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Elemental forces of sky and earth still shape this stunning National Park. Wetlands in lower elevations of the park contain lush plant life and dense wildlife. As you move higher, the landscape gives way to evergreen forests and high mountain lakes. Topping out on the alpine tundra reveals a harsh land where life nestles close to the ground in one of the earth's most extreme environments.

The park features about 570 kilometers of hiking trails that lead to the park’s splendid backcountry of meadows, surging streams, waterfalls and some of the park’s 150 lakes. The Continental Divide Trail, one of the country’s most important long-distance treks spanning nearly 5,000 kilometers from the border of Canada to the border of Mexico, threads the park from north to south. Wildlife abounds, from elk, moose and bighorn sheep (the park’s unofficial emblem) to the elusive mountain lions, bears and coyotes, and different wildflowers bloom every month from May through July.

Aerial view of Asheville, North Carolina
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