There are a lot of terrible things happening in the world right now. People around the planet are worried about politics, war, diseases and illnesses, catastrophes, and the general litany of concerns brought on by life, work, school, and home. It can be overwhelming. Sometimes, you just need a break, if only to replenish yourself for the next round.
Even if you can’t get away from it all physically, you can take a quick mental vacation to appreciate the incredible planet on which we live. While viewing nature on a screen isn’t necessarily a substitute for the real thing, it can help you relax—even if you’re in a particularly stressful situation.
Here are some gorgeous images from the wilderness and parks of the United States. Happy Earth Day!
The Augustine volcano erupted spectacularly in Alaska in 2006. Ash from the volcano caused flights in the area to be re-routed.
The Grand Canyon is gorgeous at sunrise. The canyon was formed by water cutting through the 40 identified layers of rock that make up the canyon’s walls.
The luminous path of the Milky Way paints the night sky in North Maricopa Mountain Wilderness, Arizona
Sweeping stripes grace the landforms in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Northern Arizona.
A river winds its way through Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska. The National Park has no trails or facilities, offering visitors a totally off-the-grid experience.
The aurora dances over the trees in Denali National Park. The bright colors forms when particles streaming off the sun interact with our upper atmosphere.
A waterfall cascades into the sea on Tanaga Island, a volcanic island in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. A volcano on the island last erupted in 1914.
Frost coats bushes and trees in Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge on a winter morning.
The Iditarod National Historic Trail can now be traced by snowmobiles instead of just dogsleds. The historic network of trails is 2,300 miles long.
Everything’s better under the sea. These coral reefs are located in Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.
Browns Canyon National Monument is one of the newer national monuments in the country. It was only designated a National Monument in 2015.
Snow capped mountains loom in Alaska’s Interior. The water here comes mostly from melting snowpack that has built up over time. This area of Alaska gets an average annual precipitation similar to Tuscon, Arizona.
It’s easy to see where the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area in Utah gets its name. The Conservation Area is part of a larger reserve of the same name, which aims to provide a safe habitat for the threatened Mojave desert tortoise, in addition to recreation areas for visitors.
A storm rains down in the distance in Arches National Park. The landforms towering over the scene are Courthouse towers.
Sea and mountain meet at King Range National Conservation Area in California. The area was so rugged, that California’s iconic scenic roadway, State Highway 1, had to be built miles inland.
Nevada’s Pine Forest Range Wilderness has a landscape that was carved out by glaciers during the ice age.
Timber Hollow Overlook in Shenandoah National Park provides a glorious view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Moonrise over Great Sand Dunes National Park. What initially looks like hills at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains are rows of sand dunes. These are among the tallest sand dunes in North America.
Snow falls in Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge’s Horseshoe Bend. The refuge is located on a branch of the Mississippi in Iowa.
Lost Horse Valley glows in the sunset in Joshua Tree National Park, with Joshua Trees silhouetted against the sunset. Joshua Trees are members of the agave family of plants.
Owens Peak Wilderness in bloom is a gorgeous sight to see. The wilderness, located in the southern Sierra Nevada also contains parts of the Pacific Coast Trail.