located in Montana on 410,000 hectares of land. Founded in 1910 as a national park, 66 years later it was recognized as a Biosphere Reserve, and in 1995 – the World Heritage Site of UNESCO. The main tourist season falls in the summer, at other times there are restrictions. There are hiking, water and auto trails, the latter includes the “Valley of the Sun”: it lasts two hours and allows you to see the main beauties of the park.
The time of the actual establishment of the national park in Florida is 1947. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve. Area – 610 thousand hectares. The land is rugged with swamps, rivers, channels, lakes, and streams. Thickets of grass reach the height of human height. The only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles live together. Among the plants stand out orchids, of which there are more than 25 species.
The national park was founded in 1890 on the territory of 163 thousand hectares in California. It also has the status of a biosphere reserve. You can drive part of the way by car. The local museum has a height scale showing what the huge sequoias are comparable to. For example, they are higher than the Statue of Liberty. Stores sell tree sprouts in addition to souvenirs. Picnic sites, campgrounds, and parking lots are found throughout the park.
Two in one: a national park and a wildlife refuge. Located in Colorado, it was established in 1915 and covers 107,000 hectares. One of the features is the continental watershed. The most beautiful lakes are Sprague, Bear Lake, and Nymph Lake. The latter is covered with lilies. The eastern part of the park is much drier than the western part. You must choose your timing carefully when planning your visit, as heavy rainfall is common here.
Kings Canyon .
The area of the national park located in California is 186,000 hectares. It borders Sequoia Park, is also a biosphere reserve. It was founded in 1940. The current appearance of the valley and surroundings was caused by ancient earthquakes. Notable sites include Panorama Point, Zumwalt Glade, Screaming River, which has a waterfall, Grant’s Grove, and Hume Lake. You can stay in one of the lodges or campgrounds.
A national park and biosphere reserve covering 319,000 hectares in California. It appeared on maps in 1994. The terrain is partly desert, partly covered with rock formations. Attractions: Barker Dam – a kind of oasis, on the huge boulders of which you can see petroglyphs, Hall of Horrors – a popular site for rock climbers, Skull Rock, so named because of its shape.
Occupies 231,000 hectares of Michigan’s acreage. Became a national park in 1940 and a biosphere reserve in 1980. The island location has benefited the conservation of plant and animal species. Numerous lighthouses help navigate among the small islands. You can get here by canoe or by ferry. Elk and wolf populations are especially closely monitored here, taking into account each individual.
National Park and Biosphere Reserve is part of the state of Hawaii. Since 1961, it became independent by separating from the neighboring park. The area is about 12 thousand hectares of Maui. According to legend, the eponymous demigod hid the sun here, wishing to lengthen the day. The main attraction is the volcano Haleakala, which died out more than 200 years ago. There is an observatory doing research work.
Dry Tortugas .
Exists since 1935 in the form of a national park, and a biosphere reserve he became even earlier. Located on an archipelago and coral reefs off the coast of Florida. The area is 26 thousand hectares. Sight – Fort Jefferson, built in the mid XIX century. It has long been out of use for its intended purpose and has become a tourist and historical site. Nearby is the resort of Key West.
Occupies an area of about 2.5 million hectares in central Alaska. It has existed since 1917 but has been changing territorially. Attraction: Denali is the highest mountain in North America. A special feature is the railroad that runs through the national park, which is not typical of protected areas. The flora includes Asian species, as the continents were connected by an isthmus in the distant past.
Most of the national park and biosphere reserve is in California, the rest is in Nevada. It was formed in 1994 and covers 1.3 million hectares. The driest of the parks in the U.S., the temperature record is +56.7°C. One of the interesting phenomena is the movement of boulders, leaving behind a trail of cracked earth. Notable sites: Devil’s Hole, Ubheb Crater, and the Desert of Flowers.
The national park, also recognized as a biosphere reserve, was founded in 2003. Located in North Carolina, near the state capital. The area is marshy, everywhere laid wooden bridges for the convenience of tourists. You can also view the beauty of the park from a canoe or boat. The relict dark pine forests are a unique natural feature not found anywhere else in the area.
Located in California, this national park and biosphere reserve covers 101,000 hectares. It was established in 1980, although the land has been protected to varying degrees before. It includes the water area of the coast of the state and the islands. In this case, Santa Cruz only a quarter given under the park. The main tourist flow comes in the summer, the other seasons here come to watch the migrating whales or to do scuba diving.
Location of the national park and biosphere reserve – the border with Mexico, Texas. It has existed since 1944 and covers 324,000 hectares. Desert climate, cracked earth, cacti as the main type of vegetation are typical features of the park. Hiking, rock climbing, and bird watching are popular. You can also cross the Rio Grande and find yourself in a Mexican village.
A national monument and preserve founded in 1978 in Alaska. The area is 243 thousand hectares. Named after the active volcano, which has an impressive caldera diameter. The territory is divided into zones with different status, for example, in some allowed sport hunting, in others – no. Depending on the weather changes and leisure time of tourists: rafting, fishing, rock climbing, flying on hydroplanes.
Bering Land Bridge
Alaska’s 1 million hectares of land were recognized as a National Wildlife Refuge in 1978. It includes the Seward Peninsula and the islands around it. Researchers suggest that there was an isthmus linking North America and Asia in the distant past. The terrain is heterogeneous, with frozen lava plots, lakes, meadows, and hot springs next to tundra and marshes.
Acquired national wildlife refuge status in 1974. Located in Florida, covering 295,000 hectares. Borders Everglades Park. Hunting is forbidden in some areas; in others, on the contrary, it is a tourist destination. The area is swampy, which is suitable for alligator breeding. There are also very rare animal species, such as the Florida cougar. It is possible to travel through the reserve on your own (it is free), or with a guide.
This Idaho National Monument and Preserve is named for the magmatic traps that look like lunar craters. The current status has been in place since 1924, with an area of 289,000 hectares. Attractions: Lava Field, which is a hiking trail, Devil’s Garden – a place where plants have broken through the hard soil, volcanic cone, towering over the valley.
The translation of the name of this national park and preserve is “gateway to the Arctic.” It covers an area of 3.4 million hectares in Alaska. The current position has been in place since 1980. The designated wildlife area here is one of the largest in the United States. Bear populations are recorded down to the count of each individual. There are no roads and no tourist infrastructure, which is the reason for the low visitor numbers.
Great Sand Dunes
National Park and Preserve was established in Colorado in 2004 and has over 3.4 million hectares. The terrain is heterogeneous: sand dunes, mountain tundra, mountain peaks, mixed and coniferous forests, and swamps. The Medano Creek periodically changes course due to erosion and winds. Unusual entertainment – sliding down the sand hills on special boards, they can be rented.
Located in Alaska on an area of 1.6 million hectares. National Park and Preserve was established in 1980. The most curious object is the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokies. More than a hundred years ago it was filled with ash and the Leta River formed canyons of cooled rock. Now the smoke is gone, but the name remains. There are more than 2,000 bears. They are monitored through cameras installed in the park.
Congress gave the current status to Alaska National Park and Preserve in 1980. The area is 1.6 million hectares. Sport hunting is allowed in part of the area, and fishing is prohibited everywhere. Attractions include volcanoes, some are active, but there are no major eruptions. Another curious natural site is Lake Clark, declared a national monument.
Rangel St. Elias
Currently a national park and preserve. The location is Alaska, appeared in 1980, the area is 5.3 million hectares, making it the largest in the United States. There are hot springs, including mud springs, near the volcanoes. A road runs through the park and there are camping sites near it. In the past, mines were mined here; now there is little reminder of that. A UNESCO site.
It has existed since 1978, but later the status of a national reserve was added. Spread over 2.6 million hectares in Alaska. Animals and plants are characteristic of the taiga and tundra. Location above the Arctic Circle affects the peculiarities of climate, for example, in summer when the temperature is over +20 °C it can snow dramatically. The park’s activities include sport hunting and rafting down a choppy but fairly peaceful river.
Bering Land Bridge National Wildlife Refuge
Bering Land Bridge National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most remote national park areas in the United States, located on Seward Peninsula. The National Wildlife Refuge protects the remnant of the Bering Land Bridge, which connected Asia to North America more than 13,000 years ago during the Placenta Ice Age. Much of this land bridge now lies in the waters of the Chukchi and Bering Seas. During the Ice Age, this bridge was a migratory route for people, animals, and plants that had ocean levels dropping enough to open a land bridge. Archaeologists disagree as to whether it was over this Bering Land Bridge, also called the Bering Land Bridge, that people first migrated from Asia to settle the Americas, or whether it was by coastal route.
The Bering Land Bridge National Monument was established in 1978 by presidential proclamation under the Antiquities Act. The designation was changed in 1980 to National Wildlife Refuge with the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), which allowed both subsidized hunting by local residents and sport hunting. The Preserve includes significant archaeological sites and a variety of geological features. The Preserve has seen recent volcanic activity, with lava flows and lake-filled maars. Hot Springs is a popular tourist destination.
Preserva lies on the north side of the Seward Peninsula, with 2697391 acres. Preserve extends along the coast from a point west of Dearing along Goodhope Bay to Cape Espo, then westward along the Chukchi Sea shore. The boundary moves inward to avoid the villages of Shishmaref and Shahmaref Inlet, then turns the coast to include Ikpek Laguna. A narrow corridor connects a section of Ikpek Lagoon to the main reserve. The interior stretches to the Continental Mountains and through them all the way to the Bendel Mountains. The area around Continental de includes volcanic areas such as the Serpentine Hot Springs and lava fields between the Noxapaga River and the Cusitrine River. The highest point of the reserve is Mount Boyan on the southern border.
There are no roads to the reserve. Access to the preserve is by bush plans or boats during the summer months, and by ski plans, snowmobiles, or dog sledding during the winter. Bering Land Bridge National Wildlife Refuge contains several areas of geologic and prehistoric significance. Serpentine Hot Springs is the most visited place in the preserve. Other notable sites in the preserve include Caves, Devil Mountain Lakes, and Lost Jim Lava Flow.
Volcanism and Geology
The Seward Peninsula is a remnant of the Beringia subcontinent, which linked Alaska and Siberia during periods of low sea level during glacial periods. The region was largely unaffected by glaciers during the Ice Age. The preserved lands can be described by five physiographic zones: the northern coastal plan, the Uplands dissected by Rolling Creek, the Imuruk Lava Plateau, the Cusitrine Plains, and the Bendeloe Mountains.
“The Seward Peninsula consists mostly of metamorphic bluffs, with deposits of sand, graa, se, loess, and several glacial moraines. The area around Cape Esp includes a number of relict beach ridges similar to those further north of Cape Krus ern. These sediments occur mostly in the coastal inlet, where they form a system of lagoons and barriers or spits. Rolling uplands lie in and south of the coast in. Serpentine Hot Springs and XX Caves are found in this region of limestone, marble and other minerals.
Tors and bunkhouse in Serpentine Hot Springs Volcanic activity in the interior has left areas of basalt on Imuruk lava plat . The volcanic activity was recent – the Lost Jim Lava stream, estimated to be only 1,000 to 2,000 years old, produced from about 75 vents. The largest vent is Lost Jim Cone, about 75 feet high. One of the remnants of volcano is the presence of hot springs. Hot coil jets produce water at temperatures ranging from 140°F to 170°F and have been used for thousands of years by the local population. Granite toruses are another Volcanic remnant formed underground and exposed by erosion. Bering Land Bridge has four of the largest and northernmost maar lakes in the world in Espe, formed by phreatomagmatic eruptions leaving circular sears. The varves range in age from 100,000 to 200,000 years at Whitefish Maar, to 50,000 years at North Killick Maar, 40,000 years at South Killeak Maar and 17,500 years at Devil Maar.
Ice and permafrost action produces features such as polygonal ice wedges and pingos.
Serpentine Hot Springs.
Serpentine Hot Springs, (Inupiaq: Iyat or Uunaatuq), formerly known as Arctic Hot Springs, is located in the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. Springs is also referred to as Iyat, the word Inupiaq for pot. Serpentine Hot Springs is on the northern part of the Seward Peninsula at 65° 51 N, 164° 43
Serpentine hot springs were originally described by Arthur J. Col in U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin (1902). Col noted that Charles McLennan, who with his dog team and Inupiat assistants, was probably the first white man to reach the hot springs in May 1900. McLennan may have abandoned a mining claim nearby, but left by September 1901. Another miner, John Serene, built a cabin and maintained a garden near the springs. The miners used the area continuously until about 1915, when the avenues built a cabin, a house, and a pool that was 10 to 12 feet in diameter nearby. The airstrip may have been built in 1923, and in 1949 the Alaska Road Commission workers dragged it in. In 1953, the nearby village of Shishmaref received $53,000 in state funds to build a public bath house.
It is possible that the springs were used by the Inupiat inhabitants for cooking, healing, and spirit purposes. Anthropologists who studied Inupiat in the area reported to local whites that healing at the site of the hot springs was very powerful.
Much of the land in the preserve is tundra underlain by permafrost. The tundra supports a variety of low- and slow-growing plants. Grasses and sedges such as cottongrass dominate the landscape. Large trees cannot on the tundra. Tree species are limited to two species, such as Arctic willow, Alaskan willow, and birch. Berry-bearing plants in the preserves include tuberose blueberry, kraubersa, little huckleberry, and rowan or saltbush. Lee are found in the peers, including the genera Cetraria , Clodina , Clodonia , Xanthus , and Umbilicaria . Mosses and li in the preserves include peat mosses ” Sphagnum “, marsh mosses ” Aulacomnium “, forked mosses ” Dicranum “, mosses “Polytrichum stircap” and ” Rhizomnium “. A variety of flowers are represented in the reserve in spring, including Giné Sica, Kamchatka rhododendron, Labrador tea, Monkeybush, single-flowered cinquefoil, larkspur and larkspur forget-me-not. Caribou are vors glacialis media in preserver, along with reintroduced muskoxen. The muskoxen were reintroduced to the area in 1970, after being forged in the early twentieth century. In addition to the native caribou, Siberian tundra reind ( Rangifer tarandus sibiricus ) were introduced in 1894, reaching a peak population of 600,000 animals in the 1930s. Since then the herds have dwindled to about 4,000. The Reindia Act of 1937 prohibited the possession of non-native Americans, and the reduced herds have been managed by natives since that time. Other mammals in the preservers are walruses, polar beavers, red foxes, brown foxes, arctic foxes, ryon-on-seals, wolverines, and bobwhites. Significant nesting bird species include sandhill cranes and yellow-billed roosters. Seward Peninsula rivers and streams provide habitat for fresher fish and for species of anadromous salmon. The major salmonid species are chinook, coho, soye, chum, and | salmon. Other salmonids, such as Dolly Varden trout and Arctic Grayling, remain in the Freestyle throughout their life cycle. The preserve is also home to northern pike and other fishermen. The sanctuary has weather typical of northwest Alaska, with long, cold winters. Weather is determined by coastal location, but temperatures can reach -65°F in winter and typical low winter temperatures of -10°F to -20°F. Summer temperatures average about 50 ° F. The average annual temperature is 21 ° F.
Muskoxen mass mortality in 2011.
An entire herd of 55 muskoxen died in a storm surge in the National Wildlife Refuge in February 2011. The herd was crossing the bay at Kotzebue Sound when it was hit by a combination of tidal surge and flooding from a winter storm. When the pidal surge reached the herd, it broke the ice beneath it and the herd fell into the water. The temperature was below -30° C and the entire herd was killed and frozen in the ice. Four of the animals were equipped with radio logs, and they were found by researchers looking for their signals. In addition to their reintroduction to this National Wildlife Refuge, the remaining muskoxen population is now in Gates Arctic National Park and Preserve, as well as a local farm in Palmer that has been around since the mid-1950s.
Cape Esp from the air The Seward Peninsula, as part of the Beringia, was the route of the migration of Asiatic people to the Americas. The earliest artifacts found in the area are modified animal bones dating to about 13,000 B.C. They are not considered definitive, and the earliest undeniable evidence of human occupation are relics of the paleoarctic tradition found in Caves and dated between 10,000 and 7,000 B.C. Archaeological evidence suggests that a gap in human occupation on the Peninsula to about 420000 years was known between then and 2000. The D igh culture was followed by the is culture, which brought pottery and hammered stone implements. During this time Cape Espy, the Caves and the region around the Lopp lagoon were occupied. This was followed by the Ipuitak culture from about 1900 to 1000 BC, in many of the same places.
The Northern Maritim tradition followed, celebrating the Birno, Western Thule, and Period Kotzebue cultures. This series cultures the period from 600 BC to the early 1800s, when the traditional way of life was disrupted by the arrival of Europeans in the area. The fur trade, whaling, and missionary activities changed the local economy, which was further weakened in the late 19th century by the arrival of prospecting gold seekers on the south side of the Seward Peninsula. The avenues spread across the Peninsula, with hydraulic mining en in the Pinnell River in the reserve. The Seward Peninsula saw a further influx of outsiders during World War II, as Alaska was an important theater of the Pacific War.
Seward Peninsula Preserve Map
Administration and designations
The Bering Land Bridge National Monument was created on December 1, 1978, by President Jimmy Carter using his authority under the Antiquities Act. Carter made this decision after the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) was passed in Congress. ANILCA was passed in 1980, and on December 2, 1980, Carter signed into law the conversion of the Monument to a National Wildlife Refuge. The reserve is headquartered in the Sitnasuaq Building in Nome.