See the US from new heights
Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts
Massachusetts’ Mohawk Trail is among the most picturesque of New England’s scenic drives. The historic route, which originated as an ancient path used by indigenous Americans, winds on for more than 60 miles (96.5km) east to west, taking in dinky roadside inns, state parks and quaint small towns as it goes. The trail is at its most beautiful in fall – here a hairpin bend along the road contrasts with the green, yellow and ocher foliage all around.
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska
San Francisco, California
People are fascinated by San Francisco’s steep slopes and windy roads, and the twists and turns of this particular street look even more pronounced from up high. Fondly nicknamed Crooked Street, this is a stretch of Lombard Street whose eight super-tight hairpin bends pose a big challenge for modern drivers. The street was initially built this way to allow early automobiles to travel down the steep hill safely.
South Beach, Miami, Florida
Route 66, California
Route 66 has been attracting travelers dreaming of the open road for decades. The road passes through buzzing cities, past kitsch roadside attractions and along quiet stretches of desert-hemmed highway. This portion of the Mother Road slices through California with stark desert unfolding on either side.
Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, Oregon
When it comes to the Pacific coastline, California usually gets all the attention but the section of Highway 101 in Oregon is equally as beautiful in parts. It boasts the same rocky headlands, golden-sand beaches and incredible ocean panoramas, with preserves such as Ecola State Park and Cape Blanco State Park along the way. This particular stretch of the highway is close to Oregon’s Port Orford.
Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone’s eye-popping Grand Prismatic Spring can truly be appreciated from up high. The wonder appears in rings of fiery orange, yellow, turquoise and teal – colors caused by the bacteria that exists in the water. It’s a whopping 370 feet (113m) in diameter too, making it one of the largest springs in the world. The Grand Prismatic Spring is in the park’s Midway Geyser Basin.
Los Angeles, California
Tallulah Gorge, Georgia
Hoffstadt Creek Bridge, Toutle, Washington
One of the tallest bridges in the USA’s Northwest, Hoffstadt Creek Bridge is an impressive feat of engineering. Rising some 370 feet (113m) above the ground, the bridge spans the eponymous Hoffstadt Creek and can be found along Washington’s Spirit Lake Memorial Highway. Here the imposing man-made structure contrasts with the whirling waters and green thickets below. Check out our round-up of the most impressive bridge in every state here.
Las Vegas, Nevada
The glittering lights of the Sin City strip look as dazzling from the sky as they do on the ground. This aerial vista shows the soaring Fountains of Bellagio, the yellow glow of Caesars Palace and Las Vegas’ very own Eiffel Tower.
Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Some six million acres make up Alaska’s Denali National Park which is named for the Denali peak, the tallest mountain in North America at more than 20,000 feet (6,000m) above sea level. Within the park’s expanse, there are alpine tundra, vast lakes, snow-blanketed peaks and wildlife such as grizzly bears, black bears, moose and caribou. This lofty shot shows the intricate crowns and crevices of some of the park’s highest bluffs.
Seven Mile Bridge, Florida Keys, Florida
The Seven Mile Bridge strings together Knights Key in the Middle Keys area and Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys. The bridge soars over the water, its gray expanse contrasting with the perfect blue-green sea on either side. While the open road grants gorgeous ocean views, the structure itself looks most impressive from above.
Cape May, New Jersey
Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, Kauai Island, Hawaii
The otherworldly shores of Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park are unlike those anywhere else in the United States. Splashed with popping orange and green, the ridged peaks of Nā Pali, on the island of Kauai, drop down towards sand beaches and a windswept ocean.
New York City, New York
The Big Apple is one of the world’s most photogenic cities with its teetering skyscrapers and sprawling Central Park. From above, Manhattan looks as fetching as ever, with the city’s so-called Green Lung contrasting with the concrete jungle around it. The Top of the Rock observation deck at the Rockefeller Center provides epic views of the city.
While often overlooked in favor of regions such as Napa, Temecula, a city 1.5 hours north of San Diego, is surrounded by beautiful wine country. Neat rows of vines carpet Temecula Valley’s hills and there are plenty of wineries to sample the region’s produce. Here, a hot air balloon ride is pictured taking in the landscape. Discover more of California’s wine regions here.
Akaka waterfall, Akaka Falls State Park, Hawaii
An impressive cascade on Hawaii Island, the Akaka waterfall can be found in the eponymous Akaka Falls State Park. The rugged park is nestled away in the northeast of the island and the dramatic falls, surrounded by dense forest, crash some 442 feet (135m) down into the gorge below. See more photos of impressive waterfalls from around the world here.
New England isn’t short of quaint small towns that come to life in the fall and one of them is Stowe, a dinky resort town in northern Vermont known for its skiing slopes and walking trails. Its defining feature is the white-washed Stowe Community Church, with its sloping roof and striking steeple. It’s seen here surrounded by orange trees as the golden season begins.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado
While it may seem surprising that this sandy expanse exists in the USA at all, you’ll find the jaw-dropping Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado. Seen here from above, the Sahara-like park, home to the tallest dunes in North America, draws campers, hikers, sand-boarders and stargazers from all over the state and beyond. Take a look at more places that you won’t believe are in the USA here.
Culebra, Puerto Rico
The US territory of Puerto Rico looks just as beautiful from above as it does on the ground and Culebra, a little isle off the east coast, is no exception. The popular yet sleepy island moves at a gloriously slow pace and is known for its palm-dotted sands, turquoise waters and wildlife-rich trails. Here, this little slice of paradise is seen from the clouds. Discover more American islands that aren’t in North America here.
Sangre de Cristo Mountains, near Santa Fe, New Mexico
Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, California
Monument Valley, Utah/Arizona
The coppery buttes of Monument Valley are synonymous with the southwest USA, as the Mars-like landscape seeps into both Arizona and Utah. US 63 offers a direct route into the red rockscape, 30,000 acres of which are protected as a Navajo Tribal Park. Here the otherworldly bluffs are captured from overhead.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park encompasses a great swathe of the Atlantic coastline, its rugged rocks lapped by waves and fringed by forestland. The park’s natural beauty, from its rocky headlands to its sand beaches, can be seen along the 158 miles (254km) of hiking trails.
Diamond Head, Oahu, Hawaii
Diamond Head on Hawaii’s island of Oahu is a 200,000-year-old volcanic crater whose outer slopes can be ascended via a rugged hiking trail. From the top of the trail, there are impressive views of Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital, as well as vistas of the Pacific Ocean.
Colorado has ski resort towns aplenty and one of them is pretty Breckenridge which is situated some 80 miles (128km) to the southwest of Denver. The scenic town could have been pulled straight from the Alps and though a sight to behold year-round, Breckenridge looks best with a dusting of snow.
Blue Ridge Mountains, Georgia
The mighty Blue Ridge Mountains sprawl over Southern states including Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia, where this stirring sunset panorama was snapped. Georgia’s Blue Ridge peaks also include Brasstown Bald, a 4,784-foot (1,458m) mountain and the highest point in all of the state. While beautiful the whole year through, the area looks particularly spectacular in the fall.
El Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan is Puerto Rico’s historic capital, known for its beautiful architecture and top-notch culinary scene. Among the city’s top attractions is El Morro (Castillo San Felipe del Morro), a hulking 16th-century fort that watches over the San Juan Bay. The imposing defensive structure is captured here from up high.
Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park, California
American Falls, Idaho
Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Hexagonal Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park looks pretty dramatic from above, as the fort’s lumbering gray walls contrast with the coral-filled waters all around. Dating to the 19th century, the fort is situated on Garden Key and can be reached via ferry or seaplane.
Sylvan Lake, Custer State Park, South Dakota
From twisting rock to glossy lakes, you needn’t look far to find an impressive view in South Dakota. One such vista is Sylvan Lake, tucked away in the Black Hills’ Custer State Park and captured from the sky in this image. The lake remains one of the most popular spots in the 71-acre preserve, drawing swimmers, kayakers and photographers alike. This is the most stunning state park in every state.
The city of Boston is best-known for its rich history but it’s not lacking in head-turning views either. This aerial shot takes in the city’s vast harbor, its waters dotted with boats and fringed by skyscrapers. From the air, you can also appreciate how green Massachusetts’ capital really is, with trees peeping from between the buildings and vast parks breaking up the glass and gray.
Niagara Falls, New York, USA/Ontario, Canada
Crater Lake, Oregon
This sapphire lake in southern Oregon is actually the deepest in the United States, with a total depth of 1,943 feet (592m). The lake exists within a dormant volcano and its still surface, surrounded by cliffs and old-growth forest, is interrupted only by Wizard Island, a cinder cone formed by volcanic eruptions. The vivid colors of this natural wonder are best admired from the sky. Take a look at more of America’s amazing lakes here.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is typically the second most-visited national park in America (second only to the Great Smoky Mountains) – and it’s not hard to see why. From up high, there’s the contrast between the canyon’s rust-red rocks and the deep blue Colorado River. Meanwhile, the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped bridge that juts 70 feet (21m) out over the canyon’s rim, provides dizzying views across the park.
Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington
Olympic National Park in Washington state is made up of old-growth rainforests, sandy beaches and craggy bluffs carpeted in green. One of the most famous spots in the park is Hurricane Ridge, a mountainous area popular with hikers and so-named for its gusty winds. This pocket of the park also offers fantastic views of the rest of the site.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA
One of the most recognizable landmarks in the USA, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge looks pretty spectacular from any angle. But when captured from above you can truly admire the sheer scale and ingenuity of the structure. Its towers rise to 746 feet (227m) and its orange-red expanse stretches right across the San Francisco Bay.
Afton State Park, Minnesota
One of America’s lesser-known wonders, the St Croix River runs along the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Leafy Afton State Park sits right on the river, protecting prairie land, woodland and even a swimming beach. Shot from overhead, this photograph shows the park in fall when a mottled forest contrasts with the blue river. Now take a look at the world’s most incredible photos from above.
Two Lovers Point, Guam
The most popular attraction in the US territory of Guam, Two Lovers Point is a dramatic coastal lookout spot, soaring to more than 300 feet (91m) and steeped in legend. It’s said that two young people who shared a forbidden love jumped to their deaths here as they were pursued by the girl’s father. This storied spot offers heart-pumping views of the ocean below.
Reflection Canyon, Utah
The state of Utah has a bounty of scenic vistas, from the jagged rocks of Bryce Canyon to the green peaks of Wasatch Mountain State Park up north. But one of the most impressive bird’s-eye views is of Reflection Canyon, a dramatic rock formation in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The canyon is remote, and therefore best seen from the air.
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