Travel

The 11 Most Breathtakingly Beautiful Photos Of National Parks

If this doesn't convince you, nothing will.

Sometimes we think we have to travel to the other side of the globe to see the world's most magnificent places. Well, there are tons of opportunities to experience some of the earth's most stunning scenery right here in the United States. Case in point:

Location: <a href="http://www.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/death-valley-national-park">Death Valley National Park<br /><br /><br /></a>
Location: Death Valley National Park


The National Park Foundation revealed the winners of its 2015 "Share the Experience" contest, which asks amateur photographers to submit images taken at any of the country's hundreds of national parks. If these images don't make you want to visit a National Park, then nothing will. We're packing our bags while viewing this dreamy gallery of animals and scenery that perfectly capture how beautiful this country truly is.

The big winner of the bunch, picked from over 15,000 submissions, is a sunset so beautiful and calming, we're almost at a loss for words. Taken at Glen Canyon National Recreational area in Utah by Yang Lu, the stunning shot did not come without a bit of hard work.

Location: <a href="http://www.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/glen-canyon-national-recreation-area">Glen Canyon National Recreation Area</a>
Location: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Lu, who wrote on the National Parks website that he takes photos in various places to "inspire people to explore these areas," explained just how much time, energy and water went into capturing the image.

“My wife and I took three gallons of water. We did not see anybody for two days. There is no trail; we depended on my research. I wanted to go in the winter when the temperature and water levels were low. The curves and those formations, I have never seen anywhere,” he wrote.

In another image, the "fan favorite winner," we are given an up close an personal view of a bull bison in Yellowstone National Park by Matthew Sorum. "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," Sorum wrote about the experience.

Location: <a href="http://www.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/yellowstone-national-park">Yellowstone National Park</a>
Location: Yellowstone National Park

Take a look at all 11 winners below, and head to the National Park Foundation to learn more.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Yang Lu, 2015 Share the Experience photo contest
Grand Prize Winner - Yang LuLocation: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Joshua Tree National Park, Koustubh Kulkarni 2015 Share The Experience photo contest
Second Place - Koustubh KulkarniLocation: Joshua Tree National Park
Death Valley National Park, Sarah Gustafson, 2015 Share The Experience photo contest
Third Place - Sarah GustafsonLocation: Death Valley National Park
Cedar Mesa, David Regala, 2015 Share The Experience photo contest
Historical & Cultural Winner - David RegalaLocation: Cedar Mesa
Virgin Islands National Park, Kimberly Hall, 2015 Share The Experience photo contest
Every Kid in a Park Winner - Kimberly HallLocation: Virgin Islands National Park
Yellowstone National Park, Matthew Sorum, 2015 Share The Experience photo contest
Fan Favorite Winner - Matthew SorumLocation: Yellowstone National Park
Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study Area, Steve Ancik, 2015 Share the Experience photo contest
Scenic, Seasons and Landscapes Winner - Steve AncikLocation: Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study Area
Badlands National Park, Erik Fremstad, 2015 Share the Experience photo contest
Night Skies Winner - Erik FremstadLocation: Badlands National Park
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Rebecca Wilks, 2015 Share the Experience photo contest
Adventure & Outdoor Recreation Winner - Rebecca WilksLocation: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Mt. Whitney, Inyo National Forest, Heather Martin, 2015 Share the Experience photo contest
Fan Favorite Winner - Heather MartinLocation: Mt. Whitney, Inyo National Forest
Brent Wauer
Wildlife Winner - Brent WauerLocation: Saguaro National Park
Ten Best U.S. National Parks