THE NATIONAL PARKS AT A GLANCE
Abraham Lincoln, in Kentucky, embraces the site of the birthplace of our Civil War President. The log cabin in which Lincoln was born has been enclosed in a granite memorial of classic design.
Acadia, in Maine, contains a group of granite mountains on Mount Desert Island and a beautiful promontory on the opposite mainland across Frenchmans Bay. The only place on the eastern seaboard where sea and mountain meet.
Bryce Canyon, in Utah, is a great amphitheater cut by erosion a thousand feet into the pink and white limestone, shale, and sandstone of the Paunsaugunt Plateau, and containing myriads of fantastic figures carved by weathering processes, chiefly running water, aided by wind, and changes in temperature. The amphitheater is 3 miles long and about 2 miles wide.
Carlsbad Caverns, in New Mexico, a series of connected caverns of unusual magnificence and extent, located in the rugged foothills of the Guadalupe Mountains. The limestone decorations of these caverns are superb.
Crater Lake, in Oregon, is famous principally for its large lake of extraordinary blue, located in the crater of an extinct volcano and encircled by thousand-foot crater walls interestingly sculptured and tinted. The lake is 6 miles in diameter, with a maximum depth of 2,000 feet.
Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, Md., has been strategically important since the close of the eighteenth century. Defense of this fort in 1814 inspired the composition of the "Star Spangled Banner", by Francis Scott Key. The author was being held as a hostage on a British warship and composed the national anthem when he saw the flag waving in the morning after an all-night bombardment of the fort.
General Grant, in California, contains the famous General Grant tree, one of the oldest and largest of the sequoia trees, and other interesting sequoias.
Glacier, in Montana, is a region of rugged colorful mountains containing 200 glacier-fed lakes of unusual beauty. In it are 60 small glaciers, the remnants of the once mighty ice sheets that ages ago covered this area. Its precipices, thousands of feet deep, afford interesting material for the study of geology.
Grand Canyon, in Arizona, contains the most spectacular portion of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. This gorgeously colored canyon is the world's greatest example of stream erosion. It is nearly a mile deep and at its widest portion within the park is 18 miles across.
Grand Teton, in Wyoming, includes the Grand Teton Mountain group, one of the noblest mountain massings of the world and one of the few that can be described accurately as cathedral-like.
Great Smoky Mountains, in North Carolina and Tennessee, contains the most massive mountain uplift in eastern United States. In this area is the finest virgin hardwood forest in the United States, and also the largest virgin forest of red spruce. No other known area of equal size contains such a variety of plant life.
Hawaii, in the Territory of Hawaii, includes the summits of three famous volcanoes, extinct Haleakala, on the Island of Maui, with a crater large enough to hold a fair-sized city, and the active volcanoes of Mauna Loa and Kilauea on the Island of Hawaii. Kilauea is known especially for the turbulent lake of fire that at times fills its crater. Tree ferns and other tropical vegetation add to the beauty of the park.
Hot Springs, in Arkansas, is known for its hot waters, believed to possess healing properties since the days of the early Indians, long before the coming of the white man. Located in the picturesque Ouachita Mountains.
Lassen Volcanic, in northern California, contains the most recently active volcano in the 48 States, having erupted less than 20 years ago. The park is an interesting exhibit of cinder cones, mud geysers, springs, and lava beds.
Mesa Verde, in Colorado, has perhaps the most dramatic qualities of any park of the system. In it are the ruined homes of people who lived a thousand or so years ago and then disappeared, leaving behind them great communal dwellings. Cliff Palace, one of the community homes, contained at least 200 dwelling rooms before its upper walls crumbled into ruins.
Mount McKinley, in Alaska, has as its main scenic feature the mountain for which it was named. This great peak reaches an altitude of 20,300 feet and is the highest in North America. It rises higher above the surrounding country than any other mountain in the world, not excepting the Himalayas. The park was established to afford protection to its interesting herds of caribou and mountain sheep.
Mount Rainier, in Washington, contains the largest accessible single-glacier peak system in the United States, spreading out and down over the sides of an extinct volcano. From the summit and cirque of Mount Rainier 28 named glaciers move slowly downward, and there are others unnamed. The park also is famous for its wild-flower fields.
Platt, in Oklahoma, is another area of hot springs and other waters believed to possess medicinal qualities.
Rocky Mountain, in Colorado, is a splendidly representative section of the Rockies. In nobility, in sheer glory of stalwart beauty, it would be difficult to find a mountain group that could excel the snow-capped peaks standing at parade behind the famous Longs Peak.
Sequoia, in California, contains magnificent groves of sequoias or big trees, the oldest and largest of living things. The largest, the General Sherman, is nearly 275 feet above its mean base and has a circumference of over a hundred feet. The park also contains a spectacular section of the High Sierra, including Mount Whitney, highest peak in continental United States exclusive of Alaska.
Shenandoah, in Virginia, contains the highest peaks of the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountainsthe Hawksbill and Stony Manboth of which are over 4,000 feet in height. This region of the Appalachians is one of great scenic beauty and importance. The Shenandoah Valley is rich in historic interest.
Wind Cave, in South Dakota, contains a cave with several miles of galleries and numerous rooms, decorated with many beautiful crystal formations.
Yellowstone, mostly in Wyoming but with small areas in Montana and Idaho, is the largest of our national parks. It contains, in its six main geyser fields, more and greater geysers than all the rest of the world combined. Another outstanding feature is the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, interesting for its gorgeous coloring and interesting waterfalls. As a wild bird and animal preserve it is unequaled in the United States.
Yosemite, in California, is a high mountain park of sheer beauty. In addition to Yosemite Valley, world famed for its loveliness, there are several other valleys of great charm. Many waterfalls of extraordinary height and majesty dash over the high granite cliffs into the valleys below. There are also three groves of sequoia trees.
Zion National Park, in Utah, has as its principal feature Zion Canyon, a superb gorge varying in depth from 1,500 to 2,500 feet. Its precipitous walls are eroded in unusual forms and are vividly colored.
Morristown, N.J. Area where the American armies under Washington camped from January to June 1777, and during the winter, 1779-80. Contains the Ford Mansion, where Washington lived for a year during the American Revolution.
Arches, Utah, contains extraordinary examples of wind erosion in the form of gigantic arches, windows, and other unique formations.
Aztec Ruins, New Mexico, has a prehistoric ruin of pueblo type containing 500 rooms; also other ruins.
Bandelier, New Mexico, noted for its great number of cliff-dweller ruins of unusual ethnological and educational interest. Some of the tools, implements, and simple household equipment of the former inhabitants have been restored as they were centuries ago.
Big Hole Battlefield, Montana, is the site of the battle, where in 1877 a force of United States troops defeated the band of Nez Perce Indians under the famous Chief Joseph, who was attempting to lead his people into Canada.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado, contains 10 miles of the deepest and most scenic portion of the Black Canyon; is in a predominatingly black or dark-colored granite formation streaked with light-colored granites. With a depth of 1,750 feet, at one point the width of the gorge from rim to rim is only 1,300 feet.
Cabrillo, near San Diego, Calif., is the point at which Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, discoverer of California, first sighted land, in 1542.
Canyon de Chelly, Arizona, has many cliff dwellings in caves and crevasses containing records of cultural progress covering a longer period than any other ruins so far discovered in the Southwest.
Capulin Mountain, New Mexico, has as its principal feature a huge cinder cone of geologically recent formation.
Casa Grande, Arizona, contains ruins that are one of the most noteworthy relics of a prehistoric age and people within the limits of the United States. These ruins were discovered in 1694.
Castle Pinckney, on an island in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, is a fortification built in 1810 to replace a Revolutionary fort. It was used as a prison during the Civil War and later dismantled to make way for a lighthouse in 1890.
Cedar Breaks, Utah, consists of a series of amphitheaters eroded to a depth of 2,000 feet in pink cliff formation with spectacular canyons and cliffs of vivid coloring.
Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, contains a large number of great pre-historic communal dwellings of intense archeological interest.
Chiricahua, in southern Arizona, contains natural rock formations in many strange and spectacular forms.
Colonial, Virginia, containing three areas of historic importance in our colonial history with a connecting parkwayJamestown Island, site of first permanent English settlement in America; the historic colonial town of Williamsburg; and Yorktown, where the culminating battle of the Revolution was fought.
Colorado, Colorado, is a wonderful example of erosion, with lofty monoliths.
Craters of the Moon, Idaho, contains remarkable fissure eruptions, volcanic cones, craters, lava flows, caves, and other volcanic phenomena.
Death Valley, California, a fascinating desert region, including the lowest point in the United States, 276 feet below sea level, is interesting for its historical associations, geology, and plant life.
Devil Postpile, California, consists of peculiar hexagonal basaltic columns, like an immense pile of posts. It is said to rank with the famous Giant's Causeway of Ireland.
Devils Tower, Wyoming, contains a remarkable natural rock tower of volcanic origin over 1,200 feet high.
Dinosaur, Utah, has the fossil remains of great prehistoric animals.
El Morro, New Mexico, contains an enormous sandstone rock eroded in the form of a castle upon which inscriptions were carved by the early Spanish explorers; also cliff-dweller ruins.
Father Millet Cross, at Old Fort Niagara, New York, contains a cross erected to commemorate the setting up on the same site, on Good Friday 1688, by Father Millet, French missionary priest, of a cross to invoke God's blessing for the plague-stricken men.
Fort Jefferson, on one of the Dry Tortugas Keys off the coast of Florida, is a fortification begun in 1846 as an outstanding coastal defense of America, which was afterward used as a political prison, in which Dr. Samuel Mudd was confined. There is an unusual marine display in the crystal waters surrounding it.
Fort Marion, at St. Augustine, Fla., built in 1672 by the Spaniards, is the oldest fort in the United States. Built of coquina stone, it is a noble example of the engineer's art.
Fort Matanzas, on Rattlesnake Island, Fla., is an historic relic of the Spanish invasion, where 300 French Huguenots were massacred in 1564.
Fort Pulaski, on Cockspur Island, at the mouth of the Savannah River. Georgia, built to replace Fort Greene, was one of the fortresses constructed for coast defense by the United States in the pre-Civil War period. Named after the Polish hero who was wounded mortally at the Battle of Savannah, in 1779, it was begun in 1829 and finished in 1846.
Fossil Cycad, South Dakota, has deposits of interesting plant fossils.
George Washington Birthplace, Virginia, includes the site of the birthplace of George Washington where upon the old foundations the birth house has been reproduced. as far as possible; also the old family burial plot with graves of George Washington's father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
Gila Cliff Dwellings, New Mexico, consists of cliff-dweller ruins. Situated in an overhanging cliff 150 feet high are four natural cavities in the greyish-yellow volcanic formation. There are several rooms of adobe, which are in a good state of preservation. The ruins are accessible by trail only.
Glacier Bay, Alaska, contains great tidewater glaciers of keen scientific interest.
Gran Quivira, New Mexico, has one of the most important of the earliest Spanish mission ruins in the Southwest and also pueblo ruins.
Grand Canyon, Arizona, adjoining the Grand Canyon National Park. This monument provides new views of the famous Grand Canyon.
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, contains sand dunes which are among the largest and highest if not the greatest of any such dunes in the United States.
Holy Cross, Colorado, consists of two crevasses on the side of the Mount of the Holy Cross, which when partly filled with snow form a figure in the shape of a cross.
Hovenweep, Utah and Colorado, has four groups of historic towers, pueblos, and cliff dwellings.
Jewel Cave, South Dakota, is a cavern of limestone formations containing a series of chambers, connected by narrow passages, with numerous side galleries.
Katmai, Alaska, is a dying volcanic region of scientific interest; includes the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.
Lava Beds, California, is an unusual exhibit of former volcanic activity, principally lava flows, containing caves and tubes in great numbers and of considerable size. It was the battleground of the Modoc Indian War in 1873.
Lehman Caves, Nevada, consists of caves of light grey and white limestone, honeycombed by tunnels and galleries of stalactite formations.
Lewis and Clark Cavern, Montana, is an immense limestone cavern decorated with stalactite formations.
Meriwether Lewis, Tennessee, contains the grave of Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, over which a replica of the log inn in which the gallant explorer met his untimely death in 1809 has been erected .
Montezuma Castle, Arizona, contains a prehistoric cliff-dweller ruin of unusual size, situated in a niche in face of a vertical cliff.
Mound City Group, at Chillicothe, Ohio, is a group of famous pre-historic Indian mounds.
Mount Olympus, in Washington, is an area of unspoiled wilderness, including magnificent coastal forests and numerous glaciers. Bands of rare Roosevelt elk find their home within the monument.
Muir Woods, California, is notable for its great grove of redwood trees.
Natural Bridges, Utah, has three natural bridges, the largest being 223 feet high and 65 feet thick at the top of the arch.
Navajo, Arizona, has numerous cliff-dweller ruins in a good state of preservation.
Old Kasaan, Alaska, is an abandoned Haida Indian village in which remain totem poles, grave houses, and monuments.
Oregon Caves, near Grants Pass, Oregon, consists of extensive caves in an interesting limestone formation.
Petrified Forest, Arizona, is of great scientific interest because of its abundance of petrified coniferous trees, one of which forms a natural bridge.
Pinnacles, California, has many spire-like rock formations 600 to 1,000 feet high, and also numerous caves and other formations.
Pipe Spring, Arizona, contains an old stone fort, connected with early Mormon history, and a spring of pure water, most important to the early pioneers in the desert region.
Rainbow Bridge, Utah, is a unique natural bridge in the shape of a rainbow. This bridge, very symmetrical in form, rises 300 feet above the water.
Saguaro, near Tucson, Arizona, contains a great forest of giant cacti and a fine display of other desert vegetation of much scientific interest.
Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, is a region of historic and scientific interest. Many famous old trails traversed by the early pioneers passed this way.
Shoshone Cavern, Wyoming, is a cave of considerable extent decorated with incrustations of crystals.
Sitka, Alaska, contains 16 totem poles of the best native workmanship; is of historic interest in the history of the Russians and early Indians.
Statue of Liberty, on Bedloe Island, New York Harbor, site of Bartholdi's colossal symbolic figure, recognized throughout the world as emblematic of the Spirit of Liberty and presented by France to America in commemoration of the centenary of American Independence.
Sunset Crater, Arizona, is a volcanic crater with lava flows and ice caves, near the famous San Francisco Peaks.
Timpanogos Cave, near American Fork, Utah, is a limestone cavern about 600 feet in length.
Tonto, Arizona, contains the ruins of two and three-storied cliff dwellings, remarkably preserved.
Tumacacori, Arizona, contains a ruined Franciscan mission dating back to the seventeenth century.
Verendrye, North Dakota, includes Crowhigh Butte, from which explorer Verendrye first beheld land beyond the Mississippi River.
Walnut Canyon, near Flagstaff, Arizona, contains many straggling cliff-dweller ruins, built under the outward sloping canyon walls, with the projecting limestone ledges used as foundations.
Wheeler, Colorado, contains volcanic formations of great scientific interest as illustrating erratic erosion; unusual combinations of fantastic pinnacles and interesting gorges.
White Sands, New Mexico, is an area of glistening sands or deposits of wind-blown gypsum almost crystal clear and in a bright light resembling a vast snow field; has interesting plant and animal life.
Wupatki, Arizona, contains prehistoric dwellings of ancestors of Hopi Indians.
Yucca House, Colorado, has great mounds containing prehistoric ruins which when excavated are estimated to be of great archeological interest and educational value.
Chickamauga and Chattanooga, Georgia and Tennessee. Beautiful natural park embracing the battlefields of Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge and scenes of other conflicts in the vicinity of Chattanooga during 1863, which prepared the way for Sherman's invasion of Georgia.
Fort Donelson, Tennessee. Site of Civil War fort captured by the Union forces in 1862, marking the beginning of Grant's successful campaign in the West.
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial, Virginia. Scene of the two battles of Fredericksburg, and the battles of Spotsylvania, Wilderness, Chancellorsville, and Salem Church near Fredericksburg in 1862, 1863, and 1864 during the Union drive against Richmond.
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Beautiful natural park, which was the scene of decisive battles of the Civil War in the East, marking the end of Lee's second and last invasion of the North.
Guilford Courthouse, near Greensboro, N. C. Scene of one of the great battles of the Revolution in 1781.
Kings Mountain, South Carolina. Commemorates the Revolutionary War battle of Kings Mountain fought October 7, 1780, in which American frontiersmen defeated a strong body of British troops.
Moores Creek, North Carolina. Scene of memorable battle of the Revolutionary War, fought early in 1776.
Petersburg, Virginia. Scene of 10-month campaign, siege, and defense of Petersburg, in 1864 and 1865, which was followed by Lee's surrender at Appomattox.
Shiloh, Tennessee. Natural park embracing the field of the battle of Shiloh near Pittsburg Landing, where Grant, in 1862, decisively repulsed a Confederate attempt to destroy his army.
Stones River, Tennessee. Scene of a Civil War battle. Vicksburg, Mississippi. Beautiful natural park which was the scene of the siege and surrender of Vicksburg in 1863. The fall of Vicksburg was the decisive event of the Civil War in the West.
Antietam, Maryland. Scene of one of the decisive battles of the Civil War, which ended Lee's first invasion of the North in September 1862.
Appomattox, Virginia. Monument commemorating the termination of the War between the States on April 9,1865.
Brices Cross Roads, Mississippi. Scene of Civil War battle, June 10, 1864.
Chalmette Monument and Grounds, Louisiana. Preserved in memory of Andrew Jackson's victory at the Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815, which saved that city from capture and sack by the British.
Cowpens, South Carolina. Site of Revolutionary battle of Cowpens, January 17, 1781.
Fort Necessity, Pennsylvania. Where Virginia troops under George Washington resisted a French and Indian force on July 3, 1754, in a battle which marked the beginning of the French and Indian War.
Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia. Site of important Civil War battle on June 27, 1864, during Sherman's invasion of Georgia.
Monocacy, Maryland. Site where General Wallace on July 9, 1864, resisted the Confederates under Early, thus impeding the latter's progress toward Washington.
Tupelo, Mississippi. Commemorates the Civil War battle of Tupelo, July 1864.
White Plains, New York. Memorial tablet to indicate the position of the Revolutionary Army under the command of General Washington, during the Battle of White Plains, October 1776.
National Capital Parks, District of Columbia and environs. The National Capital Park system was established under authorization of the act of July 17, 1790, and has been under Federal control ever since, a period of 146 years. There are approximately 700 units, including 66 national statues and memorials.
Camp Blount Tablets, Tennessee. Marking site of stone bridge where troops under General Andrew Jackson were mobilized and camped preparatory to war against the Spanish and Indians in Florida.
Kill Devil Hill Monument, North Carolina. Scene of first sustained flight by heavier-than-air machine, invented by the Wright brothers in 1903.
Lee Mansion, Virginia. Once the home of Robert E. Lee, Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate Army.
New Echota, Georgia. Site of last capital of Cherokee Indians.
Following is a list of State and county parks, metropolitan sections of city parks, and Resettlement Administration recreational areas in which Emergency Conservation Work is being, or has been conducted, under the supervision of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
Last Updated: 16-Feb-2010