If you can get to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, you can get to the enormous Crazy Horse Memorial, too. It's 16 miles away, and much bigger.
Just north of Montana's Glacier National Park lies another wonderland -- Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park, which includes the Prince of Wales Hotel.
As if the landscape of Joshua Tree National Park weren't enough to look at, a group of artists has placed many works around the edges of the park.
It's easy to get fixated on landscape images at the Grand Canyon, especially if you're there for sunrise. But most mornings, the site is ripe with pictures that lend a human element to nature.
The Grand Canyon's South Rim is full of possibilities (and risk) when people start posing on clifftops in the morning light. Be safe out there.
If you rise early on a winter morning at Death Valley, you stand a chance of catching sunrise with storm clouds, a rare treat.
To make your picture at the Death Valley low point pop, emphasize the texture of the salt flats and be alert for chances to include a hiker for scale.
Good color is half of the battle to win a great image from Death Valley's Mesquite Flat Dunes. The other half: Finding some shapes to sharpen the composition.
Delicate Arch is the most popular picture spot at Utah's Arches National Park, but you can still make a fresh image there. Here's how to make those photo memories special.
Big Bend National Park is in the middle of nowhere -- west Texas on the Mexico border, to be exact -- and if you float a raft down the Rio Grande there, the rewards are many.
For a big thrill in Colorado's Mesa Verde National Park, head for Balcony House. It's got a staircase, ladder and narrow tunnel.
Colorado's Mesa Verde National Park gives travelers a chance to climb into ancient cliff dwellings, including the 150-room Cliff Palace.
If you're hiking even a tiny bit of the Grand Canyon in winter, you need traction. Snow are ice are is common. Spend $20 on a pair of crampons.
The Grand Canyon's Desert View Watchtower is a 20th-century fantasy of what a Native American tower might look like -- and once you've climbed it and seen the view, you'll be glad you did.
Arizona's Horseshoe Bend is where the Colorado twists and turns and looks like a river ready to swallow itself. It's just waiting to confuse you from its Glen Canyon National Recreation Area setting.
Rock star Gram Parsons died of an overdose near Joshua Tree National Park more than 40 years ago, and the park's Cap Rock has become a sort of shrine, as has the Joshua Tree Inn.
Scotty's Castle, long a highlight of Death Valley, is closed for flood-damage repairs, but elsewhere the valley is busy.
In redwood country near the Oregon state line, check out the Historic Requa Inn, which offers lodging and, in warmer months, farm-to-table dinners.
Remember: It's time to accept the loss of those familiar Yosemite names. Think Majestic Yosemite Hotel and Half Dome Village.
When the usual suspects are full in Yosemite Valley, the Redwood in Yosemite is a great lodging option -- a collection of rental cabins near the park's Wawona area.
The Stanley hotel neighbors Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park. About 40 years ago, it inspired Stephen King's "The Shining."
Many visitors to the Grand Canyon's South Rim figure El Tovar, the fanciest lodging around, is the only place to stay. But it's not. Look at Bright Angel Lodge.
Because Crater Lake is all about one view, and because the Crater Lake Lodge is the only lodging with that view, you should sleep there. But just one night.
To capture brown bear as the fished for salmon in Alaska's Katmai National Park, photographer Mark Boster is a 500mm lens on a monopod -- and he was far from alone.
The brown bears of Katmai National Park in Alaska like to gather along the Brooks River to fish for salmon. Lucky photographers perch on a platform to look down upon them.
In Alaska's Denali National Park, photographer Mark Boster caught these sheep foraing -- and to be sure he had at least one solid shot, he took a bunch.
Sometimes you have to make your pix of animals through a bus window, as Los Angeles Times photographer Mark Boster did in Denali National Park. It can be done, he says, and he tells you how.
The light lasts so long in summer in Alaska, there's time enough for many adventures in Katmai National Park and the state's many other wild areas.
Katmai National Park in Alaska, accessible only by boat and plane, is one of those rare places where you can see these beasts up close as they catch dinner from a river.
If you can get to the top of Maui's Haleakala in time, the sunrise can be breathtaking. Then follow that up with a bike ride down to the mountain to the water's edge.
National Park of American Samoa, far beyond Hawaii in the Pacific, is our most remote national park, and Ofu is its most coveted beach.
Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial is the site of the worst home-front disaster of World War II, and fatal chapter in American race relations. It's 30 miles north of San Francisco.
The Interval is a cool bar in San Francisco that's dedicated to the contemplation of time. It's in Fort Mason, part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The Presidio, a big, scenic, increasingly popular portion of San Francisco, is worth exploring, and it's part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
For my money, the wet edges of California's Channel Islands National Park are more interesting than their dry middles.
Trail Ridge Road, the main route in Rocky Mountain National Park, covers nearly 50 miles, cross the continental divide and shows off some of Colorado's best scenery.
The Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway is a great drive, and it's only a small part of northern California's Redwood National and State Parks.
Going-to-the-Sun Road is an engineering marvel that ties together Glacier National Park in Montana, delivering amazing mountain views.
Titus Canyon, squeeze between steep, dry desert mountains, is a remarkable road in Death Valley National Park, still drivable if you dare.
National park tips: Rocks mysteriously slide around Death Valley's Racetrack. That's one reason to go
The Ractrack is an eerie corner of Death Valley National Park, reachable only by a 27-mile drive beyond pavement's end.
The National Park Service does a great job at the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax., Virginia, and the nearby town of Floyd is another destination for fans of Appalachian traditional music.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile NPS-protected route through Virginia and North Carolina, is one of this country's greatest road trips.
Ford's Theater, where President Lincoln was shot in Washington, D.C., makes a fascinating family vist, with rangers telling the story of that tragic assassination night in 1865.
Most of Boston National Historical Park follows the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile-long walkable route through downtown Boston, the North End and Charleston. You’ve
An elevator will speed you to the top of the Washington Monument, if it's working. Better check before showing up.
The State of Liberty, often closed over the years, is open and you can climb up to her crown, but not to the torch, which is off limits.
Mt. Rushmore surely counts among the most amazing man-made artworks in North America. But the story of its sculptor isn't so well known -- and the KKK is involved.
El Morro National Monument isn't widely known, but its well-carved walls amount to the greatest guest register in the West
Get to Yosemite's Tunnel View early in the morning and you'll beat the crowds, catch better light and maybe see a wedding.
Death Valley National Park gets beastly hot in summer , but thousands of tourists come anyway. You should stay away until it gets cooler.
Using a tripod and a 70-200mm lens from the Tunnel View overlook, you can isolate the clouds and make a great picture at Yosemite that doesn’t involve Half Dome, the waterfalls or a river.
The full moon in Yosemite is a great time for photographers to play. This 30-second exposure shows how bright the moon can be, with every detail in the rocks and waterfalls.
At 2 a.m., most people in the Yosemite Valley are sleeping -- unless you are a photographer chasing a full moon. Then you're snapping like mad.
At Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park, choose whether or not you want the geyser cloud in front of or behind the sun. It may be the only big decision you’ll have to make
As crowds of visitors stroll along wooden walkways in Yellowstone National Park’s Midway Geyser Basin, steam clouds billow from the colorful Grand Prismatic Spring
On the average, Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful blows every 90 minutes, shooting 4,000 to 8,000 gallons of water about 130 feet into the air.
A bear family takes a walk through a meadow near the Petrified Tree in northern Yellowstone National Park. To snap them, the photographer used an 800mm lens.
Rush hour in Yellowstone National Park is different from other parts of the country, as shown by this bison lumbering down the highway near Madison Junction.
National park photo ops: Crater Lake reflects impressive colors at sunrise. Here's how to capture them
If you're shooting sunrises like this one at Crater Lake, bring a tripod and cable release. Storm? Might bring more colors.
An old, weathered tree stands like a sentinel near Watchman Overlook high above Crater Lake, a collapsed volcano that’s the centerpiece of Crater Lake National
To hike Yosemite’s Half Dome, you need a permit and should start by dawn. It’s a 16-mile round trip, with 4,800 feet of elevation gain. Plan on 10 to 12 hours.
In Yosemite National Park, the ponds in Cook’s Meadow are great natural surfaces that reflect the surroundings in the Yosemite Valley. Get low and shoot them.
There are easier viewpoints to reach in Yellowstone. But if your heart and legs are up to it, take the trail of the Brink of the Lower Falls along the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
Of course you’ll do Yellowstone’s Old Faithful. But you also need to go 7 miles north and do Grand Prismatic Spring too
Other attractions in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park get more attention, but I loved the time I spent on Grand Lake at the park’s western entrance.
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is part of California's Redwood National Park, and it’s a great place to feel small among redwoods standing tall.
Crater Lake National Park is worth a visit; on the way to Oregon 62 to the park, don't miss the short trail at Rogue River Gorge (or the pie at Beckie's).