The country that is a true exemplar of beauty in diversity, USA beckons one and all with its wide-open spaces and remarkable landscapes. A road tripper’s paradise, America is home to not one, not two, but very many amazing natural sites that present a picture of absolute exquisiteness.
For those amongst you who love to be in the company of looming mountains that dwarf all with their magnificence, here are three of the top attractions in the US which are well-deserving of the time you will spend behind the wheel of your own 4×4 as you make your way to them.
Spanning an area of over 3,400 square miles, this wonderland comprises lakes, canyons, rivers as well as striking mountain ranges. The Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent, has resulted in the park hosting about 60 percent of the world’s geysers and natural hot springs.
The largest active hydrothermal field in the world, Yellowstone’s most famous geyser is called the Old Faithful. Alongside the Old Faithful are also located scores of multi-hued hot springs and bubbling mud pools such as the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, which are mesmerizing in their natural beauty.
The Yellowstone Park is the focal point of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest remaining almost-intact ecosystem in the Earth’s northern temperate zone. This makes it a haven for a stupendous number of animal species like grizzly bears, grey wolves, the world’s largest wild bison herd, bald and golden eagles, trumpeter swans, moose and elks. The sweeping forests and grasslands in the park also house many unique types of plants.
Four massive carved sculptures grace the south-eastern granite face of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota’s Black Hills National Forest to form one of the most popular tourist spots in America – Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
Former US Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt are the principal subjects of this glorious 60 ft tall edifice, also widely referred to as the Shrine of Democracy.
Gutzon Borglum, an American sculptor of Danish descent, began work on the project in the year 1927. He completed the colossal task, aided by his son Lincoln Borglum, in the year 1941. This duration saw approximately 400 workers moving 450,000 tonnes of rock in order to erect the sculpted heads under hazardous circumstances.
Noted South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is the one who originally floated the idea of carving the portraits of celebrated public figures into the mountains of the Black Hills, with the aim of boosting tourism in the region. After several rounds of suggestions and discussions these specific personalities were chosen for the project as they represent America’s birth, growth, development, and preservation respectively.
Comprising a museum, the Presidential Trail, bookstores, gift shops and cafes – Mount Rushmore has become one of the most iconic images representing America for the world.
A shimmering expanse of azure that forms the centerpiece of the only national park in the US state of Oregon, Crater Lake is a treasure trove of breath-taking panoramas. With spectacularly clear blue waters that perfectly reflect the surrounding mountain peaks, Crater Lake is America’s deepest lake with a depth of 1,943 ft. The enveloping cliffs result in the lake being fed entirely by rain and snow, which lend it its signature clarity and cleanliness.
Crater Lake partly fills a nearly 2,148 ft deep caldera that was formed as a result of the collapse of the Mount Mazama volcano. The now dormant volcano once stood tall at 12,000 ft, but collapsed post a major eruption 7,700 years ago. Following eruptions resulted in the formation of many fascinating volcanic features including Wizard Island (a cinder cone that rises from the water) and a second rock pillar called the Phantom Ship.
Beyond the lake, which occupies less than 10 percent of the park’s total area, the landscape arrives covered with sweeping old forests divided into four forest zones – Ponderosa Pine Forest, Lodgepole Pine Forest, Mountain Hemlocks Zone and White Bark Pines Zone (each named after its main tree species).
Established in the year 1902, the Crater Lake National Park is also home to a wide variety of wildlife, including black bears, mountain lions, elk, and spotted owls amidst others.
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