Acadia National Park
The Altiplano (Spanish for ‘high plain’) lies in the Central Andes, mostly in Bolivia and Peru, while its southern parts stretch into Chile and Argentina. It is the most extensive area of high plateau on earth outside Tibet. Its height averages 3,750 metres (12,300 ft). It is dominated by several large active volcanoes, most of them over 6,000 metres (19,685 ft) high. The area is also home to the world’s highest navigable lake, Lake Titicaca, and to the largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni. Several cities lie within the area including La Paz, the administrative seat of Bolivia, and Cusco the centre of the Inca Empire, which existed from the early 13th century until 1572 when it was conquered by the Spanish.
The Annapurna Sanctuary is a high glacial basin in central Nepal. This oval plateau sits at an altitude of over 4,000 metres (13,123 ft) and is surrounded by a ring of mountains, the Annapurna Range, most of which are over 7,000 metres (22,966 ft). Because of difficult access through a narrow pass the area was not visited by outsiders until 1956 but it is now the base of one of the major routes to the peaks. The Annapurna Conservation Area Project was established in 1986 in an attempt to limit the damage done by visitors while protecting the traditional rights of the local inhabitants.
Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon situated on Navajo land in the US state of Arizona. In 1997 it was declared a Navajo Tribal Park and can only be visited through guided tours. Antelope Canyon includes two separate sections, referred to as Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack; and Lower Antelope Canyon of The Corkscrew. A long time ago, herds of pronghorn antelope roamed freely in Antelope Canyon giving rise to the English name. The local Navajo names are more descriptive. Their name for the upper canyon translates as ‘the place where water runs through rocks’; and for the lower, ‘spiral rock arches’.
Arches National Park
The Atacama Desert is a plateau in South America covering a 1,000 kilometre (600 ml) strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes mountains. It lies mainly in northern Chile. It is the driest non-polar desert in the world. The Atacama Desert proper is estimated to occupy 105,000 square kilometres (41,000 sq mls). Roughly another 20,000 square kilometres (7,722.6 sq mls) can be added if the barren lower slopes of the Andes are included. Most of the desert is composed of stony terrain, salt lakes, sand, and highly viscous felsic lava. Among the volcanic craters of El Tatio, sitting at an altitude of 4,200 metres (13, 779.5 ft), geysers and hot springs are a feature of the landscape.
Australia Pacific Coast
Banff National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is located in the Central Highlands of Tasmania, Australia and covers an area of 1262 square kilometres (487.3 sq mls. It is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area created in 1982.
Crater Lake National Park
Death Valley National Park
Denali National Park
Denali National Park and Preserve is located in Alaska, in the central area of the Alaska Ranges, and centres on Denali, formerly Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. It is 20,310 feet (6,190.5 m) high, and from base to peak is 18,000 feet (5,500 m) which is the highest vertical relief of any mountain in the world. The preserve, to the west of the park, is distinguished from the park in that sport hunting is permitted, while in the park hunting is prohibited or restricted to subsistence hunting by local residents. The park and the adjacent preserve cover more than 6 million acres (24,500 km²).
Etosha National Park
Fiordland National Park
Fiordland National Park occupies the southwest corner of the South Island of New Zealand. Established in 1952 it is over 1.2 million hectares (2,965,159.3 acres) in size and is now a major part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site, created in 1990.
Flinders Chase National Park
Flinders Chase National Park is a protected area in the Australian state of South Australia located at the west end of Kangaroo Island about 177 kilometres (110 mi) west-south west of the state capital of Adelaide and 110 kilometres (68 mi) west of the municipal seat of Kingscote. It is a sanctuary for endangered species and home to a few geological phenomena. It was the second national park to be declared in South Australia. It consists of three sections – an area of coastal landscapes around Cape du Couedic in the south west corner of the island, the Gosse Lands in the centre of the west end of the island and the former Cape Borda Lightstation reserve in the north west corner of the island.
Flinders Ranges National Park
Flinders Ranges National Park is about 400 kilometres (248.5 mls) north of Adelaide in the northern central part of South Australia’s largest mountain range, the Flinders Ranges. It covers an area of 912 square kilometres (352 sq mls).
Freycinet National Park
Freycinet is a national park on the east coast of Tasmania, Australia’s island state. It occupies a large part of the Freycinet Peninsula, which is named after French navigator, Louis de Freycinet, who sailed past in 1802 as part of his cartographic survey of the southern and eastern coasts of Australia on behalf of the French government. Schouten Island, just off the tip of the peninsula, also makes up part of the park. The island was named in 1642 by Abel Tasman after a member of the council of the Dutch East India Company. The park was founded in 1916 and is one of the two oldest parks in Tasmania.
Glacier National Park
Goosenecks State Park
Goosenecks State Park is in the US state of Utah, near its southern border. The goosenecks are a series of tight switchbacks on the San Juan River. They are one of the best examples in the world of entrenched or incised meanders.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Teton National Park
Gurvan Saikhan National Park
Gurvan Saikhan National Park is in southern Mongolia on the northern edge of the Gobi desert. Its name is derived from the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains in the eastern part of the park, and translates as the ‘Three Beauties’, referring to the three subranges: the Eastern, Middle and Western Beauty. The Eastern Beauty is the highest of the peaks at 2,846 metres (9,337ft). The park was first established in 1993, but was expanded in 2000 and now covers nearly 27,000sq km (10,425.5sq mls).
Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park is located on the island of Maui in the US state of Hawaii. It covers an area of 33,265 acres (134.62 km²) of which over half is wilderness. It was first created a national park in 1916 as part of a larger park but was given separate status in 1961. It was designated an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980. The name Haleakalā is Hawaiian for ‘house of the sun’, and according to local legend, the demigod, Maui, imprisoned the sun here in order to lengthen the day.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is in the US state of Hawai’I, on the island of Hawai’i. It was first established in 1916 in conjunction with the Haleakalā National Park but the two were split into separate parks in 1960. It now covers an area of 323,431 acres (505.36 sq mls; 1,308.88 km²). It was designated as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and a World Heritage Site in 1987.
Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is in the Canadian province of Alberta and is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, spanning 10,878 km² (4,200 sq ml) of mountain wilderness. It was established as the Jasper Forest Park in 1907, granted national park status in 1930 and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 as part of the Canadian Rocky Mountains Parks.
Kakadu National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park
Khovsgol Nuur National Park
Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge
The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge is in the Kodiak Archipelago in the US state of Alaska. It lies mainly on Kodiak Island but partly extends to neighbouring islands. In all it covers 1,990,418 acres (8,054.94 km²). The refuge was established in 1941.
Lake Eyre National Park
Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park is in the Australian state of South Australia and is about 700 kilometres (435 mls) north of Adelaide. The lake was named after Edward John Eyre who, in 1840, was the first European to see it. In 2012 its name was officially changed to include the indigenous name, Kati Thanda, out of respect for the native title holders, the Arabana people, who have occupied the land for thousands of years. It is their sacred name for the flat saltpan and means ‘the name of the lake which was formed after the skin of a kangaroo was spread over the ground’.
Lamington National Park
The Lamington National Park is a national park, lying on the Lamington Plateau of the McPherson Range on the Queensland/New South Wales border in Australia. From Southport on the Gold Coast the park is 85 kilometres (53 mi) to the southwest and Brisbane is 110 kilometres (68 mi) north. The 20,600 hectares (51,000 acres) Lamington National Park is known for its natural beauty, rainforests, birdlife, ancient trees, waterfalls, walking tracks and mountain views. Protected areas to the east in Springbrook National Park and south along the Tweed Range in the Border Ranges National Park around Mount Warning in New South Wales conserve similar landscapes. The park is part of the Shield Volcano Group of the World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia inscribed in 1986 and added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2007. The park is part of the Scenic Rim Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance in the conservation of several species of threatened birds.
Lauca National Park
Lauca National Park is located in Chile’s far north, in the Andean range. It covers an area of 1,379 km² (532.4 sq mls) of altiplano and mountains, the latter consisting mainly of enormous volcanos, many of them over 6,000 metres (19,685 ft) high.
Litchfield National Park
Matanuska Glacier is in the US state of Alaska. It is 27 miles (43 km) long by 4 miles (6.4 km) wide and is the largest glacier accessible by car in the United States. It is just two hours’ drive north east of Anchorage and can be seen from many points along the road.
Mount Baker Wilderness
Mt Baker Wilderness covers 117,900 acres (47,714.1 ha) and is one of eight designated wilderness areas within the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in the US state of Washington. Mt Baker itself is a thermally active volcano in the Cascade Range, standing 10,778 feet (3,285.1 m) high and is the dominant feature of this wilderness area.
Mount Cook National Park
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is part of the Southern Alps on the South Island of New Zealand. It was created in 1953 and consists of reserves that were established as early as 1887 to protect the area’s significant vegetation and landscape. Along with neighbouring parks it is a World Heritage Site. It covers little over 700 km² (170,000 acres; 270 sq mls).
Mount Rainier National Park
Mt Rainier National Park is in the US state of Washington. It was established in 1899 as the fifth national park in the United States. It covers 236,381 acres (369.35 sq mls; 956.60 km²) including all of Mt Rainier, a 14,411 foot (4,392 m) volcano. Mt Rainier is considered episodically active although it last erupted in the 1890s. The mountain rises abruptly from the surrounding land and is the highest point in the Cascade Range and is part of the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire. Around it are valleys, waterfalls, subalpine meadows, old growth forest and more than 25 glaciers. Paradise is the name given to an area on the mountain’s southern slope. It is said to be the snowiest place on earth where snow is measured regularly. In the winter of 1971/72 1,122 inches (28.5 m) of snow fell.
Mt Aspiring National Park
Nambung National Park
Nambung National Park lies on the coast of Western Australia roughly 200 kilometres north of Perth and covers an area of 17, 487 hectares (43,209.7 acres). The Yued people are the traditional custodians of the region and in their language Nambung means ‘crooked’ or ‘winding’, a reference to the Nambung River that drains into the area.
Namib-Naukluft National Park
Natural Bridges National Monument
Nitmiluk National Park
Nitmiluk National Park is the Northern Territory of Australia and is immediately south of the Kakadu National Park. It was previously named Katherine Gorge National Park. It is 292,800 hectares (723,498.8 acres) in area. The gorges and the surrounding landscape have great ceremonial significance to the local Jawoyn people, who are custodians of the land. The Jawoyn people’s long connection with the land is exhibited in the many rock art paintings on the sandstone walls throughout the gorge system, some of which are thousands of years old. In Jawoyn, Nitmiluk means ‘place of the cicada dreaming’.
Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
Parque Nacional de Los Glaciares is Argentina’s second largest national park and forms part of South America’s Patagonia region. It covers an area of 726,927 hectares (1,796,212 acres). It was established in 1937 and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. The park’s name refers to the giant ice cap in the Andes range, which occupies almost half the park’s area, and which feeds 47 glaciers. The ice cap is the largest outside Antarctica and Greenland. Due to the size of the ice cap the glaciers begin at an unusually low height of 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) flowing down to 200 metres (660 ft).
Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland. The name means ‘Land of Fire’ in Spanish and was coined in 1520 by the explorer Ferdinand Magellan, the first European to discover the area, and refers to the many bonfires which the local inhabitants had burning and which he could see from his ship.
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park straddles the border between Navajo and Apache counties in the US state of Arizona. The park, covers about 146 square miles (380 km²), and rises from a low of 5,340 feet (1,630 m) along the Puerco River to a high of 6,230 feet (1,900 m) at Pilot Rock. It was declared a national monument in 1906 and a national park in 1962.
Ranthambhore National Park
Ranthambhore National Park lies in Rajasthan in northern India, and is about 130 km (80.7 mls) from Jaipur and covers an area of 392 km² (151.3 sq mls). It is named after the historic Ranthambhore fortress which was built in the 10th century, which towers over the entire park area, standing 700 feet above the surrounding plain. The park was first established in 1955 as a game sanctuary. It became a national park in 1980 and was enlarged in 1991.
Sagamatha National Park
Sagarmāthā National Park is a protected area in the Himalayas of eastern Nepal that is dominated by Mt Everest. It encompasses an area of 1,148 km² (443 Sq mi) and ranges in elevation from 2,845 m (9,334 ft) to 8,848 m (29,029 ft) at the summit of Mt Everest. The park was established in 1976 and in 1979 was created a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sequoia National Park
Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park
The Royal Andes
Tongariro National Park
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is located in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is 440 kilometres (270 mls) south-west of Alice Springs. The park covers 1,326 square kilometres (512 sq mls) and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It includes Uluru, formerly Ayers Rock, and Kata Tjuta, formerly The Olgas, and is regarded as the spiritual heart of Australia’s Red Centre
Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness
The 112,500 acre (455 km²) Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness is located in northern Arizona and Southern Utah, USA, within the arid Colorado region. In 2000 the area was incorporated into the new and larger Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. The wilderness is composed of broad plateaus, tall escarpments and deep canyons created by wind and water eroding the native sedimentary rock.
Wai-O-Tapu is a highly active geothermal field in the North Island of New Zealand in the Taupo Volcanic Zone. It covers about 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq miles). Its name comes from the Maori word for ‘sacred waters’. The area has been protected as a scenic reserve since 1931 but is operated as a tourist business, in spite of which there are several areas where visitors are allowed to roam freely.
Whakaari / White Island is an active andesite stratovolcano, situated 48 km (30 mi) from the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand, in the Bay of Plenty. It is New Zealand’s most active cone volcano, and has been built up by continuous volcanic activity over the past 150,000 years. The nearest mainland towns are Whakatane and Tauranga. White Island has been in a nearly continuous stage of smoking at least since it was ‘discovered’ by James Cook in 1769. The island is roughly circular, about 2 km (1.2 mi) in diameter, and rises to a height of 321 m (1,053 ft) above sea level. However this is only the peak of a much larger submarine mountain, which rises up to 1,600 m (5,249 ft) above the nearby seafloor. Sulfur mining was attempted but was abandoned in 1914 after a lahar killed all 10 workers. The main activities on the island now are guided tours and scientific research.
Wrangell-St.Elias National Park and Preserve
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is located mainly, that is to say approximately 96%, in the U.S. state of Wyoming, with the remaining 4% edging into the states of Montana and Idaho. Created in 1872 it is held to be the world’s first national park. It has been designated an International Biosphere Reserve and a UN World Heritage Site.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is in the central Sierra Nevada of Northern California and covers parts of three counties, Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera. The Yosemite Valley, the most commonly visited part of the park, is thought to have been inhabited for at least 3000 years by a number of indigenous peoples, but in the mid-nineteenth-century gold was discovered in California which brought a huge increase of European Americans to the area, and conflict between the two populations quickly broke out. A special unit of the state militia was created to bring things under control. This unit was known as the Mariposa Battalion. Its special target was the Yosemite people, who were so named by the neighbouring Miwok tribe, and which means ‘killer’ in the Miwok language.