11 dazzling photos to inspire your next adventure in a national park

The U.S. National Parks are looking good at 100 years old.

For proof, look no further than the National Park Foundation’s Share the Experience Photo ContestThe agency announced the winners of the 15,000 amateur photography shots submitted in 2015 on Thursday.

The 11 winners are an excellent refresher on the beauty of the natural landscapes in the U.S.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Image: Yang Lu /  2015 share the experience photo contest

“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas,” said Yang Lu, who took this photo in Glen Canyon.

Mt. Whitney, Inyo National Forest

Image: Heather Martin / 2015 share the experience photo contest

Heather Martin told the National Park Foundation she got this shot as she and her brother were leaving after an attempt to summit Whitney.

“I turned around to take in one last view before we were engulfed by the trees, and the clouds had made it look like the mountain was floating,” she said.

Cedar Mesa

Image: David regala / 2015 share the experience photo contest

“It wasn’t until our 3rd or 4th visit that we discovered the secret to the exact time and season when refracted sunlight transforms the alcove into a stunning jewel,” said David Regala, who captured this stunning image in Utah.

Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study Area

Image: Steve Ancik / 2015 share the experience photo contest

“I took this photo at sunrise after driving 10 miles on rough dirt roads and hiking another three miles cross-country,” said Steve Ancik, who took this shot in New Mexico. “The skeleton was already there and it turned out to be a beautiful sunrise with lots of colors.”

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Image: Rebecca Wilks / 2015 share the experience photo contest

Rebecca Wilks took this shot in Utah. 

Death Valley National Park

Image: Sarah Gustafson / 2015 share the experience photo contest

“This was my first visit to Death Valley, and while I’d seen many photos of the salt flats before, I really never understood how big the formations were,” said Sarah Gustafson, who set this California shot up with a tripod.

Badlands National Park

Image: Erik Fremstad / 2015 share the experience photo contest

“The layers in the formations at Badlands National Park display roughly 75 million years of history,” said Erik Fremstad. The park is in South Dakota.

Joshua Tree National Park

Image: Koustubh Kulkarni / 2015 share the experience photo contest

“My wife first spotted the Big Horn sheep in the distance,” said Koustubh Kulkarni, who took this shot in Joshua Tree, in California. “Their perch could not have been better as it had a backdrop of the setting sun with the sky shaded in beautiful hues of orange, yellow, pink and blue.”

Saguaro National Park

Image: Brent Wauer / 2015 share the experience photo contest

“This exceptional insect with its stunning color pattern and complex life cycle reminds me of the fragility of life,” said Brent Wauer, who won the wildlife category with this photo taken in Arizona.

Yellowstone National Park

Image: Matthew Sorum / 2015 share the experience photo contest

“I wanted to get a photo of a large Bull Bison and I happened on this one high up in a mountain pass,” said Matthew Sorum, who told the National Park Foundation he has gotten into wildlife photography in the past two years. “Not only did I get the background I was looking for that captured the beauty of the environment we were in, I also captured the largest Bison I have ever seen.”

Virgin Islands National Park

Image: Kimberly Hall / 2015 share the experience photo contest

Kimberly Hall took this photo in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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