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Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas

52 Week Adventure Challenge

11.06.17

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Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas

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  • Mono Lake's South Tufa.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • The Mono Craters are the youngest mountain range in North America.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • Alkali flies feed the millions of birds that migrate to the Mono Basin each year.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • The view from the Women's Forum State Scenic Viewpoint looking toward the Crown Point Vista House.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • Multnomah Falls and Benson Bridge are one of the most iconic sights in the Columbia River Gorge.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • Larch Mountain Trail: Weisendanger Falls.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • Morning clouds down the Columbia River Gorge from Munra Point.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • Kayaking Wind River in the Columbia River Gorge: The third drop is smoother than it looks.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • View of Bonneville Lock and Dam from Aldrich Butte's summit.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • From Little Hamiilton Mountain you'll enjoy some of the best views of the Columbia River Gorge to the west and east.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • Sunset view from Crown Point Vista House.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • Looking out over the Columbia from Angels Rest.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • Latourell Falls.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • A perfect rainbow forms over the wildflowers on the plateau at Tom McCall Point.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • Early morning light on Mount Hood as seen from a full wildflower meadow high above Rowena Crest.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • Hike it Baby group hitting the Horsetail, Ponytail, Triple Falls Hike.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • Under Ponytail Falls.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • The creek below Elowah Falls is worth exploring.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • Wildflowers along the Elowah Falls Hike.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
  • Spirit Falls, Little White Salmon River.- Must-See Views in Our National Scenic Areas
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There’s more to federally managed land than an iconic national park, a remote wilderness area, or an epic backcountry campsite on BLM or Forest Service land. National Scenic Areas are federally protected landscapes that have already been partially developed and inhabited by humans, but are known for their outstanding scenic and natural value.

They are also some of the most fantastic places to get outside and play. Because a National Scenic Area designation encourages and promotes the economic growth of the region, you can usually find one not too far outside of an urban area and easily access comfortable amenities.

This unique land designation opens up doors by supporting people and communities who live and work in these areas while ensuring that the unique characteristics of the region are preserved for years to come. The land designation is applied when other federal land status don’t apply but the characteristics of a landscape or destination call for certain land management and preservation practices.

So what does this mean if you like to get outside and want to explore these areas? It means that these places have been set aside for our enjoyment without compromising the surrounding community’s infrastructure. One of the most prime examples of a National Scenic Area is the Columbia River Gorge, just east of Portland, Oregon.

It’s a region of breathtaking natural beauty already heavily used by travelers and people living and working in the area, and, of course, pursuing outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, boating, and other sports. When it was designated as a National Scenic Area in 1986, new funding and infrastructure to manage the 80-mile region became available, and this helps support about 75,000 people, resource dependent communities, farms and schools.

The first National Scenic Area ever designated was Mono Basin, pictured above. For more on National Scenic Areas, click here.

Here’s a list of National Scenic Areas and the years they were created. Enjoy these unique and beautiful landscapes, as well as the communities they support.

  • Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, California, 1984
  • Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Oregon and Washington, 1986
  • Beech Creek National Scenic Area, Oklahoma, 1988
  • Indian Nations National Wildlife and Scenic Area, Oklahoma, 1988
  • Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area, Virginia, 1994
  • Coosa Bald National Scenic Area, Georgia, 1995
  • Saint Helena Island National Scenic Area, Michigan, 2000
  • Seng Mountain National Scenic Area, Virginia, 2009
  • Bear Creek National Scenic Area, Virginia, 2009

For a list of adventures you can embark on in the Columbia River Gorge, see below.

#52AdventureChallenge

We believe good things come from people spending time outside. We strive to provide inspiration and supporting information on incredible adventures to make it easy for you to get outdoors and explore new places. We understand that life is busy, but we strongly encourage you to make time for outdoor recreation on a weekly, if not daily, basis. To keep you inspired all year, we've put together a list of 52 geologic features and adventure themes. Check them out and join us in our #52AdventureChallenge!

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