Take a guided tour with a park ranger of an ancient glacier in Alaska or a limestone cave in New Mexico.
The U.S. National Park Service partnered with Google to create 360-degree views of five national parks across the country so anyone can appreciate the wild beauty of the American landscape.
The Kenai Fjords National Park (above) in Alaska spans over 271,000 hectares and boasts 38 glaciers, all of which stem from the Harding Icefield, a 181,000-hectare icecap. The runoff from the glaciers creates a natural ecosystem of wildflowers and forests, where visitors can hike and explore during the summer months when it’s warm.
Hawai’i Volcanos National Park on the island of Hawai’i has two active volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, that still produce molten lava. The park has hiking trails and also a hardened lava tube for visitors to walk inside.
Located in the Chihuahuan Desert, the Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico has two sites on the National Register of Historic Places and more than 119 caves. These caves were formed by sulfuric acid dissolved in limestone, which left behind large and small caverns with stalactites and stalagmites.
Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is not one giant canyon, but many different pockets and bowl formations along the side of a large plateau. The largest is Bryce Amphitheater, which is dotted with hoodoos — spires of eroded rock that hold mythological significance for Native American tribes in the area.
The remote Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida consists of 26,000 hectares of open water dotted with seven islands, such as Bush Key (pictured here). The park is only accessible by boat or seaplane, but once visitors arrive, they are greeted by 19th-century Fort Jefferson and natural beauty to explore — including coral reefs and islands teeming with marine and animal life.
The national park system has been called “America’s best idea” because of its preservation of natural beauty as well as its openness to all. The National Park Service manages the country’s 62 national parks and 83 national monuments.