USA: UTAH

Visit Utah to be amazed by the world’s best concentration of colorful desert canyon scenery, as illustrated in the following galleries by nature photographer Tom Dempsey. As of 2018, Utah has attracted me to visit 17 times, more than any other area in the world! Related articles: Southwest USA (Arizona, ColoradoNew MexicoNevada, Utah) and Texas.

Utah favorite images


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Parks of Utah

Galleries below include photos with detailed captions from the following impressive parklands:

  1. Zion National Park
  2. Bryce Canyon National Park
  3. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
  4. Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park, near Moab
  5. Arches National Park
  6. Moab area: BLM land
  7. Natural Bridges National Monument
  8. Goblin Valley State Park and nearby BLM slot canyons
  9. Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument, and nearby Shay Canyon on BLM land
  10. Goosenecks State Park
  11. Lake Powell and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, in Utah and Arizona
  12. Capitol Reef National Park
  13. Dinosaur National Monument
  14. Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area, in Arizona and Utah
  15. Southwest USA favorites from Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada
  16. Recommended Utah guidebooks

1. Zion National Park

Photos from Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah, by Tom Dempsey: The Court of the Patriarchs tower over the North Fork of the Virgin River. Hike the West Rim Trail to Angels Landing, Scout Lookout, and beyond, with snow on ground. A seasonal waterfall plunges from Weeping Rock. West Rim Spring plunges in a seasonal waterfall over desert varnish on a Navajo sandstone cliff seen from the Temple of Sinawava. Lichen grows into polygons. Snow melts on Checkerboard Mesa. Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja) flowers bloom.
Unusually diverse plants and animals congregate at Zion, where the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert meet. A free shuttle bus greatly improves park ambiance with quieter roads and less crowding.


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2. Bryce Canyon National Park

Sunrise and sunset make great photo opportunities in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. For example, sunset spotlights eroded hoodoos in the Queen’s Garden (one appears like a profile of Queen Elizabeth with gown). Bryce is actually not a canyon but a giant natural amphitheater created by erosion along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. The ancient river and lake bed sedimentary rocks erode into hoodoos by the force of wind, water, and ice.


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3. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a large, wild park with great hiking in desert and slot canyon scenery in southern Utah. Approach most sights via dirt roads (often impassible when wet), or some on paved roads. These photos by Tom Dempsey are from recommended hikes to Lower Calf Creek Falls, Zebra & Tunnel Slot, Willis Creek slot canyon, Bull Valley Gorge, Cottonwood Wash Road & Narrows, and Rimrock Hoodoos.


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4. Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park, near Moab

Photos from Canyonlands National Park, near Moab, Utah, by Tom Dempsey include: Mesa Arch, sunrise, White Rim Road, Grand View Point Overlook on Island in the Sky, Colorado River canyons, Orange Cliffs Overlook, Green River in Stillwater Canyon, snowy Henry Mountains, Intrepid Potash Inc. Cane Creek Facility, snow on La Sal Mountains, Needles Outpost Campground, Lost Canyon to Peek-a-Boo Trail, Needles District, Echinocereus triglochidiatus (common name Claret Cup Hedgehog, Mojave mound cactus, or Kingcup cactus), Cave Spring Trail, and Historic Cowboy Camp. Nearby, Dead Horse Point State Park provides a dramatic overlook of the Colorado River and high mesas and cliffs of Canyonlands National Park.


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Arch View Resort makes a good base for visiting both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Utah

My wife Carol and I enjoyed staying in our Volkswagon Eurovan Camper at comfortable Arch View Resort, an RV park 10 minutes north of Moab on Highway 191, halfway between Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Arch View Resort has a quieter setting than busy Moab, pleasant views, and full services (unlike nearby National Park campgrounds): 14 cabins, 42 full hook ups for RV water and electricity, 20 tent areas, tree lined spaces, hot showers, general store, laundry, Shell gas station.

Starting an hour before sunrise, we drove from Arch View Resort up to photograph Mesa Arch in Canyonlands NP. Standing room for the best photographs at Mesa Arch viewpoint is limited to about a dozen people looking through the arch to distant sandstone buttes. On Palm Sunday April 9, 2006, Mesa Arch was crowded with other photographers until an hour after sunrise when I could finally move in my tripod. If you want the best tripod spot and fewer photographers, try arriving 40 minutes before sunrise, midweek, and avoid Easter week.

5. Arches National Park

Photos from Arches National Park, Utah, by Tom Dempsey: Devils Garden trails (Landscape Arch, Broken Arch, Skyline Arch, Partition Arch, Navajo Arch, Double O Arch, Pine Tree Arch), the Windows Section, Balanced Rock, Double Arch, South and North Windows, Turret Arch, Courthouse Towers, the Three Gossips, Entrada Sandstone eroding into arches, towers, buttes, snowy La Sal Mountains.


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6. Moab area: BLM land

Near Moab in Utah, we recommend the following great hikes on BLM federal land. [The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior that administers American public lands.]

  1. Corona Arch: Hike 3 miles round trip up Bootlegger Canyon to the half-freestanding Corona Arch, also called Little Rainbow Bridge, which has an impressive opening of 140 feet wide by 105 feet high. Bowtie Arch is a cool bonus en route.
  2. Fisher Towers: The impressive Fisher Towers are eroded from Cutler sandstone capped with Moenkopi sandstone. Hike the Fisher Towers Trail 4.5 miles round trip with 800 feet gain.
  3. Hike Negro Bill Canyon to Morning Glory Bridge, a natural bridge of Navajo Sandstone spanning 243 feet, the sixth largest rock span in the United States.


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7. Natural Bridges National Monument

In Natural Bridges National Monument (near Blanding, San Juan County), walk to three spectacular natural bridges (visited separately from roadside pullouts or connected via a worthwhile loop hike of 6 or 9 miles). White Canyon Creek has cut Sipapu Natural Bridge with a span of 225 feet through a meander of white Permian sandstone of the Cedar Mesa Formation. Kachina Bridge spans 192 feet. Owachomo Bridge spans 180 feet. More photos by Tom Dempsey include: desert varnish coating gorgeous walls; and yellow wallflower (Erysimum asperum) growing in black cryptobiotic soil crust.


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8. Goblin Valley State Park and nearby BLM slot canyons

Admire fanciful hoodoos, mushroom shapes, and rock pinnacles in Goblin Valley State Park, in Emery County between the towns of Green River and Hanksville, in central Utah. The light-colored Curtis Formation caps the reddish-brown suite of rocks called Entrada Sandstone where the park goblins form. On the desert floor bloom vetch flowers, in the pea family. Snow caps Mount Ellen, at the northern end of the Henry Mountains, rising prominently south of the park.

A short drive outside the State Park are some wonderful hikes on BLM land. Hike the memorable 9 mile loop up Little Wild Horse Canyon and back down Bell Canyon. Scramble up and down sandstone ledges, through occasional shallow water holes and fascinating narrow slots. Ding Canyon and the main Wildhorse Canyon are also worth visiting. On the other side of the reef is Crack Canyon, one of our favorite places to see an amazing variety of rock patterns,  4 miles round trip (or longer if you can surpass a rope ascent and more obstacles). The Navajo and Wingate sandstone of the San Rafael Reef was uplifted fifty million years ago into a striking bluff which runs from Price to Hanksville, bisected by Interstate 70 at a breach fifteen miles west of the town of Green River. The San Rafael Reef (and Swell) is one of the wildest places left in Utah


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9. Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument, and nearby Shay Canyon on BLM land

Below are photos from Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument, plus nearby Shay Canyon on BLM land, in Utah, USA, by Tom Dempsey.

  • Newspaper Rock: The cliffs that enclose the upper end of Indian Creek Canyon are covered by hundreds of ancient Indian petroglyphs (rock carvings), one of the largest, best preserved and accessible groups in the Southwest USA. The petroglyphs have a mixture of human (feet, figures), animal (deer, pronghorn, buffalo, horse), abstract and material forms of uncertain meaning. Starting about 2000 years ago, humans have chipped away the dark natural desert varnish to reveal lighter colored Wingate sandstone beneath.
  • Shay Canyon petroglyphs: Nearby on BLM land, an unmarked trail crosses a creek and leads up the wash of Shay Canyon to a remarkable gallery of petroglyphs including flutists, mountain sheep, abstract human figures, and a long-necked bird.


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10. Goosenecks State Park, Utah

Goosenecks State Park overlooks a deep meander of the San Juan River near Mexican Hat, Utah, USA. Millions of years ago, the Monument Upwarp forced the river to carve meanders over 1,000 feet deep (300 m) as the surrounding landscape slowly rose in elevation. (Panorama stitched from 10 photos.) (© Tom Dempsey / Photoseek.com)
Goosenecks State Park overlooks a deep meander of the San Juan River near Mexican Hat, Utah, USA. Millions of years ago, the Monument Upwarp forced the river to carve meanders over 1,000 feet deep (300 m) as the surrounding landscape slowly rose in elevation. (Panorama stitched from 10 photos. Clicking image reaches Add to Cart button for purchase.) © Tom Dempsey / Photoseek.com

11. Lake Powell and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, in Utah and Arizona

Below, view photos from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell, in Utah and Arizona: Willow Creek Canyon, Broken Bow Arch, Llewellyn Gulch, petroglyphs of bighorn sheep chipped into desert varnish, pink cactus flower, frog held in hands, Bishop Canyon, LaGorce Arch, Hite Crossing Bridge (built 1966), and Hite Marina high and dry above the Colorado River in 2015 (at the former upstream limits of Lake Powell). I also photographed an interesting Anasazi kiva (ceremonial room) restored at Three Roof Ruin, on Escalante River Arm of Lake Powell. Just 8 miles outside the park, don’t miss the elegant slot of Leprechaun Canyon in North Wash on federal public BLM land between Hanksville and Hite.

Photos from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell, in Utah and Arizona, include: Willow Creek Canyon, Broken Bow Arch, Llewellyn Gulch, petroglyphs of bighorn sheep chipped into desert varnish, pink cactus flower, frog held in hands, black-tailed jackrabbit (desert hare, Lepus californicus), Bishop Canyon, LaGorce Arch and houseboats. An Anasazi kiva (ceremonial room) was restored at Three Roof Ruin, on Escalante River Arm of Lake Powell.


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12. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

In Capitol Reef National Park, don’t miss the walk to impressive Hickman Natural Bridge, and optionally onward to Rim Overlook, seeing evocative sandstone patterns exfoliating from fossilized sand dunes. On the Capitol Gorge Trail, walk to the Tanks & Pioneer Register; optionally adding a hike to the Jurassic sandstone monolith of Golden Throne. The gallery below also includes photos of scenic Grand Wash, Petroglyphs Boardwalk, and Fruita Schoolhouse (built in 1896) and Historic Orchard.


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13. Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

Visit the real Jurassic Park at world-famous Dinosaur National Monument. The park’s Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry displays a spectacular logjam of fossilized Jurassic dinosaur bones protected by the huge Quarry Exhibit Hall. Although most of the monument is in Moffat County, Colorado, the Dinosaur Quarry is in Utah near Jenson. Dinosaur National Monument is on the southeast flank of the Uinta Mountains straddling Colorado and Utah at the confluence of the Green and Yampa Rivers. The only Apatosaurus skull in the world was found here because the sand-sized sediment preserves bone in great detail without compressing its fragile bones. Later discoveries of so-called “Brontosaurus” bones are a misnomer, as all bones of this sauropod (long necked dinosaur) should now be labeled Apatosaurus. More photos by Tom Dempsey include: Camarasaurus skeleton, Apatosaurus louisae leg bones, Allosaurus head, stegasaurus plate, ancient American petroglyphs, and Split Mountain Campground’s colorful geologic formations. Not all dinosaurs are extinct, since birds are actually the descendants of small nonflying theropods.


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14. Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area, in Arizona and Utah

Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area overlaps both Arizona and Utah. Fossilized sand dunes have eroded into the Coyote Buttes striated formations such as “The Wave.” Over 190 million years, ancient sand dune layers calcified into rock and created “The Wave” in the northwest corner of Arizona near the Utah border. Iron oxides bled through this Jurassic-age Navajo sandstone to create the salmon color. Hematite and goethite added yellows, oranges, browns and purples. Over thousands of years, water cut through the ridge above and exposed a channel that was further scoured by windblown sand into the smooth curves that today look like ocean swells and waves. For the permit required to hike to “The Wave”, contact the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM), who limits access to protect this fragile geologic formation.


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15. Southwest USA favorites from Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada


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16. Recommended Utah guidebooks

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USA: ARIZONA

Check out Tom Dempsey’s photographic portfolios of Arizona, USA. Galleries below include exceptional sights in Grand Canyon National Park; Havasu Canyon within Havasupai Indian Reservation; Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell; Antelope Canyon Navajo Tribal Park; Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park; Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area; Chiricahua National Monument; Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson; and Superstition Wilderness near Phoenix. 

Arizona favorite images


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Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon began forming at least 5 to 17 million years ago and now exposes a geologic wonder, a column of well-defined rock layers dating back nearly two billion years at the base. While the Colorado Plateau was uplifted by tectonic forces, the Colorado River and tributaries carved Grand Canyon over a mile deep (6000 feet / 1800 meters), 277 miles (446 km) long and up to 18 miles (29 km) wide. In 1979, UNESCO honored Grand Canyon National Park as a World Heritage Site.


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Photos from Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, by Tom Dempsey, include: South Rim, Yavapai Point, Maricopa Point, Powell Point, Hopi Point, Mojave Point, Pima Point, Grandview Point, Colorado River seen from Moran Point and Lipan Point, Bright Angel Trail, rider on horse train. A flying hummingbird feeds on Indian Paintbrush flower.

Havasu Canyon, Havasupai Indian Reservation

On the Havasupai Indian Reservation, Havasu Creek flows over Havasu Falls and Mooney Falls through Havasu Canyon, part of the Grand Canyon, in Arizona. The beautiful color in the pools of Havasu Creek is caused by carbonate minerals settling to the bottom, turning it white, and acting as a reflector of the surrounding green and brown mossy cliffs plus the blue sky. This unique color combination creates a striking turquoise pool, and one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.

Havasupai (or Havasu ‘Baaja) means “people of the blue-green water,” and their people have tended fields in the Grand Canyon for at least 700 years. The Havasupai also lived at what is now called Indian Garden on the Bright Angel Trail in the main Grand Canyon, but they were evicted by the National Park Service in the 1920’s. Their brush shelters (wickiups) and gardens were destroyed at Indian Garden, leaving the Havasupai Tribe just 518 acres in Havasu Canyon. In the more enlightened year of 1975, fully 187,500 acres of canyon and rimland were returned to the tribe. As of 2005, about 450 of the tribe’s 650 members live in the village of Supai. As of this 1999 photo trip, Supai is the only town in the United States which still receives its mail by mule train.

Tom and Carol Dempsey in Havasu Canyon, April 1999: Having registered for camping permission from the Havasupai Tribe (external link) a few weeks in advance (as recommended), Carol and I parked our car in the dirt lot at Hualapai Hilltop and backpacked the 8-mile dusty trail downhill into Supai Village. About 25,000 tourists visit each year, so advance reservations are recommended. We checked in at the tribal office, then hiked 2 more miles to the campground, passing the wonderful Havasu Falls, one of the most surprising desert oasis experiences in the world. Impressive Mooney Falls was a short walk further downstream. To more fully experience the isolation of this desert oasis, walk to Supai instead of riding a horse or helicopter. But next time we’ll consider having the mule train carry our packs, to make the desert walk more comfortable. Thank you very much, Havasupai people, for sharing your very special canyon with visitors.

Helicopters carry in people and supplies, but the loud chop-chopping roar disturbed my appreciation of this beautiful natural setting. Out of nowhere, a porta-potty suddenly flew over our heads. Helicopters repeatedly flew full porta-potties, one at a time on a very long cable, out of the heavily-used campground, for disposal elsewhere. A composting toilet would seem to be a more cost effective solution. The densely-packed and worn campground in this narrow canyon would have benefited by further restricting the number of visitors per day.


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Antelope Canyon Navajo Tribal Park

Flash floods in Southwest USA deserts have carved slot canyons into Navajo Sandstone creating astoundingly beautiful natural rock cathedrals. Drive to Antelope Canyon Navajo Tribal Park east of Page on Highway 98 between mileposts 298 and 299 in Arizona, USA. Turn south to Upper Antelope Canyon toll booth and parking lot, which has a 4WD shuttle and guide to reach the slot entrance. Or turn north on Antelope Point Road (Navaho Route N22B) to Lower Antelope Canyon (or “the Corkscrew”) parking lot.


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Lake Powell and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Photos from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell, in Utah and Arizona, include: Willow Creek Canyon, Broken Bow Arch, Llewellyn Gulch, petroglyphs of bighorn sheep chipped into desert varnish, pink cactus flower, frog held in hands, Bishop Canyon, LaGorce Arch. An Anasazi kiva (ceremonial room) was restored at Three Roof Ruin, on Escalante River Arm of Lake Powell.


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Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Don’t miss the spectacular sunset and sunrise at Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park in Arizona. In 2018, I enjoyed rephotographing a favorite balanced rock in the foreground with West and East Mitten Buttes and Merrick Butte on the horizon beyond. Sunrise was easy to photograph, as The View Campground looks directly east to the iconic West and East Mitten Buttes and Merrick Butte.



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Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area, in Arizona & Utah

Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area overlaps both Arizona and Utah. Fossilized sand dunes have eroded wondrous striated formations into the Coyote Buttes such as “The Wave.” Over 190 million years, ancient sand dune layers calcified into rock and created “The Wave” in the northwest corner of Arizona near the Utah border. Iron oxides bled through this Jurassic-age Navajo sandstone to create the salmon color. Hematite and goethite added yellows, oranges, browns and purples. Over thousands of years, water cut through the ridge above and exposed a channel that was further scoured by windblown sand into the smooth curves that today look like ocean swells and waves. For the permit required to hike to “The Wave”, contact the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM), who limits access to protect this fragile geologic formation.


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Sonoran Desert Museum, Tucson

The Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona, shows an impressive variety of live native wildlife and plants. A coati (member of the raccoon family, Procyonidae) climbs a tree. A handler presents a live Barn Owl. Pink cactus flowers bloom.


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Superstition Wilderness, near Phoenix

Hike to Weaver’s Needle, cactus, and jagged rock formations in Superstition Wilderness (“the Superstitions”), in Tonto National Forest, near Phoenix, Arizona, USA.


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Chiricahua National Monument

The Heart of the Rocks Loop Trail (7 to 9 miles) makes an excellent day hike through fascinating arrays of hoodoos in the far southeast corner of Arizona, in Chiricahua National Monument. 27 million years ago, huge volcanic eruptions laid down 2000 feet of ash and pumice which fused into rhyolitic tuff. This rock has eroded into fascinating hoodoos, spires, and balanced rocks which lie above the surrounding desert grasslands at elevations between 5100 and 7800 feet. At Chiricahua, the Sonoran desert meets the Chihuahuan desert, and the Rocky Mountains meet Mexico’s Sierra Madre, making one of the most biologically diverse areas in the northern hemisphere. Colorful cliffs of rhyolite (solidified volcanic ash layers) rise 2000 feet above white sycamore trees in Cave Creek Canyon, in Coronado National Forest, near Portal, Arizona.


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Southwest USA favorites from Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada


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See my neighboring state articles for Southwest USA (UtahColoradoNew MexicoNevada, Arizona) and Texas.

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USA: OREGON & WASHINGTON: Columbia River Gorge

Photos of Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area span both Oregon and Washington, including: Multnomah Falls, Latourell Falls, Wahclella Falls, moss smothered trees on Tanner Creek, Horsetail Falls & Creek, Upper Horsetail (Ponytail) Falls, Beacon Rock, Triple Falls & Middle Falls of Oneonta Gorge, Wahkeena Creek, Fairy Falls, blossoms of Red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum), tugboat pushing barges of grain.


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Recommended Oregon and Washington guidebooks from Amazon.com

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Recommended Oregon guidebooks from Amazon.com

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USA: OREGON: plants, natural patterns

Photos of Oregon plants and natural patterns include: sun rays bursting through foggy trees at Champoeg State Heritage Area, insect-eating (carnivorous) Cobra lilies at Darlingtonia Wayside near Florence, shiny iridescent sea foam bubbles, and cool sand and algae abstracts shaped by tides.


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Index of my Oregon articles:

Oregon favorite images


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USA: OREGON: Cascades Range, Crater Lake, Umpqua

Photos of the Oregon Cascades Range include Crater Lake National Park, Toketee Falls, North Umpqua River, Watson Falls & Creek, Douglas County, Oregon, USA.


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Index of my Oregon articles:

 Oregon favorite images


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USA: MONTANA: ghost towns, Nevada City, Elkhorn

In Nevada City and Elkhorn, Montana, visit ghost town frontier buildings to visualize historic lifestyles.

Nevada City historic frontier buildings, lifestyle


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Step back through history in 1890s era frontier buildings and lifestyle restored at Nevada City, Montana. Nevada City thrived as a placer gold mining camp from 1863-1876, but quickly declined into a virtual ghost town. Renovated Nevada City now evokes the bygone time of gold discovery and mining at Alder Gulch, with the support of Chinese laundry labor. More than 90 buildings from across Montana have been gathered for preservation at Nevada City, mostly publicly owned by the State of Montana and managed by the Montana Heritage Commission. In 2001, the excellent PBS television series “Frontier House” used one of the buildings and its furnishings to train families in re-creating pioneer life. A miner’s court trial and hanging of George Ives in the main street of Nevada City was the catalyst for forming the Vigilantes, a group of citizens famous for taking justice into their own hands in 1863-1864. Directions: go 27 miles southeast of Twin Bridges, Montana on Highway 287.

Elkhorn historic frontier buildings

Two original buildings, outstanding examples of American frontier architecture, are preserved and open to the public as Elkhorn State Park, in Montana. The silver, gold and lead mines at Elkhorn began booming in 1875, then declined in 1892 as silver prices dropped. A few miners still work the Elkhorn mines and live in private homes nearby within Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. Directions: Take Interstate 15 to Boulder exit, go 7 miles south on Montana 69, then 11 miles north on county graveled road.


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USA: MIDWEST: INDIANA, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, MISSOURI, NORTH & SOUTH DAKOTA

Favorite Midwest USA photos by Tom Dempsey


Click “i” to display informative captions. Add any of the above images to your Cart for purchase using my Portfolio site. Favorite photos above include:

  • Indiana (IN): Parke County, the “covered bridge capital of the world” (Burr Arch Truss, Mecca, Narrows, and Bridgeton Covered Bridges, Turkey Run State Park); beautiful Cataract Falls State Recreation Area and its 1876 Covered Bridge; Indianapolis Zoo animals; Conner Prairie Interactive History Park.
  • Michigan (MI): Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising Falls, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Presque Isle River potholes, spinning foam cake, birch bark patterns, William Mitchell State Park, Lake Mitchell, Cadillac.
  • Minnesota (MN): snow and water drops on orange, red, and yellow maple leaf color.
  • Missouri (MO): Gateway Arch in Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis.
  • North Dakota (SD): Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit: badlands with fall colors.
  • South Dakota (SD): Badlands National Park, bighorn sheep, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Custer State Park and wildlife reserve.

Indiana (IN)

IN: Favorite images


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IN: Indianapolis: Conner Prairie Interactive History Park


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IN: Parke County: Covered Bridges, history

Parke County, Indiana, is the “covered bridge capital of the world.” View fascinating Turkey Run State Park: Sugar Creek, Rocky Hollow Falls Canyon Nature Preserve, surprisingly scenic narrow (almost slot) canyons, boardwalks, hikers’ suspension bridge, and the 1841 Lusk Home. Covered Bridge photos include Bridgeton, Crooks, McAllister’s, Neet, Thorpe Ford, Roseville, Mecca, Narrows, and Cox Ford bridges. See the Case 1822 log cabin in Bridgeton Historic District, Parke County Courthouse in Rockville, and an orange sunset with silhouetted tree.


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IN: Parke County: Turkey Run State Park

I was fascinated by Turkey Run State Park in historic Parke County. Bear Hollow Canyon is surprisingly scenic and narrow (almost like a slot). Rocky Hollow Falls Canyon Nature Preserve is a National Park Service Registered Natural Landmark. Fun trails include boardwalks, stairs and ladders. See Sugar Creek Suspension Bridge. Cox Ford Covered Bridge was built in 1913 over Sugar Creek. The historic Lusk Home was built in Federal and Greek Revival style starting in 1841.


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IN: Cataract Falls State Recreation Area

The attractive Cataract Falls State Recreation Area features Indiana’s largest-volume waterfall, located near Cloverdale (an hour southwest of Indianapolis). Bright autumn foliage colors glowed for Tom Dempsey’s photos below captured on October 21, 2015. Altogether, Cataract Falls drop a total of 86 feet including intermediate cascades. Mill Creek plunges 20 feet in the set of Upper Falls and a half a mile downstream the Lower Falls drops 18 feet. The park’s limestone outcroppings formed millions of years ago when the region was covered by a large shallow ocean. The 148-foot wooden Cataract Falls Covered Bridge was built in 1876 at the Upper Falls of Mill Creek (formerly known as Eel River) and was open to automobile traffic until 1988. The bridge now serves pedestrians and was extensively repaired starting in 2000. It is the only remaining covered bridge in Owen County.


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IN: Indianapolis Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo is well worth a visit. Photos below by Tom Dempsey include:

  • Inside the Dolphin Pavilion, admire these sea-going mammals from the intimate underwater viewing dome in the center of the main performance pool. The Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is also known as the Common Bottlenose Dolphin.
  • East African Crowned Crane (or Crested Crane, Balearica regulorum gibbericeps).
  • Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis).
  • Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus).
  • Addra Gazelle (Nanger dama), the world’s rarest gazelle.
  • White rhinoceros or square-lipped rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum).


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Michigan (MI)

Photos from Michigan include: Presque Isle River potholes, cool geology along Lake Superior shoreline, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Lake of the Clouds, birch bark patterns, fall foliage colors, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Miners Castle, Sable Falls, Munising Falls, rounded pebbles), William Mitchell State Park, and Lake Mitchell, Cadillac.


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Minnesota (MN)

Photos from Minnesota include: snow falling on late September fall foliage colors in Superior National Forest, Two Steps Falls, Baptism River, Tettegouche State Park, peeling tree bark pattern, water drops on maple leaves, Lake Superior, Temperance River State Park, and watermelon, squash, and pumpkin harvest at farmers’ markets.


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Missouri (MO)

Clad in stainless steel and built in the form of a weighted catenary arch, Gateway Arch is the world’s tallest arch (630 feet high), the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere and Missouri’s tallest accessible building. Built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, and officially dedicated to the American people, it is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. The Arch was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen in 1947. It was built 1963-1965 at the site of St. Louis’ founding on the west bank of the Mississippi River and opened to the public in 1967. (Although built to last for ages, it is eventually susceptible to a tornado impact which could rip off the upper two-thirds.)


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North Dakota (ND)

Badlands, Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit, in the Great Plains along Interstate 94 near Medora, North Dakota, USA. (Copyright Tom Dempsey / www.photoseek.com)

Badlands, Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit, in the Great Plains along Interstate 94 near Medora, North Dakota, USA.


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South Dakota (SD)

Badlands National Park

In this peacefully remote park, bighorn sheep grazed fearlessly along the roadside and dramatic sunset/sunrise colors lit the colorful cliffs sculpted from ancient sediments.


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Custer State Park and wildlife area

South Dakota’s largest and first state park was named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. Completed in 1922, the Needles Highway includes sharp turns, low tunnels and impressive granite spires along the northern 14 miles of South Dakota Highway 87 (SD 87). The road lies within Custer State Park, 30 miles south of Rapid City, in South Dakota. Needles Highway is part of the figure-eight route of Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway. A magical sunrise warmed the freezing air over idyllic Sylvan Lake. Cathedral Spires Area is most impressive. A famous herd of 1500 bison freely roam the Park, as seen along Wildlife Loop Road.


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Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Sculptor Gutzon Borglum designed and oversaw the Mount Rushmore project 1927–1941, with help from his son, Lincoln Borglum. Mount Rushmore features 60-foot sculptures of the heads of four United States presidents: George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).


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South Dakota historian Doane Robinson conceived the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills in order to promote tourism. Robinson’s initial idea of sculpting the Needles was rejected by Gutzon Borglum due to poor granite quality and strong opposition from Native American groups. They settled on Mount Rushmore, and Borglum decided on the four presidents. Each president was originally to be depicted from head to waist, but lack of funding ended construction in late October 1941. Mount Rushmore is a batholith (massive intrusive igneous rock) rising to 5725 feet elevation in the Black Hills.

Crazy Horse Memorial

The Crazy Horse Memorial is being carved into Thunderhead Mountain on private land in the Black Hills, between Custer and Hill City, 17 miles from Mount Rushmore, in Custer County, South Dakota. In progress since 1948, the sculpture is far from completion. It depicts the Oglala Lakota warrior, Crazy Horse, riding a horse and pointing into the distance. The memorial was commissioned by Henry Standing Bear, a Lakota elder, to be sculpted by Korczak Ziolkowski. It is operated by the nonprofit Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. The sculpture is planned to be of record-setting size: 641 feet wide and 563 feet high. The head of Crazy Horse will be 87 feet high (whereas the heads of the four U.S. Presidents at Mount Rushmore are each 60 feet high).


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Crazy Horse (1840–1877) was a Native American war leader of the Oglala Lakota. He took up arms against the United States federal government to fight against encroachment by white American settlers on Indian territory. He earned great respect from both his enemies and his own people in several battles of the American Indian Wars on the northern Great Plains, including: the Fetterman massacre in 1866, in which he acted as a decoy, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, in which he led a war party to victory. Four months after surrendering in 1877, Crazy Horse was fatally wounded by a bayonet-wielding military guard, while allegedly resisting imprisonment at Camp Robinson in present-day Nebraska. In 1982 he was honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a 13¢ Great Americans series postage stamp.

Recommended Midwest USA guidebooks

Search for the latest Midwest USA travel books at Amazon.com: INDIANA, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, NORTH DAKOTA

2011: 2010: 2009: 2012: 2009: 2010: History:

USA: CALIFORNIA

This article is packed with California photos and captions with travel tips by Tom Dempsey. At bottom, see recommended guidebooks.

Favorite California images


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Travel tip: Rent a recreational vehicle (RV) for campground comfort in beautiful parks:

  • www.CruiseAmerica.com: Carol and I have enjoyed their fully-equipped 19-foot RV and larger.
  • Jucy Rentals, jucyrentals.com (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and New Zealand): The Jucy “Champ USA” (a converted Chrysler Town & Country car) has back gate cooking, two double beds (one made up inside and one via outside ladder in a pop-up tent/storage on top), inside eating table, 17-20 mpg gas mileage. (No toilet, no hot water, no hot shower.) Check for special off-season and one-way rates.

Below, view more extensive galleries of California:

  1. California: Sierras: Yosemite National Park
  2. California: Sierras: Inyo National Forest
  3. California: Sierras: Mono Lake
  4. California: Sierras: Bodie ghost town – gold rush – State Historic Park
  5. California: Sierras: Alabama Hills, Western Film / History
  6. California: Sierras: Mokelumne Wilderness
  7. California: Sierras: Lake Tahoe area
  8. California: Deserts
  9. California: San Francisco Bay Area
  10. California: Sacramento Valley, foothills
  11. California: northern mountains: Klamath, Cascades
  12. California: northern coast, redwoods

1. California: Sierras: Yosemite National Park

Photos below from Yosemite National Park include: El Capitan, Half Dome, Cathedral Peak and Lake, waterfalls, reflections, ice patterns, backpackers, Virginia Peak, bird nest, Yosemite Museum, reconstructed Indian Village of the Ahwahnee. In 1984, Yosemite National Park was honored as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.


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2. California: Sierras: Inyo National Forest

The vast Inyo National Forest is a fun playground for great day hikes and wonderful backpacking in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains. Photos below include: Schulman Grove in Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, in the White Mountains; McGee Creek Canyon; beautiful Little Lakes Valley; great Bishop Creek watershed hikes from South Lake, Lake Sabrina, and North Lake; Onion Valley Campground; Mount Williamson; Mount Whitney; and Silver Lake reflections along June Lake Loop road. Flower images include: Giant blazingstar or smoothstem blazingstar (Mentzelia laevicaulis), Opuntia fragilis (brittle pricklypear), white Datura flower flower blossoms, Coville’s columbine or Sierra columbine (Aquilegia pubescens), Alpine Penstemon (Penstemon davidsonii), Iris missouriensis (or Iris montana), tiger lily or Columbia lily (Lilium columbianum), prickly poppy (Argemone Genus), Castilleja (Indian Paintbrush or Prairie-fire).


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3. California: Sierras: Mono Lake

Intriguing towers of calcium-carbonate decorate the South Tufa Area, in Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, near Lee Vining. The Reserve protects wetlands that support millions of birds, and preserves Mono Lake’s distinctive tufa towers — calcium-carbonate spires and knobs formed by interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water. Mono Lake has no outlet and is one of the oldest lakes in North America. Over the past million years, salts and minerals have washed into the lake from Eastern Sierra streams and evaporation has made the water 2.5 times saltier than the ocean. This desert lake has an unusually productive ecosystem based on brine shrimp, and provides critical nesting habitat for two million annual migratory birds that feed on the shrimp and blackflies. Since 1941, diversion of lake water trubutary streams by the city of Los Angeles lowered the lake level, which imperiled the migratory birds. In response, the Mono Lake Committee won a legal battle that forced Los Angeles to partially restore the lake level.


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4. California: Sierras: Bodie ghost town – gold rush – State Historic Park

On the east side of the Sierra Nevada, explore weathered wood buildings and artifacts in Bodie State Historic Park, a fascinating ghost town that thrived on gold mining 1876-1917. The park lies in the Bodie Hills in the Basin & Range physiographic province, in Mono County, near Bridgeport. After W. S. Bodey’s original gold discovery in 1859, profitable gold and silver ore discoveries in 1876 and 1878 transformed “Bodie” from an isolated mining camp to a Wild West boomtown. By 1879, Bodie had a population of 5000-7000 people with 2000 buildings. At its peak, 65 saloons lined Main Street, which was a mile long. Bodie declined rapidly 1912-1917 and the last mine closed in 1942. Bodie became a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and Bodie State Historic Park in 1962.


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5. California: Sierras: Alabama Hills, Western Film / History

The photogenic Alabama Hills are a BLM Recreation Area on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the Owens Valley, west of Lone Pine in Inyo County, California. The Alabama Hills are a popular filming location for television and movie productions (such as Gunga Din, Gladiator, Iron Man, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), especially Westerns (Tom Mix films, Hopalong Cassidy films, The Gene Autry Show, The Lone Ranger, Bonanza, How the West Was Won, and Joe Kidd). Two main types of rock are exposed at Alabama Hills: 1) orange, drab weathered metamorphosed volcanic rock 150-200 million years old; and 2) 82- to 85-million-year-old biotite monzogranite which weathers to potato-shaped large boulders. Looking westward, the striking Mobius Arch frames Mount Whitney (14,505 feet or 4421 m elevation), the highest summit in the contiguous United States and the Sierra Nevada. Nearby in Independence, the Eastern California Museum is worth visiting to see fascinating old machinery and historical artifacts from building the controversial Los Angeles Aqueduct.


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6. California: Sierras: Mokelumne Wilderness

Off Highway 88 near Carson Pass, hike a varied loop through lush wildflower fields from Woods Lake Campground to Winnnemucca Lake, then Round Top Lake, in Mokelumne Wilderness, Eldorado National Forest in the Sierra Nevada. The excellent loop trail is 5.3 miles with 1250 feet gain (or 6.4 miles with 2170 feet gain if adding the scramble up Round Top).


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7. California: Sierras: Lake Tahoe area

Peaks of Desolation Wilderness rise in the background of this lake panorama at Wrights Lake Recreation Area, Eldorado National Forest, California, USA. Directions to Wrights Lake Campground: 23 miles east of Placerville on Highway 50, 11 miles north on Ice House Road (Forest Road 3), 9 miles east on Forest Road 32 (Wrights Lake Tie Road), and 2 miles north on Forest Road 4 (Wrights Lake Rd). This panorama was stitched from 9 overlapping photos. (© Tom Dempsey / PhotoSeek.com)

Peaks of Desolation Wilderness rise in the background of this lake panorama at Wrights Lake Recreation Area, Eldorado National Forest, California, USA. Directions to Wrights Lake Campground: 23 miles east of Placerville on Highway 50, 11 miles north on Ice House Road (Forest Road 3), 9 miles east on Forest Road 32 (Wrights Lake Tie Road), and 2 miles north on Forest Road 4 (Wrights Lake Rd). This panorama was stitched from 9 overlapping photos. (© Tom Dempsey / PhotoSeek.com)

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8. California Deserts

Death Valley National Park

Late fall, winter, through early spring are good times to visit Death Valley National Park, which is otherwise beastly hot. During our visit 19-21 April 2018, some refreshing sprinkles formed a rainbow over the colorful geology. Parting clouds revealed fresh snow whitening Telescope Peak (11,043 ft), impressively high above Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America (282 feet below sea level). Cresting the Panamint Range, Telescope Peak has one of the greatest vertical rises above local terrain of any mountain in the contiguous United States. At our feet, evaporation from Badwater Basin concentrated crystalline mounds of sodium chloride (table salt), plus calcite, gypsum, and borax (famously mined 1883-1889 with Twenty Mule Teams). Artist’s Drive was worth the short side trip to explore the colorful geologic formation of Artists Palette. More than 5 million years ago, multiple volcanic eruptions deposited ash and minerals which chemically altered into a colorful paint pot of elements (iron, aluminum, magnesium and titanium).

We were delighted to photograph sunrise illuminating a tapestry of golden yellow striated landscape patterns at Zabriskie Point. Next, driving around to Golden Canyon Trailhead begins a great hiking loop uphill to Red Cathedral then back downhill via Gower Gulch (6 miles with 800 ft gain), our favorite walk in the park. Around lunchtime, I enjoyed photographing pioneer-era mining and transportation machines outdoors at the Borax Museum at Furnace Creek Ranch. In rising 90+ degree temperatures, we retreated into the nearby national park Visitor Center to absorb the excellent orientation film.

To escape increasing heat, we drove up Emigrant Canyon Road to 4100-foot Wildrose Campground, where faucets provided tasty drinking water. Helpful tip: dry air cools by 5 degrees Fahrenheit for about every 1000 feet ascended (or 3 degrees for wet air). Along the winding road, we luckily spotted some Desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) with two lambs. Campground quiet was suddenly shattered with the loud hee-haw braying of an alpha donkey keeping his herd in line. Invasive burros (Equua asinus, often called donkeys) can be found throughout the backcountry in Death Valley. Originally descended from the African wild ass, burros were introduced to North America. These invasive, nonnative burro populations can grow quickly, damaging native vegetation and spring ecosystems, thereby hurting native wildlife such as bighorn sheep and desert tortoise.

Along the hike to Fall Canyon’s dry waterfall (6.7 miles with 1250 feet gain) were some feisty Zebra-tailed lizards (allisaurus draconoides), some lusciously creamy yellow flowers of the desert rock nettle (Eucnide urens or desert stingbush) clinging to shaded canyon walls, plus some intriguing rock patterns. But this experience paled in comparison to our previous day in glorious Golden Canyon; so for dramatic build-up one should hike Fall Canyon or other hikes first.

Near Stovepipe Wells, the first light of sunrise high-lit Mesquite Flat Dunes so dramatically as to impress my wife Carol, who previously hadn’t been attracted by dunes. Optionally take your shoes off and enjoy this inland wilderness beach. I love being the first in the morning to form footprints across a tall virgin dune. Most nights, the slate of footprints is wiped clean and wavy. Discover why Lawrence of Arabia was personally attracted to the desert, saying: “It’s clean.”

Just outside Death Valley (on the way to or from Tecopah and Las Vegas), you can camp overnight at Shoshone RV Park and swim in a developed hot springs pool. Thought extinct in the 1960s, Shoshone pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis shoshone) were rediscovered in 1986 and protected by the land owner in nearby restored ponds. Found nowhere else on earth, Shoshone pupfish are unique to Shoshone Springs.


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Borrego Desert State Park

Photos include Borrego Badlands Overlook, Ocotillo with red blooms against blue mountain range, coastal fishhook cactus, barrel cactus yellow flower, green spider camouflaged in datura flower.


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9. San Francisco Bay Area

Photos from San Francisco Bay Area, California, include: Bay panorama, verdant forest on Cataract Creek Trail in Mount Tamalpais Watershed, mushrooms, slug, city views, Lands End Park, Alcatraz Island, rainbow over Sailing Ship Balclutha, old millstone cocoa grinder at Ghirardelli Square chocolate factory.


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10. California: Sacramento Valley, foothills

Photos from the Central Valley and foothills of California include: Bidwell Mansion, California State University Chico (CSUC), Bidwell Park, Sutter Buttes panorama and sunny oaks with hiker silhouette, almond orchard leaves turning yellow, Manzanita tree flower blooms, pipevine flower, child’s hand in black bear paw print, California poppies, lavender poppies, Honey Run Covered Bridge built 1894 between Chico and Paradise.


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11. California: northern mountains: Klamath, Cascades

Photos below from the Cascades mountains in Northern California include beautiful Burney Falls, in Shasta County. In the Klamath Mountains, see images of Castle Dome Trail in spectacular Crags State Park.


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12. California: northern coast, redwoods

Photos include: See jellyfish/jellies, octopus, seahorse, anemone, Harbor Seals, and diver feeding shark at Monterey Bay Aquarium. Admire Bodega Head, Sonoma Coast State Park, Russian River, Bowling Ball Beach geologic wonder at Schooner Gulch State Park, sea stacks, crashing waves, coastal birds, natural patterns, Fort Ross State Historic Park (former Russian colony 1812-1842). Walk in Stout Grove, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park (where “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” speed racer sequence was filmed) in Del Norte County. Walk in one of the world’s tallest forests on Simpson-Reed Trail. Tree branches tangle in fractal patterns over fern lined trail at Patrick’s Point State Park, near Eureka. Stand up paddle surfing on a wave. California’s Redwood National and State Parks were honored as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980.


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Recommended California guidebooks from Amazon.com

Search for latest “California travel books” on Amazon.com (look for updates every 1 to 3 years).

2009: 2012:  2009:  2006: 

2010:   2008:  2008:  2012:

2003: 2009:   2009:  2007: 

2011: 

USA: WASHINGTON: Olympic Peninsula

The Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington is captured in photo galleries below featuring sea coast, haystacks, animals, mountains, flowers, and plants. In 1981, Olympic National Park was honored as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Animals

Animal photos from the Olympic Peninsula of Washington include: Roosevelt elk, a deer with Mount Olympus in background, and a clay chicken on a lavender farm. The Roosevelt elk (or Olympic elk, Cervus canadensis roosevelti) is the largest of the four surviving subspecies of elk in North America.


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Mountains

Photos of mountains on the Olympic Peninsula include: Mount Olympus with deer, Olympic National Park, Big Quilcene Trail to Marmot Pass, ferry with mountain backtrop, and an aerial view of Hood Canal and Olympic Range.


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Sea coast, ferries, towns

Coast, ferry, and town photos from the Olympic Peninsula, Washington include: dramatic thunderhead and big logs on Kalaloch Beach, sea stacks on Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, Cape Flattery sea caves on the most northwestern point of the contiguous United States, Port Townsend Historic District, Kingston Ferry, sunset light on abstract cloud pattern, aerial view of Hood Canal and Olympic Mountains.


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Farms, flowers, plants

The following photos from the Olympic Peninsula include: lavender farms, rusting equipment, sunflowers, rhododendron wildflowers on Mount Townsend hike, Phlox flowers, profuse Columbine flowers (genus Aquilegia in Buttercup family, Ranunculaceae), Olympic larkspur (Delphinium glareosum Greene), orange-red Indian paintbrush (Castilleja), False Solomon’s Seal (or Treacleberry, Latin name Maianthemum racemosum), water streaming by Devils Club (Oplopanax horridus, Araliaceae), rime frost on grass and trees, rays of light through moss covered trees in Hoh Rain Forest, ferns.


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Recommended Washington guidebooks from Amazon.com

Search for latest Washington travel books on Amazon.com.

Click for gallery of Washington favorite photographs.

Washington map of major parks, cities, roads, geography.

USA: WASHINGTON: North Cascades, Skagit Delta

Photos from hikes and sights in the North Cascades mountain range in the state of Washington (USA) include the following galleries: Mount Baker Highway 542, North Cascades Highway 20, Cascade River Road, Baker Lake Road, and Skagit River Delta.

Mount Baker Highway 542 to Heather Meadows


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Hikes and sights along Mount Baker Highway 542 in the North Cascades mountain range include:

  • The volcanic cone of Mount Baker rises to 10,781 feet elevation.
  • In late afternoon, don’t miss seeing Mount Shuksan reflected in Picture Lake or Highwood Lake, where Highway 542 splits into a one way loop around the lakes in Heather Meadows Recreation Area. For a special treat, hike at peak autumn color season in early October.
  • Picture Lake (located in Heather Meadows, Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest) reflects Mount Shuksan (9127 feet elevation in North Cascades National Park).
  • One of the most rewarding hikes in Washington is the Galena Chain Lakes Loop Trail in Heather Meadows, best from late July through early October. See stunning views of Mount Shuksan, Mount Baker and pretty lakes at almost every turn.
    • To start a shorter version of this hike, drive from Bellingham to the end of the Mount Baker Highway 542. At Artist Point parking lot, start a 6 mile out and back walk to Chain Lakes (or 3 miles round trip to the Ptarmigan Ridge turnoff, or 2.5 miles round trip to the top of Table Mountain).
    • Even better, hike the 9 mile Chain Lakes Loop Trail counterclockwise starting from Austin Pass Visitors Center or the Ski Area parking lot at Bagley Lakes in Heather Meadows Recreation Area, visiting Bagley Lakes, Herman Saddle, Chain Lakes (Iceberg Lake, Hayes Lake, Mazama Lake), Artist Point, and Austin Pass Visitors Center.
  • Church Mountain trail is a hike of 8.5 miles round trip with 3800 feet elevation gain in Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest. Trailhead is 5 miles east of Glacier Public Service Center.
  • Excelsior Pass is the next hike east (off of Highway 542) in Mount Baker Wilderness.
  • Further east, hike scenic Hannegan Peak 10 miles round trip with 3100 feet elevation gain.

North Cascades Highway 20

Photos from hikes and sights along State Route 20, the North Cascades Highway, Washington, include:

  • Sauk Mountain is an easy day hike of 4 miles round trip and 1100 feet vertical gain, near the town of Concrete.
  • Camp with your vehicle in the impressive scenery of Ross Lake National Recreation Area.
  • From Rainy Pass, hike Maple Pass Loop (7 miles with 2000 feet gain) or Cutthroat Pass (9-12 miles round trip with 1800-2300 feet gain).
  • Near Washington Pass, hike easy Blue Lake Trail, especially beautiful in early October when larch needles turn golden.
  • Near Mazama, hike Harts Pass and Grasshopper Pass on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail in Okanogan National Forest for more golden larch color in early October.


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Cascade River Road to Sahale, Stehekin, Hidden Lake hikes

Photos from hikes and sights along Cascade River Road which departs North Cascades Highway 20 at Marblemount, Washington:

  • Hike Hidden Lake Lookout (8 miles round trip with 3500 feet elevation gain).
  • Hike Cascade Pass (7 miles round trip with 1800 feet gain) or further up to Sahale Arm (11 miles round trip with 3000 feet gain), a favorite for views of stunning U-shaped glaciated valleys and soaring ice clad peaks. Backpack onwards into wild Stehekin River Valley which connects to Lake Chelan and the Lady of the Lake passenger ferry.


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Baker Lake Road

Below are photos from hikes and sights along Baker Lake Road in the North Cascades mountain range, Mount Baker National Recreation Area, Washington. The Railroad Grade Trail follows a lateral moraine of the Easton Glacier which flows from the south side of Mount Baker (10,781 feet).


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Skagit River Delta

Photos from the Skagit River Delta include large flocks of snow geese on farmers’ fields, and expanses of commercial tulips and daffodils (Narcissus) blooming in mid April.


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Recommended Washington guidebooks from Amazon.com:

Search for latest “Washington North Cascades” books on Amazon.com.

More:

Click for gallery of Washington favorite photographs.

Washington map of major parks, cities, roads, geography.

USA: WASHINGTON islands: Bainbridge, San Juans, Whidbey, Fidalgo, Vendovi

View Tom Dempsey’s photographs of Washington islands, including Bainbridge, San Juans, Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands. Make a delightful Northwest trip and view Tom’s prints plus work of various artists at Gallery@Roads End, 2843 Aiston Creek Road, Lummi Island, Washington 98262.

Bainbridge Island

The Bloedel Reserve is a 150-acre forest garden on Bainbridge Island, Washington, made by the vice-chairman of a lumber company. The Bloedel Reserve has both natural and highly-landscaped lakes, immaculate lawns, woods, a traditional Japanese garden, a rock and sand Zen garden, a moss garden, a rhododendron glade, and a Reflection Garden. The Bloedel’s French Chateau-style home is preserved as a Visitor Center, including many original furnishings. Reservations may be required. The following photos portray Bloedel Reserve near peak fall foliage colors on October 19, 2005.


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San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands can be reached via the Washington State Ferry Terminal in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island, Washington, USA, or from Sydney (near Victoria) on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Ferries dock at Friday Harbor after visiting Orcas Island and other islands in San Juan County. From the ferry, admire the volcanic cone of Mount Baker rising to 10,775 feet elevation near Twin Sisters Mountain on the mainland.

On San Juan Island, in Lime Kiln Point State Park, watch for orcas (killer whales) which cruise right off the shore near the 1919 Lime Kiln Lighthouse. Visit American Camp and English Camp to learn of the historic Pig War 1859-1872, which peacefully arbitrated the San Juan Islands into the territorial United States.

The San Juan Islands archipelago is in the Salish Sea, north of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, west of Rosario Strait, east of Haro Strait, and south of Boundary Pass and the Strait of Georgia.


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Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands

Whidbey Island, the largest island in Washington, offers many good photo opportunities. Visit popular Deception Pass State Park, where State Route 20 crosses a 180-foot high bridge over swirling saltwater currents of the Salish Sea. Tugboats shepherd huge log rafts through Deception Pass. Watch bird life such as Great Blue Heron and Bald Eagle. Admire lichen covered old growth trees on quiet walks. Indian Camas (or Indian hyacinth or Wild hyacinth, Camassia quamash) and other wildflowers bloom in spring and summer. Visit Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, including: Admiralty Head Lighthouse (built 1890) in Fort Casey State Park and Crockett Blockhouse. In Meerkerk Gardens, admire a colorful concentration of hybrid rhododendron flowers blooming in late April.

Drive to Fidalgo Island on the north side of Deception Pass Bridge. At Anacortes, see oil refineries, oil tankers, boats, docks, and catch a ferry to the San Juan Islands. On a clear day, see the volcanic cone of Mount Baker rising in the North Cascades 40 miles to the east.


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Recent trip galleries:

Lummi and Vendovi Islands

Lummi Island is west of Bellingham in the Salish Sea, in Whatcom County, Washington, USA. Make a delightful Northwest trip and view Tom’s prints plus work of various artists at Gallery@Roads End, 2843 Aiston Creek Road, Lummi Island, Washington 98262.

Vendovi Island lies across Samish Bay from mainland Skagit County, between Guemes Island and Lummi Island in the Salish Sea, Washington. The former Fluke family vacation home greets public visitors in a small bay on the northwest side of Vendovi Island. Register for day use and walk the nature trails to beaches and bluff views. The San Juan Preservation Trust, a land trust that conserves open space in the San Juan Islands, purchased the island in December 2010 from the family of John Fluke Sr. Vendovi Island was named after a Fijian High Chief Ro Veidovi who was brought to North America by the 1841 Wilkes Expedition. To keep the island open to public access, support the “Campaign to Save Vendovi Islandat sjpt.org.


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Recommended Washington guidebooks from Amazon.com

Search for latest “Washington San Juan Islands travel” books on Amazon.com.

Click for gallery of Washington favorite photographs.

Washington map of major parks, cities, roads, geography.

USA: WASHINGTON: Cascades: Mountain Loop: Granite Falls – Darrington

Ascend excellent trails to impressive peaks, flowers, lakes, and streams in the Central Cascades along the Mountain Loop Highway, in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, from Granite Falls to Verlot Public Service Center to Darrington, in Washington, USA.

Mountains and peaks

Hike well marked trails to beautiful mountains in the Central Cascades along the Mountain Loop Highway. The following photos include: Three Fingers, Goat Flats, Green Mountain, Downey Creek, Dome Peak, Bald Mountain, Walt Bailey Trail, Mount Pilchuck Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA), Mount Pilchuck State Park, Gothic Basin, Sheep Gap Mountain, Silvertip Peak, Monte Cristo, Glacier Peak, Mount Dickerman, Del Campo, Morning Star, Sperry, and Vesper Peaks, Hall Peak, Big Four Mountain, Sloan Peak, Mount Pugh, South Fork Stillaguamish River Valley, , Foggy Peak above Goat Lake, and distant Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, and Mount Rainier.


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Native wildflowers, plants, insects

Hiking from trailheads along the Mountain Loop Highway reveals a variety of native wildflowers, plants, and insects to photograph, such as: Columbine (genus Aquilegia), fireweed, Cornus canadensis (Canadian Dwarf Cornel, or Canadian Bunchberry, or bunchberry dogwood), Five-Finger Fern (or Western Maidenhair, or Adiatnum pedatum aleuticum), False Lily-of-the-Valley (Maianthemum), vine maple leaves silhouetted, heavy moss on trees, water drops on skunk cabbage (Lysichitum americanum), fall foliage colors, hoverfly on daisies, and Swallowtail butterfly.


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Snow, lakes, water

Hike wonderful trails to distinctive water, lake, and snow features along the Mountain Loop Highway, in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The following photos are from Goat Lake in Henry M. Jackson Wilderness, Cutthroat Lakes on the Walt Bailey Trail, and Foggy Lake in Gothic Basin. Snowshoe or hike to Lake Twenty-Two Research Natural Area, and to adjacent Heather Lake in Mount Pilchuck State Park.


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Recommended Washington guidebooks from Amazon.com:

Search for latest “Washington Mountain Loop Highway” books on Amazon.com.

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Washington map of major parks, cities, roads, geography.