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Reader Participation Day: What Indelible Image Best Reminds You of the National Parks?


There's a reverence steeped into the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park. Kurt Repanshek photo

If you've stood before Old Faithful as it erupts against a golden sunset, or perhaps a frosty sunrise, you're likely going to carry that image with you for the rest of your life. Or maybe the profile of Half Dome, as seen from Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park, leaps first to mind when you think of national parks.

Those are two bold, hard-to-forget images. But perhaps there's another setting in the National Park System that you hold most dear. It could be the sunset that softly backlights the sea stacks at Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park, the first rays of sunrise as spied from atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, or the waving sawgrass that sweeps to the horizon at Everglades National Park.

There are other images cast by the national parks -- the Gettysburg battlefield at dusk, the silent cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, the rippling waters of Voyageurs. Tell us what setting in the parks is burned forever into your memory.


Mt Rushmore as a kid was the most memorable for me just because of its enormity!


I am woefully under-experienced when it comes to National Park experiences, a condition that I will start remedying when I retire. However, you happened to have already mentioned two occurrences that I have witnessed: the first rays of sunrise as spied from atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park and the Gettysburg battlefield at dusk. Thanks for the pleasant memories.


P.S. - You've got to love some of these CAPTCHA phrases that we must type to verify us as human posters. Today's phrase: "Grandmother sudsy". Scene brought to mind: "Granny, I told you not to get out of the tub until you put your robe on!"

So many...but Avalanche Lake at Glacier sure left a lasting impression. Such beauty.

Riding Trail Ridge Road across the Rocky Mountain National Park on my motorcycle in early June. I'll never forget that ride if I live to be 100!

My first National Park experience that I remember clearly was rounding the corner to see the Lower Falls of Yellowstone from Artists Point. That remains the image I see in my head when I hear "National Park." Many images have surpassed that one in my recollection of my favorite times in the parks, but that moment when I was twelve years old is burned in as my official image of national parks.

Grand Canyon North Rim...Cape Royal.
The sun rises on time.

Iconic national park images that I relate to would be:

(1) my first view of inner caldera of the collapsed Mt. Mazama revealing the deep blue of Crater Lake and the exposed cinder cone of Wizard Island,

(2) Zion's Great White Throne,

(3) Zion's Great West Temple and Temples and Towers of the Virgin as viewed from Oak Creek Canyon, or the rear veranda of the old Zion VC, and

(4) the view of Yosemite Falls in early June from the meadows on the south side of the Merced River.

I'd agree with Kurt about the iconic view of Half Dome from Glacier Point, but the view of this great granite monolith from Sentinal Bridge in Yosemite Valley with the Merced River in the foreground is perhaps the most familiar image. Of course, the sight of Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View is simply unforgettable.

I'd also vote for the view westward into the Grand Canyon and its inner gorge by morning light, while descending Cedar Ridge in winter, hiking towards O'Neill's Butte via the South Kaibab Trail.

Another familiar iconic view of the Grand Canyon, but one that is not seen by the average tourist to this great park, is the vertical view over the Colorado River from Toroweap Point, an observation point on the north side of the Colorado River reacheable only by considerable driving on dirt washboarded roads from Hurricane, UT or Fredonia, AZ

Owen Hoffman
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

Lots of great answers. Some bring wonderful memories to mind. Some bring reminders of places I still want to see.
For me, three pop to mind immediately.
1. Views of or from Wizard Island in Crater Lake.
2. Anywhere below the Tonto plateau in Grand Canyon, but especially for some unknown reason, the trail area between the silver and black bridges over the Colorado.
3. The top of Chimney Tops in the Smokies.

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