America is beautiful, thanks in part to these awe-inspiring sights.
The United States National Parks Service (NPS) has published a comprehensive online guide for tourists who would like to get to know the country’s natural beauty. Here, we offer five of these places, from the driest desert to the richest in biodiversity and greenery.
Death Valley, California-Nevada – Located below sea level, Death Valley is the driest and hottest place in all of North America. A constant drought and summer heat records make Death Valley a land of extremes, but what is really interesting about this site is in its incredible contrasts: the mountain peaks that surround the valley are perpetually covered in snow, and the occasional storms make the valley bloom with a virtually infinite carpet of flowers.
Despite its name, Death Valley is a reservoir of unsuspected biodiversity: visitors are surprised to discover that in its many oases, for example, you can fish.
Acadia, Maine – Little has changed in the landscape of the Maine coast since the French explorer Samuel De Champlain toured it in 1604. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of Acadia’s forests, rivers and coasts, hike its granite mountains, or bike across the historic routes that were previously traveled in carts. The Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife refuge was the first national park dedicated in the 20th century east of the Mississippi River.
Mammoth Cave, Kentucky – Declared a World Heritage Site in 1981, this underground national park is a collection of more than 400 miles of caves and tunnels that have been visited by humans for at least 6,000 years. It is by far the largest cave system in the world.
Redwood Forest, California – Many people know California’s Redwood Forest as home to the tallest trees on the planet. And it is true. But in addition, the park also houses vast meadows, oak forests, rivers and natural streams, undulating along more than 40 miles of Pacific coast. It is considered a mosaic of natural life in which the stars are, of course, trees that tower more than 300 feet high and are almost 600 years old.
Denali, Alaska – Denali encompasses six million acres of wild, unspoiled land, in the heart of central Alaska, crisscrossed by a road that takes visitors through the national park. From the road, visitors can see how the taiga forest gradually changes into tundra until it reaches the highest peak in all of North America: Mount McKinley, more than 20,000 feet high.