Into the Great Outdoors

Let’s get outside and play!

Regional Finance celebrates 2024 — and our customers — with a new calendar exploring our nation’s natural beauty. Here are 12 months of National Parks from across the United States that highlight the diversity of this great land — from volcanic mountains to sand dunes, swamplands, and canyons.

Enjoy our “Into the Great Outdoors” calendar, our gift to you. And if it stirs daydreams of a special trip in your future, we’d love to help you make that dream come true.

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Featured Park of the Month: Big Bend

Lassen Volcanic National Park

California

Be a witness to geology in action! This park features Lassen Peak, which last erupted in 1915, and Bumpass Hell, 16 acres of mud pots, boiling springs, steam vents, and fumaroles.

  • Boiling Springs Lake’s cloudy greenish water constantly bubbles and fizzes.
  • A two-minute stroll from parking, you can witness one of the largest lava tubes in the world.
  • Remnants of Mount Teshima — a 600,000-year-old volcanic mountain that no longer exists — are some of the most beautiful features in the park.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Utah

The fascinating park landscape is not a canyon but features a collection of giant natural amphitheaters created by millions of years of wind and water erosion.

  • Bryce is known for unique hoodoos — tall, narrow shafts of pink and orange rock protruding from the desert floor, sometimes reaching the height of a ten-story building.
  • Rainbow Point is the highest point in the park (9,105 ft) located at the end of an 18-mile scenic drive.
  • It’s a popular winter destination for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing amid the snow-covered hoodoos.

White Sands National Park

New Mexico

One of the world’s natural wonders, the glistening white sands of New Mexico rise from the Tularosa Basin, creating the world’s largest gypsum sand dune field.

  • Wave-like dunes of gypsum sand cover 275 square miles of desert.
  • The powdery sand looks and acts like snow as visitors enjoy sledding down the slip face of dunes on waxed, plastic snow saucers.
  • The park preserves a major portion of the dune field and the plants and animals that live there.

Grand Canyon National Park

Arizona

Believed to be somewhere between five to six million years old, carved by the Colorado River, the mile-deep canyon reveals layer upon layer of our Earth’s history.

  • The canyon is 277 miles long and 18 miles wide, and the park is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, home to diverse ecosystems from ponderosa pine forests to desert habitats.
  • The Hopi Native American Tribe has deep cultural and spiritual ties to the canyon. They often hold ceremonies and rituals within the park.
  • Havasu Falls, located within the Havasupai Reservation, is known for its blue-green waters and is a popular spot for hikers.

Big Bend National Park

Texas

One of our largest national parks, Big Bend spans more than 800,000 acres of desert along the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • The Rio Grande River flows through the park, creating a riparian ecosystem.
  • Designated as a “Dark Sky Park” due to its remote location, you can witness a host of stars, planets, and the Milky Way.
  • The Chisos Mountains within the park offer hiking trails with cooler temps, lush vegetation, and excellent wildlife viewing.

Saguaro National Park

Arizona

Known for its iconic saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea), this diverse park is divided into two Sonoran Desert districts: the Tucson Mountain District to the west and the Rincon Mountain District to the east.

  • Saguaro cacti can grow up to 40 feet tall and live more than 150 years.
  • The park’s separate districts allow for diverse exploration of topography, landscapes, flora, and fauna.
  • The Hohokam, Tohono O’odham, and Apache people have lived in the region and lend to the park’s rich cultural history.

Great Smoky Mountains

North Carolina & Tennessee

Named for the mystical fog that hovers over the region containing the highest peaks east of the Mississippi, this is the most visited of the national parks.

  • The park is a biodiverse hotspot, home to more than 19,000 species of living organisms.
  • The park contains a significant portion of the Appalachian Trail that spans from Georgia to Maine.
  • It is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its preservation of the heritage of early European settlers and the Cherokee people.

Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana

Located on the southern shore of Lake Michigan and featuring iconic extensive sand dunes, the park contains unique geographic features, including the “Hoosier Slide,” a massive sand slide.

  • This is our country’s newest national park, designated in 2019.
  • The park is part of the Lake Michigan Flyway — a stopover for migratory birds and a favorite for birdwatchers.
  • Along with natural beauty, the park features cultural and historical sites relating to the area’s early European and industrial history.

Guadalupe National Park

Texas

Home to the highest peak in Texas (Guadalupe Peak), the park also features some of the world’s most noteworthy fossilized reefs formed 270 million years ago.

  • The park’s visitors center is housed in a historic stagecoach station.
  • The park features a diversity of ecosystems from the Chihuahuan Desert to the Guadalupe Mountains.
  • The park contains historic sites, including the Frijole Ranch.

Shenandoah National Park

Virginia

Known for stunning vistas of the Shenandoah Valley, the 200,000-acre park is traversed by the renowned Skyline Drive, a 105-mile scenic highway that stretches along the ridgeline the length of the park.

  • The park features more than 500 miles of hiking trails for all skill levels, including a portion of the Appalachian Trail.
  • Visitors share the park with 1,400 plant and animal species, including white-tailed deer and black bears.
  • The park is one of the most dog-friendly in the National Park system.

Congaree National Park

South Carolina

This park features an expansive floodplain ecosystem and old-growth forest, one of the oldest bottomland hardwood forests in the nation, with many trees more than 150 feet tall and hundreds of years old.

  • Famous for fireflies! The Photinus Carolinus firefly species exhibits a rare, synchronized flashing in late spring.
  • Boardwalk trails protect the environment while visitors explore the floodplain, stay dry, and walk out of reach of alligators.
  • Paddle through the park on the Congaree River by canoe or kayak.

Arches National Park

Utah

A red rock wonderland, the desert landscape features more than 2,000 natural stone arches, the result of erosion of Entrada and Navajo sandstone layers.

  • The world-renowned Delicate Arch stands alone in the landscape and is known as an icon of the American Southwest.
  • Other unique geological formations include fins, towers, spires, and balanced rocks perfect for photo ops.
  • Enjoy hiking and rock climbing for all skill levels, along with stargazing for celestial events in this International Dark Sky Park.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
White Sands National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
Big Bend National Park
Saguaro National Park
Great Smoky Mountains
Indiana Dunes National Park
Guadalupe National Park
Shenandoah National Park
Congaree National Park
Arches National Park

Follow us “Into the Great Outdoors.”

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We love finding new facts about the wonders of our National Park system. Follow us along a fascinating, picturesque trail of posts featuring the great outdoors.

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