Wonders (part 2)
Best States to Visit
Most Visited Cities
Most Visited States
Here for More
America's Most Stunning
Locations (Part 1)
Information and Postings by; Michael
Smith. May 22, 2008
The below wonders are not listed
alphabetically or in order of importance.
Redwood National Park contains the tallest living things on earth,
evergreen trees that grow to 350 feet. The park was established
specifically to protect these trees, because it is only here and in
Oregon that these stunning giants survive. Descendants of the giant
evergreens that grew during
the age of the dinosaurs, redwoods thrived in moist temperate regions
of the world. They take 400 years to mature and some of the survivors
are more than 2,000 years old. Their thick, sapless bark protects them
from fire, but landslides and wind can topple old trees. The Indians
used fallen redwood trees to build canoes and houses; commercial
logging began during the gold rush era. Logging of redwoods continues
and is debated by the timber industry and environmentalists. The trees
stand as majestic reminders of the slow evolution of nature. Redwood
National and State Parks represent a cooperative management effort of
the National Park Service and the California Department of Parks and
Recreation. Together these parks are a World Heritage Site and
protecting resources cherished by citizens of many nations. (Inscribed
It is estimated that old growth redwood forest once covered
2,000,000 acres (810,000 ha) of coastal northern California. Today,
only 4%, or 85,000 acres (34,000 ha), remain, with 45% of that total
being managed by the park. The native range of coast redwood is from
the northern California coast north to the southern Oregon Coast. The
tree is closely related to the Giant Sequoia of central California,
and more distantly to the Dawn Redwood which is indigenous to the
Sichuan- Hubei region of China. Coast redwoods are the tallest trees
on Earth; as of September, 2006, the tallest tree in the park was
Hyperion at 379.1 ft (115.5 m), followed by two more named Helios and
Icarus which are 376.3 ft (114.7 m) and 371.2 ft (113.1 m)
respectively. Before September 2006, the tallest living specimen known
was the Stratosphere Giant, outside the park in Humboldt Redwoods
State Park, which was 370 feet (113 m) in 2004. For many years, one
specimen simply named "Tall Tree" in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
and within the RNSP was measured at 367.8 feet (112.11 m), but the top
10 feet (3 m) of the tree was reported to have died in the 1990s. One
tree that fell in 1991 was reported to be 372.04 feet (113.4 m). Only
the Giant Sequoia has more mass. The largest redwood by volume is the
42,500 cubic foot (1,205 m³) "Lost Monarch", located in Jedediah Smith
Redwoods State Park. Mature Coast redwoods live an average of
800-1500 years and a few are documented to be 2,000 years old, making
them some of the longest-living organisms on earth. They are highly
resistant to disease, due to a thick protective bark and high tannin
content. Redwoods prefer sheltered slopes, slightly inland and near
water sources such as rivers and streams, and are very fast-growing.
Both coastline and the Coast Mountain
Ranges can be found within park boundaries. The majority of the rocks
in the parks are part of the Franciscan Assemblage, uplifted from the
ocean floor millions of years ago. These sedimentary rocks are
primarily sandstones, siltstones, and varieties of shale, with lesser
amounts of metamorphic rocks such as chert and greenstone. For the
most part, these rocks are easily eroded, and can be viewed along the
seacoast and where rivers and streams have cut small gorges. Formed
during the Cretaceous age, they are highly deformed from uplift and
folding processes. In some areas, river systems have created fluvial
deposits of sandstones, mudstones, and conglomerates, which are
transported into the park from upstream. Redwood Creek follows the
Grogan Fault; along the west bank of the creek, schist and other
metamorphic rocks can be found, while sedimentary rocks of the
Franciscan Assemblage are located on the east bank.
Other than the DeMartin Redwood Youth Hostel, a low-amenities
shared lodging facility (near Klamath), there are no hotels or motels
within the parks boundaries. However, nearby towns provide small
hotels and inns, with extensive lodging options available in the
regional trading centers of Crescent City on the northern end of the
park and Arcata and Eureka located to the south. The park is 340 miles
(550 km) north of San Francisco, California, and 330 miles (530 km)
south of Portland, Oregon, and U.S. Route 101 passes through it from
north to south. The Smith River National Recreation Area, part of the
Six Rivers National Forest, is adjacent to the north end of RNSP.
While the state parks have front country campsites
that can be driven to, the federal sections of the park do not, and
hiking is the only way of reaching back country campsites. These are
at Mill Creek campground in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park and
Jedediah Smith campground in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, which
together have 251 campsites, the Elk Prairie campground in Prairie
Creek Redwoods State Park which has 75, and the Gold Bluffs Beach
campground which has 25 campsites. Other nearby state parks have
additional front country camping. Back country camping is by permit
only and is only allowed in designated sites, except on gravel bars
along Redwood Creek.
Fire hazards limit camping in the back country to
five consecutive nights, and 15 nights in any one year. Proper food
storage to minimize encounters with bears is strongly enforced, and
hikers and backpackers are required to take out any trash they
Almost 200 miles (320 km) of hiking trails exist in
the parks, but during the rainy season some temporary footbridges are
removed, as they would be destroyed by high streams. Throughout the
year, trails are often wet and hikers need to be well prepared for
rainy weather and consult information centers for updates on trail
Horseback riding and mountain biking are popular
but are only allowed on certain trails. Kayaking is popular along the
seacoast and in the various rivers and streams. Kayakers and canoeists
frequently travel the Smith River, which is the longest un-dammed
river remaining in California. Fishing for salmon and steelhead, (a
highly prized anatropous form of rainbow trout over 16 inches or 40 cm
long), is best in the Smith and Klamath rivers. A California sport
fishing license is required to fish any of the rivers and streams.
Hunting is not permitted anywhere in the parks, but is allowed in
nearby National Forests.
The park has two visitor centers and three additional information
points. At the visitor centers, guided nature walks and general
information is available. Each campground offers campfire talks during
the summer months as well as guided tours. The parks have many picnic
areas, which are all easily accessed by vehicle.
Mount Rainier Park is a United States
Nat. Park located in SE. Pierce County & NE Lewis County, Washington
state. It was established on March 2, 1899, the fifth national park in
the United States. The park contains 368 square miles (953 km²) and
all of Mount Rainier, a 14,411-foot (4,392 m) strata volcano. The
mountain rises abruptly from the surrounding land with elevations in
the park ranging from 1,600 feet (490 m) to over 14,000 feet
(4,300-m). The highest point in the Cascade Range, around it are
valleys, waterfalls, sub-alpine wildflower meadows, old growth forest
and more than 26 glaciers cap
the peak and extend down the mountain's slopes.
The volcano is often shrouded in clouds that dump enormous amounts of
rain and snow on the peak every year and hide it from the crowds that
head to the park on weekends.
Rainier is circled by the Wonderland Trail and is covered by several
glaciers and snowfields totaling some 35 square miles (91 km²). Carbon
Glacier is the largest glacier by volume in the continental United
States, while Emmons Glacier is the largest glacier by area. About 1.3
million people visit Mount Rainier National Park each year. Mount
Rainier is a popular peak for mountain climbing with some 10,000
attempts per year with approximately 25% making it to the summit. The
park contains outstanding examples of old growth forests and
The park receives heavy annual precipitation, which
supports the growth of thick forest below the timberline at about 1980
m (about 6500 ft). The diverse wildlife includes mountain lion,
bobcat, elk, bear, deer, and mountain goat. Mount Rainier was named in
1792 by the English explorer George Vancouver after British Rear
Admiral Peter Rainier. The Native American name for the mountain,
Tahoma, means “The mountain that was god.” The first successful ascent
was made in 1870. Area, 953.5 sq km (368.1 sq mi)
One of the Parks' Main Attractions
Paradise (46.79° N 121.74° W) is the name of an area at approximately
5,400 feet (1,600 m) on the south slope of Mount Rainier in the
national park. Paradise is the most popular destination for visitors
to Mount Rainier National Park.62% of the over 1.3 million people who
visited the park in 2000 went to Paradise. Paradise is the location of
the historic Paradise Inn (built 1916), Paradise Guide House (built
1920) and Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center (built 1966).
The National Park Service says that "Paradise is
the snowiest place on Earth where snowfall is measured regularly.
1,122 inches (93.5 ft, 28.5 m) of snow fell during the winter of
1971-1972, setting a world record for that year. It also holds the
Cascade Range record for most snow on the ground with 367 inches (932
cm) on March 10 1956.
Not just a great Valley...but a shrine to human foresight,
strength of granite, power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and
the tranquility of the High Sierra.
Yosemite National Park, one of the first wilderness
parks in the United States, is best known for its waterfalls, but
within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand
meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much
Did You Know?
That 95% of Yosemite is designated Wilderness? In this stunning
natural paradise you can experience unparalleled opportunities for
solitude while enjoying one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
The Season of Waterfalls &
Wildflowers in Yosemite.
Spring brings heart-stopping waterfalls and carpets of
wildflowers to Yosemite. Rivers filled with fresh snow-melted
water tumble over the soaring granite cliffs into Yosemite Valley.
In addition to Yosemite’s grand falls, like Yosemite Falls or
Bridal-Veil Fall, visitors may be treated to dozens of smaller
ephemeral falls as high country water courses down to the Merced
River. Meanwhile, the meadows are slowly filling with wildflowers
starting first at the lower elevations, and slowly rising as warmer
days settle in Come visit Yosemite’s Springtime and keep your eyes
Activities & Sightseeing
Things to do
Rock Climbing -
Snowboarding - Downhill
Pack and Saddle Trips -
Big Wall Guided Climbs -
High Sierra Camp Trips -
Glacier Point Ski Hut Trips
Guided Walks & Hikes
Night Prowl - Twilight
Stroll - Photo
Ranger Walks and Talks - Explore
Historic Ahwahnee Tour -
Cliffs and Climbers Hike -
Adventure Hike -
Custom/Private Hikes - Full
Moon Snowshoe -
Mule and Horseback Rides -
Guided Climbs...and more.
Bikes - Rafts - Climbing Shoes - Climbing Helmets - Camping
Latest Update as
of Aug. 2010;
*Due to several
major fires over the past few years the park is void of mature trees,
and vegetation, and seems bare with little animal visibility. There
are also constant and lengthy delays due to over crowding and road
construction. Photography and fishing is incredibly restricted and
there are just too many ridiculous regulations for truly enjoying the
After a lengthy tour of the park for 2 weeks in
late July and Aug. 2010, Travelers Digest recommends that people
seeking the absolute best park travel north to one of the most
breathtaking National Parks in America...The Glacier National Park
in Northern Montana, which transcends across the Canadian border. More
details and lots of scenic photos will be posted soon.
Thank you, Michael Smith
Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America's first
national park. Located in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, it is home to a
large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and
elk. Preserved within Yellowstone National Park are Old Faithful and a
collection of the world's most extraordinary geysers and hot springs,
and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
Things to do
Old Faithful, the most popular geyser in the world, and hundreds of
other geysers and hot springs. View the colorful Grand Canyon of the
Yellowstone, and enjoy the wild beauty of Yellowstone Lake. Look for
bears and wolves, elk and buffalo in the Lamar and Hayden Valleys.
Discover Fort Yellowstone and learn about the park's history. Hiking,
camping, fishing, enjoying exhibits and films, and attending
Ranger-led programs are among the many ways you can enjoy Yellowstone
Contact the park officials for current conditions. Park is
accessible from late March to Mid Oct.
From March each year all main park roads and entrances are plowed and
open. Expect spring conditions with a remaining heavy snow pack.
Visitors should be prepared for a wide range of spring weather
Yellowstone's climate is one of cold winters and moderate summers.
Most of the park is above 7,500 feet and the weather is unpredictable.
Be prepared for changing temperatures, storms and emergencies.
Bryce Canyon is a national park located in southwestern Utah in
the United States. Contained within the park is Bryce Canyon. Despite
its name, this is not actually a canyon, but rather a giant natural
amphitheater created by erosion along the eastern side of the
Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctive due to its geological
structures, called hoodoos, formed from wind, water, and ice
erosion of the river and lakebed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange
and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views to visitors.
Bryce is at a much higher elevation than nearby
Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon. The rim at Bryce varies from
8,000 to 9,000 feet (2400 to 2700 m), whereas the south rim of the
Grand Canyon sits at 7,000 feet (2100 m) above sea level. The area
therefore has a very different ecology and climate, and thus offers a
contrast for visitors to the region (who often visit all three parks
in a single vacation).
The canyon area was settled by Mormon pioneers in
the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the
area in 1875. The area around Bryce Canyon became a U.S. National
Monument in 1924 and was designated as a national park in 1928. The
park covers 56 mi² (145 km²). The park receives relatively few
visitors compared to Zion Canyon and the Grand Canyon, largely due to
its remote location. The town of Kanab, Utah is situated at a central
point between these three parks.
Bicycles are restricted to paved roadways and there are NO bike
lanes in the park.
Camping and Campfires
Camping is allowed in campgrounds and at designated backcountry
sites with a fee permit. Building wood or ground fires is prohibited
in the Backcountry.
Flora and Fauna
Ponderosa pines, high elevation meadows and fir-spruce forests
border the rim of the plateau, while panoramic views of three states
spread beyond the park's boundaries. This area boasts some of the
nation's best air quality. This, coupled with the lack of nearby large
light sources, creates unparalleled opportunities for star gazing.
Elevations ranging from 6,000 feet to 9,000 feet
and diverse soil and moisture conditions influence the park's plant
life. More than 400 species grow in the park. At the park's
comparatively high elevations, many wildflowers that bloom in spring
elsewhere may bloom late in summer here.
Size and Visitation
Bryce Canyon National Park consists of 37,277 acres of scenic
colorful rock formations and desert wonderland. The majority of park
visitors come during June to September and are lowest in December
through February. Each year the park is visited by more than 1.5
million visitors from all over the world. Languages as varied as the
shapes and colors of the hoodoos express pleasure in the sights.
A powerful and inspiring landscape, the Grand Canyon overwhelms our
senses through its immense size; 277 river miles (446km) long, up to
18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep.
Grand Canyon Geology
Grand Canyon National Park,
a World Heritage Site, encompasses 1,218,375 acres and lies on the
Colorado Plateau in northwestern Arizona. The land is semi-arid and
consists of raised plateaus and structural basins typical of the
southwestern United States. Drainage systems have cut deeply through the
rock, forming numerous steep-walled canyons. Forests are found at higher
elevations while the lower elevations are comprised of a series of
Well known for its geologic
significance, the Grand Canyon is one of the most studied
geologic landscapes in the world. It offers an excellent record of three
of the four eras of geological time, a rich and diverse fossil record, a
vast array of geologic features and rock types, and numerous caves
containing extensive and significant geological, paleontological,
archeological and biological resources. It is considered one of the
finest examples of arid-land erosion in the world. The Canyon, incised
by the Colorado River, is immense, averaging 4,000 feet deep for its
entire 277 miles. It is 6,000 feet deep at its deepest point and 15
miles at its widest. However, the significance of Grand Canyon is not
limited to its geology.
The Park contains several major
ecosystems. Its great biological diversity can be attributed to
the presence of five of the seven life zones and three of the four
desert types in North America. The five life zones represented are the
Lower Sonoran, Upper Sonoran, Transition, Canadian, and Hudsonian. This
is equivalent to traveling from Mexico to Canada. The Park also serves
as an ecological refuge, with relatively undisturbed remnants of
dwindling ecosystems (such as boreal forest and desert riparian
communities). It is home to numerous rare, endemic (found only at Grand
Canyon), and specially protected (threatened/endangered) plant and
animal species. Over 1,500 plant, 355 bird, 89 mammalian, 47 reptile, 9
amphibian, and 17 fish species are found in the park.
The Grand Canyon is considered one of the natural wonders of the world
largely because of its natural features. The exposed
geologic strata - layer upon layer from the basement Vishnu schist to
the capping Kaibab limestone - rise over a mile above the river,
representing one of the most complete records of geological history that
can be seen anywhere in the world. Geologic formations such as gneiss
and schist found at the bottom of the Canyon date back 1,800 million
years. This geologic incline creates a diversity of biotic communities,
and five of the seven life zones are present in the park.
The entire park area is considered to be semi-arid desert, but distinct
habitats are located at different elevations along the 8,000 foot
elevation gradient. Near the Colorado River, riparian vegetation and
sandy beaches prevail. Just above the river corridor a desert scrub
community exists complete with a wide variety of cacti and warm desert
scrub species. A pinion pine and juniper forest grows above the desert
scrub up to 6,200 feet, while between 6,200 feet and 8,200 feet
ponderosa pine is abundant. On the North Rim at elevations above 8,200
feet, a spruce-fir forest tops out the park.
As in all natural habitats, the type and abundance of organisms is
directly related to the presence or absence of water. The Colorado River
and its tributaries, as well as springs, seeps, stock tanks and
ephemeral pools provide oases to flora and fauna in this semi-arid
southwest desert area.
The arid climate has been a benefit to the Paleontological resources of
the park. The dry climate has been instrumental in preserving many
prehistoric fossils deep within caves in Grand Canyon's geologic
SUMMER temperatures on the South Rim are relatively pleasant.
North Rim temperatures are a few degrees cooler due to the higher
elevation. Inner canyon temperatures are extreme. Daytime highs at the
river often exceed 105°F. Thunderstorms frequently occur during July,
August, and early September.
WINTER conditions on the South Rim can be extreme. The road into the
North Rim is closed from the first heavy snow in November or early
December to mid-May.
SPRING and FALL. Come prepared for a variety of conditions. Pleasant
weather can change to rain or cold.
Did You Know?
The Grand Canyon is considered one of the natural wonders of the world
largely because of its natural features. The exposed geologic strata,
layer upon layer, rise over a mile above the river, representing one
of the most complete records of geological history that can be seen
anywhere in the world.
The Golden Gate Bridge is a
suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of
the San Francisco Bay onto the Pacific
Ocean. As part of both US Highway 101 and State Route 1, it connects
the city of San Francisco on the northern tip of the San Francisco
Peninsula to Marin County.
The Golden Gate Bridge had the longest suspension
bridge span in the world when it was completed in 1937 and has become
an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and California.
Since its completion, the span length has been surpassed by eight
other bridges. It still has the second longest suspension bridge main
span in the United States, after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New
York City. In 2007, it was ranked fifth on the List of America's
Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.
Pedestrians (including wheelchair users) and bicyclists may access
the sidewalks during daylight hours. Pedestrians and bicyclists share
the east sidewalk on weekdays and all must pay close attention as the
sidewalks can get very busy. The Bridge is 1.7 miles long and we
encourage you to wear comfortable shoes and layered clothing. Roller
Blades, Skateboards and Roller Skates are not permitted. Dogs are
permitted only if under control and on a leash at all times.
Pedestrians and bicyclists may access the east
sidewalk, located near the Strauss Statue, daily (hours adjusted
seasonally). On weekdays, pedestrians and cyclists must share the east
sidewalk from 5 am to 3:30 pm. As the sidewalk can get very busy, please
pay close attention and watch for passing cyclists. The sidewalks can be
accessed from the southeast parking lot or the northeast parking lot.
Take a short walk to the Fort Point overlook from the
southeast parking lot . Follow the brick sidewalk located behind the
Strauss Statue and continue to follow the bricks to the right until they
join an asphalt walk. Then follow that to the left to the overlook. Take
a walk through the renovated garden area on the southeast side of the
Bridge. Stepping back from the Strauss Statue, visitors are faced with
yet another visual treat: the immaculate gardens. On less than five
acres, the annual and perennial flower beds and manicured hedges accent
the brick sidewalks inviting guests to wander up or down a path to view
the Bridge from a different prospective. The gardens have been acclaimed
in Joan S. Hockaday's book The Gardens of San
Francisco and in
Pacific Horticulture Magazine.
A trip to the Golden Gate Bridge would not be complete without a visit
to the Gift Center, located in the historic "Roundhouse" on the
southeast side, behind the Strauss Statue. Designed in 1938, the
Roundhouse was originally a restaurant for passing motorists. Now
it is open daily, 8:30 am to 7:30 pm during the summer and 8:30 am to
6:30 pm during the winter. The Gift Center offers a variety of
historical information, photos, books, posters, videos, and various
souvenirs of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Construction statistics of the Golden Gate Bridge are presented on a
cross section of one of the Bridge's main cables displayed to the left,
and a little behind, the Strauss Statue. The main cable section
demonstrates the magnitude of this incredible engineering feat. The
Strauss Statue is located on the southeast side of the Bridge. The
statue of the original Chief Engineer stands as a constant reminder of
his vision and determination to build this modern wonder. The Roundhouse
Gift Center located behind the Strauss Statue offers a wealth of books
and videos about the history of the Golden Gate Bridge.
When visiting the Vista Point parking lot located on
the northeast side of the Golden Gate Bridge, be sure to visit the Lone
The Bridge Café is located on the southeast side of the Bridge. The
Café is open daily from 9:30 am to 5 pm during winter months, and 9 am
to 7 pm during summer months. A variety of snacks, including muffins,
sandwiches, salads, desserts, sodas, water and Starbuck's coffee, is
available to reenergize you during your visit.
The Golden Gate Bridge experience...
If you are somewhat adventurous, and want an astounding visual, walk
onto the Golden Gate Bridge. Being on foot you can really appreciate its
magnitude and what it must of been like for the men building this
phenomenal structure. At mid-span you are 220 feet above the water's
surface and ships below appear like small toys. The distance from one
vista point to another is 1.7 miles and is a most fulfilling trip, just
be cautious of the high wind.
Pedestrians are allowed only on the east (city side)
sidewalk, during daylight hours, and pets are not allowed for safety
Guided Tours: Many San Francisco tour
operators include the Golden Gate Bridge in their tour itineraries, but
most allow only a few minutes to get out at the south vista point. City
Guides offers regular, free walking tours. Stroll with them and learn
who named it, how the structure cheated the law of concrete and steel,
and what members of the Halfway to Hell club did to join it.
Travelers Digest Review
We rate the Golden Gate Bridge as one of the most inspiring
of human endeavors and a must visit. It's an iconic San Francisco sight
and is one of the world's most desired American destinations. The entire
San Francisco Bay is absolutely stunning so be sure to check-out one of
the world's most scenic parks...The Golden Gate Park.
As well as info on the Petrified Forest Park
The Painted Desert is definitely a must visit. It
received its name from the Spaniards who named it "el Desierto Pintado"
due to its brightly colored landscape. It is a broad area of badlands
located in Northern Arizona in the United States. The area within the
Petrified Forest National Wilderness is also known as the Painted
Desert Wilderness. Much of the Painted Desert region is located within
the Navajo Nation. The region is also home to a number of county parks
such as the Little Painted Desert County Park found just north of
Winslow. The Navajo and the Hopi people have lived in the region for
at least five hundred, and one thousand years, respectively. Exact
time periods are still a mystery
The Painted Desert covers an area of 93,533 acres
that stretches southeast from the Grand Canyon to the *Petrified
Forest National Park and runs roughly astride and just north of
the Little Colorado and the Puerrco Rivers.. The desert comprises
stratified layers of mineral and decayed organic matter. Many hardened
dunes can be found. These hardened dunes are visually distinct due to
the bands of grays, reds, oranges and yellows which are then shaped by
natural wind and rain patterns. The area is noted to be especially
beautiful at sunset and sunrise when the land appears to glow in hues
of violet, blue, red and gold. Other key features include the many
mesas and buttes that rise sharply from the desert floor. Sparse
desert flora and fauna can also be found.
In the southern portions of the desert the remains
of a Triassic Era coniferous forest have fossilized over millions of
years. Wind, water and soil erosion continue to change the face of the
landscape by shifting sediment and exposing layers of the Chinle
Formation. An assortment of fossilized prehistoric plants and animals
are found in the region, as well as dinosaur tracks and the evidence
of early human habitation.
Much of the region is accessible only by foot or
unpaved road though major highways and paved roads cut across the
area. Depending on use, location and duration of stay, travelers might
be required to purchase permits from the appropriate authorities. The
towns of Cameron and Tuba City, both within the Navajo Nation, are two
major settlements. One interesting side note about Tuba City and
Cameron is that parking lots and yards are often covered by bright red
dust that is blown in from the surrounding lands by dust storms.
Currently coal and petroleum mining operations are active in the
region and red clay is retrieved from the desert by locals. This clay
is then used to produce handmade pottery to be sold at roadside stands
and souvenir shops.
Petrified Forest National Park
With one of the world's largest and most colorful concentrations
of petrified wood, multi-hued badlands of the Painted Desert, historic
structures, archeological sites, and displays of 225 million year old
fossils, this is a surprising land of scenic wonders and fascinating
Petrified Forest was set aside as a national
monument in 1906 to preserve and protect the petrified wood for its
scientific value. It is recognized today for having so much more,
including a broad representation of the Late Triassic paleo-ecosystem,
significant human history, clear night skies, fragile grasslands
ecosystem, and unspoiled scenic vistas.
Scientific studies are on-going at the park.
Paleontologists find new fossils, including new species of plants and
animals, each year. Biologists study living plants and animals,
including vegetation surveys and reptile, amphibian, and mammal
projects. Archeological site monitoring is on-going. Air quality,
weather, and seismic monitoring stations constantly generate new data.
Petrified Forest National Park has one of the best geologic and
fossil records of the Late Triassic in the world. Learn about fossils
from petrified wood to dinosaurs, review a list of published
scientific papers, see what current research in the park has revealed,
Science and Education Center Lecture Series
As part of the Petrified Forest National Park Science and
Education Center, a monthly lecture series is held on the first
Wednesday of each month. Topics include paleontology, geology,
archeology, and others. Admission is free, and the public is invited
Petrified Forest National Park has variable weather throughout the
year. Summers are hot with thunderstorms from July through September.
With an elevation of over 5,000 feet, winters can be quite cold and
snow is a possibility. Spring and fall can be hot or cold with rapidly
changing conditions during the day. Always be prepared!
Did You Know?
Petroglyphs are sometimes calendars, marking events like the summer
solstice with interactions between the glyph, the sun, and natural
Travel through the park is by private vehicle, bicycle, motorcycle, or
commercial tour only. The park road, parking lots, and pull outs are
suitable for large recreation vehicles, including those towing smaller
vehicles. Off road vehicle travel is not allowed within the park,
including mountain bikes.
Travel time through the park is at least 45
minutes, though an average visit is 3-4 hours with several stops at
viewpoints or trails along the park road.
The Snake River
at Hells Gate,
The Snake River at Hells Gate is a major tributary of the Columbia
River in the U.S. states of Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
The river's length is 1,040 miles (1,670 km), its watershed drains
108,000 square miles (280,000 km²), and the average discharge at its
mouth is 56,900 cubic feet per second (1,610 m³/s). The river flows
from its source in Yellowstone National Park through a series of
mountain ranges, canyons, and plains.
The canyon, as well as the river with its excellent white-water
rapids, is a desolate, but stunning example of America's diverse
beauty. The upper part of Snake River lie in the Rocky Mountains and
in southern Idaho the river flows through the broad Snake River Plain.
Moving onwards to the Idaho-Oregon border the river flows through
Hells Canyon, part of a larger physiographic region called the
Columbia River Plateau, through which the Snake River flows through
Washington to its confluence with the Columbia River. Parts of the
river's basin lie within the Basin and Range province, though it is
itself a physiographic section of the Columbia Plateau province.
Altogether it is part of the larger Intermundane Plateaus
The Snake is the largest tributary of the Columbia
River, with a mean discharge of 50,000 cubic feet per second
(1,400 m³/s), or 56,900 cubic feet per second (1,610 m³/s) according
to the USGS, the 12th largest in the United States. It also feed The
Shoshone Falls which is actually higher than the Niagara Falls in New
Hells Canyon is a ten mile wide canyon
located along the border of northeastern Oregon and western Idaho in
the United States. It is North America's deepest river gorge at 7,993
feet (2436 m) and the most important feature of Hells Canyon National
The canyon was carved by the waters of the Snake
River and plunges more than a mile below the canyon's west rim on the
Oregon side and 8,000 feet below the peaks of Idaho's Seven Devils
Mountains range to the east. The area is inaccessible by road.
Aside from being known as the deepest river gorge
in North America, the area offers scenic vistas of mountain peaks and
cascading waters, and glimpses of abundant wildlife in a remote
Prehistoric tribes roamed the area and artifacts
from these earlier inhabitants as well as the colorful ruins of early
miners and settlers are visible. The area can be experienced by land,
trail or boat.
The earliest known settlers in Hells Canyon were the Nez Perce
tribe. Others tribes visiting the area were the Shoshone-Bannock,
northern Piute and Cayuse Indians. The mild winters, ample plant and
wildlife attracted human habitation. Pictographs and Petroglyphs on
the walls of the canyon are a record of the Indian settlements.
In 1806, three members of the Lewis and Clark
Expedition entered Hells Canyon along the Salmon River. However, they
turned back without seeing the canyon. It wasn't until 1811 that the
Wilson Price Hunt expedition explored Hells Canyon while seeking a
shortcut to the Columbia River. Hunger and cold forced them to turn
back, as did many explorers who were defeated by the canyon's
inaccessibility. There remains no evidence in the canyon of their
attempts, except their expedition journals.
Idaho was flattened it would be as big as Texas.
first Nuclear Power Plant was built in Idaho in 1951.
first gold boom town was in Idaho.
longest main street in the USA, the 33 mile or 53km long road is in
Island Park, Idaho.
has craters similar to those on the moon that were made about 15,000
years ago from volcanic lava.
called the Gem State because Idaho means “Gem of the Mountains” in
the Shoshone language.
McDonalds’ fries are made from Idaho potatoes.
Click here for America's Most Stunning Locations - Part 2
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