geology

Planning Your Time in Bryce Canyon National Park

In Bryce Canyon, a geologic fairyland of rock spires rises beneath the high cliffs of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. This intricate maze, eroded from soft limestone, now glows with warm shades of red, orange, pink, yellow, and cream. The best things to do in the park are take in the visitors center exhibits, enjoy the viewpoints along the scenic drive, and spend time hiking.

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Plan a Visit to Capitol Reef National Park

Although Capitol Reef gets far less attention than the region’s other national parks, it is a great place to visit, with excellent hiking and splendid scenery. It’s easy to spend 2-3 days camping at the park campground or staying in nearby Torrey and taking day hikes in the park’s core district. Even travelers short on time will enjoy a quick look at visitors center exhibits and the Scenic Drive, which offers access to viewpoints and hiking trails.

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Planning Your Time in Zion National Park

Zion is a magnificent park with stunning, soaring scenery. The geology here is all about rocks and water; even rainy days can be memorable as waterfalls plunge from nearly every crevice in the cliffs above. To explore, it’s always worth spending part of a day hiking with a park ranger. The highlight for most visitors is winding through the canyon on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.

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Mono Lake’s Tufa Towers

Mono Lake, eerie in its stillness, is the main attraction in the northern part of the Eastern Sierra, just east of Yosemite. Over time, the lake has collected huge stores of calcium carbonate, which solidifies into strange-looking tufa towers–freestanding calcite towers, knobs, and spires. If you’re visiting the Eastern Sierra, you won’t want to miss this natural wonder.

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Nicaragua’s Volcanic Landscape

Nicaragua’s nickname, “The Land of Lakes and Volcanoes,” evokes its primary geographical features: two great lakes and a chain of impressive and active volcanoes; these water and volcanic resources have had an enormous effect on its human history. The country has about 40 volcanoes, a half dozen of which are usually active at any time. Running parallel to the Pacific shore, Nicaragua’s volcanoes are a part of the Ring of Fire that encompasses most of the western coast of the Americas, the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, Japan, and Indonesia.

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Experience Baths National Park, BVI

Virgin Gorda’s Baths National Park is one of the most famous sights in the British Virgin Islands. The Baths are a landscape of building-size boulders, clear saltwater grottoes, and powder-white beaches. There are endless pools for exploring, swimming, and snorkeling. The park is a playground, where even grown-ups are tempted to climb over and around, looking for a quiet pool or hidden room.

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Featured Travel Guide

Moon Guides Author Spotlight

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman has always viewed growing up in Northern California as both a blessing and curse. There is so much to see, do, and experience all within a short drive—from broad sequoias in the Sierras to ancient lava beds north of Mount Shasta, from creaky Gold Rush towns to the pampering Wine Country—that she began to wonder why anyone would ever leave.

Elizabeth was eventually lured out of the Golden State to Alaska’s far north, where she traveled the Inside Passage, baked bread under the midnight sun in Denali National Park, and chronicled the state’s burgeoning sustainable agriculture for Alaska Magazine. These adventures culminated in penning the travel guide InsightGuides: Alaska.

But Elizabeth knew her California roots were too deep to stay away for long. Raised in Carmel, where her great-great grandmother opened the first restaurant (a soup kitchen with dirt floors!) at the turn of the 20th century, she would always call California home. So she returned and devoted herself to writing about the state she loves most. Her work has included the travel guides SmartGuide: San Francisco and InsightGuides: San Francisco, as well as reporting on food and sustainable agriculture for local publications.

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman is the author of several Moon travel guides, including Moon California and Moon Napa & Sonoma.