A meteor flashes across the sky in Joshua Tree National Park, California.
Sunrise greets the John Moulton Barn, built by Mormon settlers in the 1890s, in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
A car trying to escape fast moving fog races down Mount Cadillac in Acadia National Park, Maine.
The first light of day falls on Mammoth Hot Spring in Yellowstone National Park.
A yellow-bellied marmot yawns while perched in a tree in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
A snow storm closes in around Mount Denali in Denali National Park, Alaska.
A female badger stay with her kits outside their in Slough Creek, Yellowstone National Park.
Simple times may be over for the National Parks. Shown here: El Capitan, a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, California.
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A tributary wraps around itself as it flows through Yellowstone National Park.
Steam from Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park drifts past the twisted forms of dead trees.
A female grizzly guides her three cubs through Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.
Gazing up at ancient trees in Redwood National Park, California
Members of the Paiute tribe, whose ancestors inhabited the area surrounding Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah for hundreds of years before the arrival of Europeans, claim that its tall, thin spires of rock known as hoodoos are ancient "Legend People" turned to stone.
Chilkoot Trail, a 33-mile stretch of land once traveled by gold prospectors, runs from through temperate rainforest between Dyea, Alaska, and Lake Bennett, British Columbia, in Klondike Gold Rush National Park.
Stars glitter above formations dating back more than 75 million years in Badlands National Park, South Dakota.
A coyote peers inquisitively over a snow drift in Yellowstone National Park.
The Milky Way rises over Crater Lake in Crater Lake National Park, Oregon.
A brown bear hunts for salmon in Silver Salmon Creek, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.
Visitors cast shadows on the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, at sunrise.
Grooves run through a dry riverbed of the Puerco River in Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona.
Light breaks through clouds in Zion National Park, Utah.
A stream wanders in an oxbow shape near Liberty Bell Mountain in North Cascades National Park, Oregon.
Minutes before sunset, light clings to Sentinel Rock, seen from Cook's Meadow in Yosemite National Park.
The Milky Way arcs over Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park.
Moonlight falls on Mount Hayden, seen from Imperial Point in Grand Canyon National Park.
A summer thunderstorm rolls through Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park.
A clearing storm transforms an overcast day into a dramatic sunset at Cape Royal on the north rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.
Visitors to Death Valley National Park in California walk along the edge of massive sand dunes.
Synchronous fireflies flash in harmony in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee.
Sun sets over Horseshoe Bend National Military Park in Arizona.
One hundred years ago today, President Woodrow Wilson signed the U.S. National Park Service into effect. As a new bureau of the Department of the Interior, its mission was two-part: to make America's natural heritage accessible to all and to preserve it for future generations. Then charged with protecting 35 national parks and monuments, the National Park Service now oversees 412 national parks and monuments spanning 84 million acres across the United States and its territories.
In honor of the centennial, our photo contest community submitted their best national parks shots, ranging from the sweeping sand dunes of California's Death Valley National Park to the star-studded skies of Crater Lake National Park in Oregon and snow-covered peaks of Denali National Park, Alaska. Browse more stunning images
here, and submit your own using the tag NPS100.