51 Photos That Prove America Truly Is Beautiful

The U.S. is an enormous country with all kinds of topographies and characteristics. There is an incredible landscape to satisfy the most capricious of adventure travelers. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

Diablo Lake, Washington

The reservoir in the North Cascade Mountains is located at an elevation of 1,201 feet above sea level. The trail is perfect for hiking year-round. You'll see cascading waterfalls and stunning views of Ross Lake and Colonial, Pyramid, Davis Peaks, as well as Jack Mountain, according to Washington Trails Association. 

Yosemite Valley, California

This is where many of the famous cliffs and waterfalls that make Yosemite National Park famous are located and are accessible by car and bus all year, according to National Park Services. You should get there early in the morning because it gets very busy after 10 a.m.

Maroon Bells, Colorado

The setting sun transforms the aspen trees and Maroon Bells into an absolutely magical place. All that's missing is you, pitching a tent to spend the night in the gorgeous wilderness.

The Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is one of the world's natural wonders, and the park is among the most visited in the U.S. year after year. It's the second largest canyon in the world – 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide. Rafting in the Grand Canyon is an incredible experience, and the backcountry is amazing.

Grinnell Glacier Trail, Montana

Hike Grinnell Glacier for outstanding views of beautiful waterfalls, lakes, hillsides, and wildflower meadows. The trail is about 11.6 miles round trip. As you are following the trail make sure to stay to the right, this will take you along Lake Josephine.

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

The Valley of Fire State Park is a must-see spot for any outdoor enthusiast visiting Vegas and there's arguably no better way to take it all in than from 150 feet up on the side of Lone Rock, especially if you're rappelling down.

Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

Enjoy 35 miles of scenic byway displaying breathtaking scenery. Known as one of the best fall foliage viewing areas in the entire country, the Kanc is designated an American Scenic Byway. The road is a commerce-free climb past colonial farmhouses, scenic covered bridges, and miles of hardwood and evergreen forest.

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

Stark-white sand sparkles under the blue skies. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert and have created the world's largest gypsum dune field. The dunes are ever changing: growing, cresting, then slumping, but always advancing.

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

This South Dakota park is known for its desert like landscape comprised mainly of craggy buttes. Spires shoot up in spectacular fashion in this 244,000-acre park. The rock formations here are some of the fastest eroding landscapes on earth.

Palouse, Washington and Idaho

The Palouse is a serene and pastoral natural wonder. It is characterized by gentle rolling hills covered with wheat fields. The hills were formed over tens of thousands of years from wind-blown dust and silt, called "loess." Seen from the summit of 3,612-foot high Steptoe Butte, they look like giant sand dunes.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Antelope Canyon is one of the most photographed canyons in the American Southwest. It is made up of two canyons. The upper is approximately 4,000 feet in elevation. When the sunlight shines in the colors of the canyon, they appear to vibrate off of the walls.

Na’Pali Coast, Hawaii

This 17-mile stretch of coast on the island of Kauai, the oldest Hawaiian island, is a national park with remote beauty and sheer cliffs. The caves and waterfalls around the cliffs can be explored via kayak, catamaran or raft, while the formidable 11-mile Kalalau foot trail allows for expeditions inland. Some describe it as one of the best hikes in the world.

Denali Mountain and Wonder Lake, Alaska

Even from Wonder Lake, the Denali Peak, formerly known as Mount McKinley, is almost 30 miles away. This is the tallest summit in North America. The 20,320-foot-tall mountain is just one of the national park's amazing features.

Zion National Park, Utah

Go for a variety of outdoor adventures and to explore an immense amount of nature. Go hiking and see ginormous sandstone cliffs and spectacular scenery. Choose one of Zion's three campgrounds for a night under the stars, and follow the Kalob Canyons Road for a scenic drive.

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina

Designed as a recreational drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway provides both stunning scenery and close-up looks of the natural beauty through the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah national parks, which are especially beautiful in the spring. The road is about 500 miles long.

Hill Country, Texas

The Bluebonnet Trail, one of the best places in the world to see spring flowers, is designed as a Drive-Yourself tour. Scenic drives around Horseshoe Bay, Granite Shoals, Kingsland, Inks Lake and Buchanan Dam are a photographer's dream. See what nature's spring splendor looks like.

Skagit Valley, Washington

This is the perfect spring road trip if you live in Seattle or even Vancouver. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is among the best season events in the Pacific Northwest, held in April. There are endless fields of millions tulips bursting into bloom.

Monument Valley Tribal Park, Arizona

Located on the borders of Arizona and Utah, Monument Valley Tribal Park may be most recognized as the backdrop for several of John Ford's famous western-style films and it is widely touted as the defining depiction of the "Wild West." The 17-mile road loops around the park, but a majority of the land lies within the Navajo Nation Reservation. Touring without a permit is a crime.

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, California

It's known for its old-growth redwoods. A few miles inland from the ocean, the park is densely forested with huge ancient trees. The park contains seven percent of all the old-growth redwoods left in the world, according to CA Parks and Recreation.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Shenandoah National Park offers visitors 200,000 acres of pristine mountains, waterfalls and wildlife. Visit in the spring to catch the waterfalls at their most powerful and hike a section of the Appalachian Trail in comfortable 50 to 60-degree weather.

Zabriskie Point, Death Valley, California

You can watch the morning light as it creeps across the eroded badlands of Zabriskie Point to strike Manly Beacon. Death Valley is a land of extremes and is considered one of the hottest, driest and lowest places in the world. Summer temperatures average well over 100F.

Grand Teton, Wyoming

People come to capture breathtaking images. The park provides ample opportunity for shooting large wildlife and dramatic landscapes, which are often most intense at sunrise or dusk. Unexpected beauty and unexpected surprises by charismatic wildlife make a visit to the park a real adventure.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

The Multnomah Falls, which does not dry up in the summer unlike many other waterfalls, is an awe-inspiring cascade of icy water. This magnificent 611-foot-tall attraction is just about half an hour away from Portland.  

Lake Tahoe, Nevada and California

There are so many reasons to visit Lake Tahoe – witness its sheer, unspoiled beauty. The largest alpine lake in North America is surrounded by mountains. Its stunningly crystal clear waters are said to be 99.9 percent pure.

Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming

This is the largest hot spring in the country and third largest in the world, measuring 250 by 300 feet wide and 160 feet deep. The color of the water is due to pigmented bacteria and microbial mats that grow along the edges of the water.

Natchez Trace Cypress Swamp, Mississippi

The boardwalk trail at Cypress Swamp allows you to walk above a water tupelo/bald cypress swamp. Hike the self-guiding track and you may get lucky and see an alligator on this one half mile trail with boardwalks.

Mendenhall Glacier Caves, Alaska

The striking ice caves inside the 12 miles long glacier are constantly on the move as Mendenhall inches towards Mendenhall Lake and changes shape along the way. The best way to access the shimmering blue walls underneath is from the West Glacier Trail with the help of a guide.

Haiku Stairs, Oahu, Hawaii

This is one of the most epic hikes in Hawaii, but it's illegal. The trail, also called Haiku Stairs, is officially closed. This doesn't discourage adventurous hikers from trying their luck reaching the spectacular Puu Keahiakahoe summit. The stairs reach a peak of nearly 3,000 feet.

Whitaker Point, Arkansas

The gorgeous trail is about 3 miles long round trip. It crosses over streams to take you to a crag, which is a rock formation that overhangs from the bluff's face looking like a hawk's beak, overlooking Whitaker Creek and the Upper Buffalo Wilderness, according to Arkansas Tourism.

Northern Lights, Alaska

The city of Fairbanks is a great place to start. The University of Alaska Fairbanks posts a daily Aurora Forecast that details activity and provides maps of where you might have a chance of seeing the Northern Lights.

Bryce Canyon, Utah

This is is many photographs' favorite park. Its wilderness and otherworldly rock spires lure more than a million visitors every year. This is where hoodoos and forest are mixed together. Bryce Canyon is actually is a series of more than a dozen amphitheaters, each of which is carved at least 1,000 feet into the chromatic limestone of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee and North Carolina

The most visited national park in the U.S. for several years in a row is also one of the most gorgeous, especially in October and November. Most people go to the scenic highway that runs along the mountains.

Thor's Well, Oregon

It looks like a sinkhole is draining the sea. It's no wonder that Thor's Well's nickname is "drainpipe of the Pacific." Visit at high tide or during a storm for some spectacular views. The water smashes against the rocks and funnels into the hole.

Devils Tower, Wyoming

The Devil's Tower is an astonishing geologic feature that protrudes out of the rolling prairie surrounding the Black Hills. It is the first national monument in the country, established in 1906. Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest traditional rock climbing areas in North America.

Lake Crescent, Washington

Lake Crescent, one of the most gorgeous lakes in country. Located at the northern edge of Olympic National Park, and just 25 minutes west of Port Angeles, Lake Crescent offers hiking, camping, lodging, kayaking, and other adventurous and recreational activities.

Angel Oak, Charleston, South Carolina

It is estimated to be more than 500 years old; some say it's even older than 1,500. It stands 66.5 feet tall, measures 28 feet in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet. From tip to tip, its longest branch distance is 187 feet.

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

The trailhead to this easy hike is located just outside of Page. It overlooks one of the most stunning views on the Colorado River, 4 miles south of the Glen Canyon Dam, and 7 miles north of mile zero of the Grand Canyon.

The Berkshires, Massachusetts

A popular summer escape for tristate city dwellers, the Berkshires are at least as beautiful come fall. Visitors can enjoy art museums, galleries, incredible music venues and other luxuries typically found in big cities, out in the beautiful countryside of western Massachusetts.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

No visit to Hawaii would be complete without a visit to Volcanoes National Park to see the islands' two giant, active volcanoes. Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world; it has erupted continuously since 1983. Its neighbor, Mauna Loa, is the world's biggest above-water volcano and has been estimated to have been erupting for 700,000 years.

Oneonta Gorge, Oregon

This scenic gorge located in the Columbia River Gorge area is known for the unique aquatic and woodland plants that grow there. The gorge is a major attraction near Portland.

Adirondack Mountains, New York

The state park is known for skiing and snowboarding at Whiteface Mountain and whitewater rafting in the fall, but the warmer months offer an adventurous experience like none other – a cool summer job, incredible hiking, a former Olympic destination, and remote camping.

Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

The Apostle Islands are a group of 21 islands on Lake Superior off the coast of Wisconsin. While they're great for hiking, kayaking and camping in the summer, their true hidden gems are the sea caves tucked along the islands' coasts. During the winter, the lake freezes solid and you can walk across for a must-see spectacle.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Set alongside Ecola State Park, this beach offers incredible views, lovely hikes and it's a bit less crowded in the fall. The town is a popular vacation resort that extends for four miles along the Pacific Ocean. You'll also enjoy odd rock formations, stunning coastline, unique lodgings, and scenic trails.

Atchafalaya Swamp, Louisiana

This is the largest river swamp in the U.S. and is often referred to as "America's wetland." It is even larger than the Everglades in Florida. The basin contains almost one million acres of the country's most significant bottomland hardwoods, bayous, and backwater lakes.

Paradise Valley, Montana

There is no better name for the region. Paradise Valley is one of the most scenic river valleys in the state. The Gallatin Mountain Range is to the west and the astonishing Absaroka Mountain Range to the east.

Great Sand Dunes, Colorado

This is where you'll find the tallest dunes in North America, some as high as 750 feet. And if you think that's impressive, imagine hiking them. Spring is the time to go because the sand doesn't get too hot during the day and sandboarding is an option.

New River Gorge, West Virginia

Rappelling, skydiving, and more adventures abound. Upstream from where the New River meets the Gauley in West Virginia are 53 free-flowing, canyon-rimmed miles of the New River Gorge, part of the National Park system.

Kenai Fjords, Alaska

If you're not ready for the ice to melt yet, visit the Kenai Fjords National Park. The icebergs and glaciers there are majestic year-round. Spring is the time to visit if you want to witness gray whales coming back to Alaska. This is also the time to see how black bears live in their natural environment.

Central Park, New York

Few outdoor destinations in the world are as classic and iconic as Central Park. Tourists love it for its year-round beauty. Regardless of the season, there is always something spectacular to photograph. Enjoy ice skating in the winter and boating in the summer. The park is among the best locations in the entire U.S. for leaf-peeping in the fall.

Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake is the deepest in the U.S. with a measured depth of 1,949 feet. The water is so blue because there is hardly anything else in it – just water, according to the NPS. Boat tours, swimming, fishing, ranger talks, evening programs, camping, and other activities are offered.

Delicate Arch, Utah

It what might be the world's most famous natural arch. The 1.5-mile trail from Wolfe Ranch to the iconic, 65-foot Delicate Arch is not difficult. It also offers sweeping views of Arches National Park, with its characteristic sandstone formations and, in the distance, the snowy La Sal Mountains.

Pacific Coast Highway, California

The Pacific Coast Highway will take you to some remarkable beach towns, some can even be great for surfing, eventually leading to the famous Big Sur, a rugged stretch of California's central coast between Carmel and San Simeon. Drive Big Sur's length via twisting Highway One. The Bixby Bridge is a favorite spot for photos.