Big Bend National Park, a hidden gem in Texas

Each year, more than 30 million visitors flock to America’s most popular national parks. This summer, though, travelers can skip the crowds and take the road less traveled to see some of the country’s most stunning sights. The June/July issue of Country —the magazine for readers who love the land and life of the countryside—unveils the special 32-page section, "Hidden Gems of the National Park System," in which readers can view the Top 10 most breathtaking, off-the-beaten-path parks across the country. Texas’ Big Bend National Park is among those selected as one of the country's most awe-inspiring sights.

To create this list of lesser-known wonders, Country asked their favorite scenic photographers to find the most beautiful, least crowded spots in the national parks system. These photographers delivered a cache of gorgeous images that the Country editors narrowed down to the 10 most alluring, overlooked parks in America. In addition to their awe-inspiring natural beauty, these parks offer something for everyone to enjoy—from hiking and camping to climbing and even snorkeling.

Big Bend National Park boasts more than 800,000 acres of biological and geological diversity. Straddling continents and subclimates, it is the foremost place to experience the best of North, Central and South America combined and it’s great any time of the year as each season lends a distinct flavor to the terrain. Plus, birders rejoice—it hosts more bird species than any other national park in the country.

Here’s a peek at some of the parks that made the Hidden Gems list:

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (AZ): Tucked away in the desert, visitors can view a wide range of specialized plants and animals, including this site’s namesake, the rare organ pipe cactus. The experience is exotic, inviting and utterly unforgettable, as is the flavorful cowboy coffee the locals have to offer.

Virgin Islands National Park (US Virgin Islands): This luxurious tropical paradise is one of just two national parks located outside of the 50 United States. It contains Trunk Bay, consistently voted one of the best beaches in the world and is perfect for serious snorkelers, as coral reefs surround much of the island. Enjoy hikes to the abandoned sugar mills, rock carvings, subtropical rainforests and view more than 50 species of tropical birds and 800 species of plants.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park (ND): This “land of vast, silent spaces” is the largest protected, mixed-prairie ecosystem in the US, partly due to Teddy Roosevelt who used to hunt bison there. The park contains well-preserved attractions, including Roosevelt’s original ranch cabin that will undoubtedly appeal to history buffs.

Canyonlands National Park­ (UT): The region is filled with deep canyons, sheer-drop mesas and soaring sandstone spires at elevations high above sea level. Sparsely populated, the park’s raw, undisturbed beauty is remarkable and breathtaking year-round.

Pinnacles National Park (CA): An ancient volcanic field, the park is a boon to hikers and rock climbers trying to get away from the crowds. Besides bursting with beautiful colors from wildflower blossoms, Pinnacles is now host to 34 free-flying condors. The park is also known for its rocks of various sizes and intact ecosystem of plants and animals.

Credit: http://www.country-magazine.com/

To create this list of lesser-known wonders, Country asked their favorite scenic photographers to find the most beautiful, least crowded spots in the national parks system. These photographers delivered a cache of gorgeous images that the Country editors narrowed down to the 10 most alluring, overlooked parks in America. In addition to their awe-inspiring natural beauty, these parks offer something for everyone to enjoy—from hiking and camping to climbing and even snorkeling.

Big Bend National Park boasts more than 800,000 acres of biological and geological diversity. Straddling continents and subclimates, it is the foremost place to experience the best of North, Central and South America combined and it’s great any time of the year as each season lends a distinct flavor to the terrain. Plus, birders rejoice—it hosts more bird species than any other national park in the country.

Here’s a peek at some of the parks that made the Hidden Gems list:

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (AZ): Tucked away in the desert, visitors can view a wide range of specialized plants and animals, including this site’s namesake, the rare organ pipe cactus. The experience is exotic, inviting and utterly unforgettable, as is the flavorful cowboy coffee the locals have to offer.

Virgin Islands National Park (US Virgin Islands): This luxurious tropical paradise is one of just two national parks located outside of the 50 United States. It contains Trunk Bay, consistently voted one of the best beaches in the world and is perfect for serious snorkelers, as coral reefs surround much of the island. Enjoy hikes to the abandoned sugar mills, rock carvings, subtropical rainforests and view more than 50 species of tropical birds and 800 species of plants.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park (ND): This “land of vast, silent spaces” is the largest protected, mixed-prairie ecosystem in the US, partly due to Teddy Roosevelt who used to hunt bison there. The park contains well-preserved attractions, including Roosevelt’s original ranch cabin that will undoubtedly appeal to history buffs.

Canyonlands National Park­ (UT): The region is filled with deep canyons, sheer-drop mesas and soaring sandstone spires at elevations high above sea level. Sparsely populated, the park’s raw, undisturbed beauty is remarkable and breathtaking year-round.

Pinnacles National Park (CA): An ancient volcanic field, the park is a boon to hikers and rock climbers trying to get away from the crowds. Besides bursting with beautiful colors from wildflower blossoms, Pinnacles is now host to 34 free-flying condors. The park is also known for its rocks of various sizes and intact ecosystem of plants and animals.

Credit: http://www.country-magazine.com/