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Thanks to President Woodrow Wilson, we can all gaze in awe at the natural bounty of the most beautiful U.S. national parks. The variety of landscapes offered by these parks are astounding to behold, and millions of interested travelers make the trek to visit them every year.
Grand Canyon National Park
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Left to its own devices, nature produces astounding geologic forms—the highlight of which may be the Grand Canyon’s steep terra-cotta cliffs. Nature started its dramatic work on the Grand Canyon over 1.2 billion years ago, as the Colorado River eroded the rock face. The unique landscape draws millions to its North Rim, the go-to viewing spot for keen visitors. If there’s one thing you have to do while visiting, it’s camping under the stars. The night sky at the canyon is especially dark—the contrast against the stars’ bright light mesmerizes even the most well-traveled guests.
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Yellowstone’s territory extends over 2.2 million acres and is situated in the northwest corner of Wyoming. It sits atop the largest supervolcano in North America, which is what has generated the geysers and hot springs that sit at its surface. Thousands of years of wind erosion has created Canyon Village, a tan-colored rock face cut through by its river. In addition to the canyons, valleys of grass and prismatic hot springs, Yellowstone is home to the oldest roaming herd of buffalo.
Glacier National Park
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Glacier National Park is the highlight of anyone’s trip to Montana. It’s known as “The Crown of the Continent,” and offers some of the most exquisite scenery in the world. The hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities are bountiful as the park covers over 16,000 square miles. Glacier National Park is one of the most striking landscapes in the country with over 175 named mountains, 762 lakes, 25 glaciers, 563 streams, 200 waterfalls, and over 745 miles of hiking trails. Definitely, drive down Going-to-the-sun-road, a 50-mile two-lane highway bisecting the park in order to experience all mother nature has to offer.
Grand Teton National Park
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A group of French fur trappers named The Grand Tetons after stumbling across them while traveling through the Teton mountain range. Here you can enjoy the solitude of Jenny Lake, as it proudly stands at the base of the mountain range surrounded by an expansive tree line. You can fish, boat, or canoe through its waters or hide out in a nearby old pioneer settlement to observe the roaming bison. Try hiking a little bit past Jenny Lake to Inspiration Point—it offers a 360-degree vantage point of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
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California is home to the redwoods, glistening lakes, towers of granite slabs, and the mother of all national parks—Yosemite. The national park service has protected Yosemite for years, which means its 1,169 square miles is both well-developed and filled with a lush wilderness. The peak of Yosemite is Glacier Point, an elevated viewpoint that offers an astonishing view of peaks and valleys of stone. Hiking to the Half-Dome is also a must if you’re ever in this pristine park.