The Partners of the Great Peaks

Foothills, plains, and valleys are transition regions in mountainous terrain that typically surround the country’s iconic peaks. While they may be overlooked in the shadow of spectacular mountains, they perform important ecosystem functions, providing homes for many plants and animals. These lands, which have more mild climates than the nearby peaks, protect wildlife and make a hospitable place for us to visit. Next time you visit a national park, be sure to include them in your itinerary.

Map of the United States showing all units of the National Park System

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Last updated: February 5, 2019