Here Are The Most Stunning Photos From The Smithsonian's Wilderness Forever Photo Contest.

In celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964 – an act that legally defined the term “wilderness” and gave protection to over 109 million acres of American land – the Smithsonian hosted the Wilderness Forever Photo Contest. Over 5,000 entries were submitted, documenting the beautiful landscapes and unique wildlife of this nation. Enjoy some of the amazing photos inspired by this contest below.

Red Fox, Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. 

Dee Ann Pederson

White Pocket, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona.

Richard Ansley

Mountain Goat Kids, Mount Evans Wilderness, Colorado.

Verdon Tomajko

Sunset Paddle, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota.

Dawn M. LaPointe

Aurora Ridge Trail, Sol Duc Valley, Olympic Wilderness, Washington.

Pablo McLoud


Alaska Range, Denali Wilderness, Alaska.

Tim Aiken

Milky Way over Second Beach, Olympic Wilderness, Washington.

Joe LeFevre

Bald Cypress Dome, Cypress Swamp, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness, Florida. 

Bill Lea

Whitney Moonrise, John Muir Wilderness, California.

Nolan Nitschke

Snowy Meadow, Mount Hood Wilderness, Oregon.

Jarrod Castaing

Yellow Poplar Trees, Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness, North Carolina.

Bill Lea


Keyhole on Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness, Colorado. 

Ethan Welty

Climbing the Summit Pyramid of Sahale Mountain, Stephen Mather Wilderness, Washington.

Ethan Welty

Lake Ann Reflection, Mount Baker Wilderness, Washington.

Ethan Welty

Fossil Cave, Lava Beds Wilderness, California.

David E. Bunnell

American Alligator, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness, Florida. 

Jenna Van Kley

Credit: Smithsonian

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