Did you know that today, Sunday, August 25th is the National Park Service Anniversary? So what, right? The NPS celebrates this day along with two other days with FREE entrance to all US national parks!

“For the first time in human history, land—great sections of our national landscape—was set aside, not for kings or noblemen or the very rich, but for everyone, for all time.”

From the National Parks: America’s Best Idea by Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns

The last time I was near a national park was during our winter road trip to Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada. We were thisclose to the Grand Canyon, but icy roads, unexpected snow, AND the US government shut-down prevented us from getting to it safely.

One of these days! But we did visit Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park and I got my photography fix.

Slot Canyon Hike
Almost Antelope Canyon

Here are a few photos of the National Parks I have visited. After 25 separate visits in my lifetime to Yosemite National Park, I may have a few pics! Here are some of my favorites.

A view of Mono Lake (National Monument) in the Eastern Sierra Nevada along Hwy 395. You can just make out the road in the bottom right that winds through the town of Lee Vining and connects with Hwy 120, the gateway to Yosemite through the Tioga Pass entrance.

View of Mono Lake

As much as I thrill to the iconic image of Yosemite’s Half Dome located in the Valley…

Half Dome View from Glacier Point
Half Dome View from Glacier Point

…my heart belongs to Tuolumne Meadows in the high country a few miles in from the Tioga Pass entrance. At almost 10,000 feet in elevation, the air is crisp, the water insanely blue, and the tourists are few!

Dana Fork of the Tuolumne River runs near the campground (Yosemite National Park)

For more on National Parks, consider visiting my previous post NPS Celebrates 100 Years.

Moving away from the North American continent, Hawaii boasts several national parks and recreation areas.

In January 2018, before the Kilauea crater and nearby vents erupted again, we spent a day walking around Hawaii Volcanoes National Park near Hilo on the Big Island.

Kilauea Crater
Steam rises from the very active Kilauea Crater (Painnt filter applied)

On an earlier trip to Oahu in 2006, I also was fortunate to visit Pearl Harbor National Memorial and see the sunken remains of the USS Arizona. Within this structure is the huge memorial plaque with the names of those who perished.

I have been fortunate to visit a variety of national parks, monuments and recreation areas, mostly in California, all US public lands. I never will forget my parents’ insistence on visiting these locations during my life.

  • Alcatraz Island in San Francisco
  • Cabrillo National Monument (Point Loma, San Diego)
  • Death Valley
  • Devil’s Postpile Nat’l Monument in Mammoth Lakes
  • Fort Point Presidio and Presidio of San Francisco, Golden Gate park
  • Lassen Volcanic
  • Mojave Nat’l Preserve
  • Muir Woods Nat’l Monument North San Francisco Bay
  • Pony Express Trail (came through Old Sacramento),
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
  • Yosemite National Park

Even if you miss the free admission day, paying the entrance fee for a day or a week is worth more to you in the long term than paying your HMO’s co-pay when you must visit the doctor for effects of lack of exercise!

Have you heard of ParkRx? Doctors in South Dakota get these prescriptions through a new program run by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks and the state‘s Department of Health. For me, I would love to get a prescription to visit a park rather than drugs to lower my cholesterol!

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”

John Muir, Our National Parks

Whether you live in the US or another country, why is it so important to visit our national lands? Because someone with vision understood the vital importance of setting aside public lands for all of us to enjoy and for future generations.

Next time you visit a National Park, a public playground or any other public leisure space, say a quick thank you to those visionaries: Teddy Roosevelt, John Muir, Jane Addams, Steven T Mather, among many.

I dearly love this image of my brother-in-law’s posture as he takes in his first view of Tuolumne Meadows.

Yosemite is the People's Park

This post is partially inspired by Snow’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Tourism.

I am taking a short break to get caught up with school prep and other exciting things, so there is NO photo challenge for September 1, Labor Day weekend. Thank you to all who participate each week!

Sunday Stills resumes September 8. September themes are up on my Sunday Stills Photography page

Which national parks, monuments or public lands have you visited so far?

81 thoughts on “Sunday Stills: The People’s National #Parks

  1. We just visited Cumberland Island National Park in Georgia and had a wonderful time exploring and making discoveries. I should have saved that post for your link up. Oh well, my bad. We are planning a trip out west in the spring, but that will most likely be concentrated in Oregon and Washington. Maybe we should revise the plan a bit. I would love to see your ‘almost Antelope Canyon’ as I am sure it will be just as beautiful and much less crowded than the real deal. P.S. I downloaded the Painnt app and am having fun with it. Thanks for recommending.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great that you got a trip into a National park, Suzanne, sounds beautiful. A part of the country I would love to visit some day. We hope to go back to Valley of Fire park this winter to see the rest of the amazing rock formations. Glad you like that Painnt app, it’s fun. Now that I have Lightroom, I was interested in Topaz Labs filters but they just raised the price.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Graham. Carey’s body language just spoke volumes as he stood there. I’m glad I could capture that moment. The Pearl Harbor Memorial is quite amazing. I’m sure you know it is situated over the top of the ship’s remains, and huge bubbles of oil still surface. A humbling experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great post – it got me thinking of all the national parks I’ve visited around the world and how I’ve mostly taken them for granted! Unfortunately, I’ve never been to the US (except Hawaii + some transit airports on trips elsewhere) but if I ever do go, I would like to experience something as grandiose as these enormous, wild parks 🙂 Beautiful! And how awesome about the prescriptions!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Donna! For all the wonderful photo opportunities there are, nothing beats standing in front of Half Dome or at the rim of the Grand Canyon and just being there to drink it all in. Once we really retire, our little trailer is going to see the rest of the US and beyond!


    1. I’m so happy to be part of a system that believes in the value of public lands AND thinks that doctor’s prescriptions to parks may heal our depression and obesity epidemics. I know the rest of the world has a LOT of public lands, how fortunate we all are!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Terri! National Parks are my favorite destinations in the US and elsewhere. I’ve been to way too many to recount or keep track of, especially in the Southwest. Wonderful experiences and memories. Now that we are back east, we are visiting a couple in Canada and will return to Acadia NP in September. Enjoy your short blogging break!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jacqui, I just wanted to thank you for that fab review of my book! I hadn’t seen it until Sally Cronin’s archived posts feature today! Are you on campus this week? Sacramento State started today so I am back to the classroom! I just love it. Have great day!


      1. Unfortunately this cannot be right – you must have thought it was mine, but it was not… If you search for “VegasGreatAttractions”, yest, it is, but for “Valley of Fire State Park” no 😦 My site is not that popular. There are many big “Vegas” sites way before me.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely pictures of our gorgeous national parks! I’ve been to all the ones you listed, but not to Pearl Harbor Memorial (yet). I bought a National Park Passport book a few years ago and I am slowly filling up the pages with stamps and stickers. Don’t forget the National Park Senior Pass (you need to be 62, so you are WAY too young, I know 🙂 ). At a one-time fee of $80, you can get into most U.S. national parks for free!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will be looking forward to 62, and by the way, that’s in 2 years, Janis! Californians are blessed with so many national parks in our own backyard. I’m impressed with the number of so many international public parks that have been shared for this theme!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What beautiful photos you’ve taken of these incredible places. I’ve visited some of our great national parks and hope to visit more. They do belong to us and we should both care for and enjoy them. You must get yourself to the Grand Canyon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree so much that these national parks were the brilliant vision of preserving national treasures, especially at a time where that wasn’t a real concern for so many people! I’ve only been to two national parks and I loved them!

    Liked by 1 person

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