What a glorious finish for tenacious Appalachian Trail hikers. Baxter Peak on Mount Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine, marks the northern end of the famed trail and is the site of many a celebratory photo. | 50 states, 50 spots: Natural wonders - CNN.com Better Things, Baxter States, Nature Wonder, North America, John Eldredge, Favorite Places, 50 States, States Parks, Knife Edging
Nothing defines Maryland quite so much as the Chesapeake Bay. With fishing, shipping, boating and tourism, the largest estuary in the United States has been the commercial and cultural lifeblood of the state for centuries. Witness the famous Maryland blue crab, a staple of menus -- and license plates -- across the Mid-Atlantic. | 50 states, 50 spots: Natural wonders - CNN.com
A very imposing peak Mount Rainier's ice-covered peak boils beneath the surface. When people think volcanoes, they often think of lava spilling over the Hawaiian Islands. Washington's Cascades, part of a range stretching from British Columbia to California, are home to a very different type of volcano. - 50 states, 50 spots: Natural wonders - CNN.com
West Virginia's Beartown State Park never really changes, and that's intentional. Its 107 acres have been minimally developed since its establishment more than 40 years ago -- created, in part, to memorialize a fallen soldier in the Vietnam War. The landscape includes strange rock formations, made up of Pottsville sandstone, which were deposited thousands of years ago at the shore of an ancient sea. Thanks to erosion, pathways now weave among the "town of rocks."
As the last ice age was ending, the winds blew finely ground soil into dunes along what is now the Missouri River. Dunes made of this "loess" soil (from the German for "loose") piled up over 200 feet in some parts of Iowa over thousands of years. Loess hills can be found elsewhere in the world but Iowa's are special: They're second only to China's in height. | 50 states, 50 spots: Natural wonders - CNN.com