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Share your thoughts and images of the West!

Check out upcoming contest topics, and submit your essay(s) or photo(s) for others to enjoy. Viewers can vote on their favorite essays and images, and entries with the most votes will be featured on the Web site, and earn consideration from our editorial and production staff for appearing in the magazine!

The West is not just about the varied terrain in which we live, but the collection of perspectives and realities of the people who occupy this inspiring land. Add your voice to High Country News – or enjoy those of other readers – and embrace your community of fellow people who care about the West.

finishedThis contest has ended.

The Natural West

Entries: (182)
Began: Feb 01, 2010
Ended: Mar 15, 2010

Check out these fantastic landscapes of the American West! Thanks to all participants who submitted and voted on these images.
(Read more ...)

Winning Entry

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

by Aaron Merritt — Photo I took of the Grand Prismatic Spring while visiting Yellowstone National Park.

by schnitzerphoto 177

Summer: Wyoming Prairie

A timeless summer afternoon in Wyoming's Shirley Basin

by gebodogs 132

A Prayer For Wild Things

Toulouse Geese have made a home where the hot springs flow in to the Big Horn River at Thermopolis, Wyoming. Surrounded by ice and snow they bask in the warmth from the natural hot springs.

by redrockhiker 63

Calico Hills, Red Rock Canyon

This place is only 17 miles west of the Las Vegas strip.

by redrockhiker 60

Bristlecone Pine

Bristlecone Pine, North Loop Trail (10,000 ft.) Mt. Charleston area, Las Vegas, NV

by JR 59

Summer Perfection

Sunset on the Grand Mesa

by MtnGoat 47

Fire in the Sky

Sunset on Glendo Resevoir, WY

by MtnGoat 44


Take at the Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix AZ

by MtnGoat 43

Wilson's Arch, Moab, UT

About 250 ATV miles taking pictures in some very remote places just to get this shot off the highway from the truck.

by rhpayne 42

Cabins on Ohio Pass Road

The weathered old cabins make for a stark and dramatic contrast with the fall foliage,

by lhiatt 41

Telluride Leaves

Water droplets collecting on Aspen leaves after a fall storm in Telluride, CO

by lhiatt 38

St. Elmo's Reflection

One of the many old cabins from the ghost town of St. Elmo, Colorado

by lhiatt 38

Lenticular Clouds

Lenticular Clouds near the Crazy Mountains during a Montana Summer

by chindi 30

Sand Dune Shades

An afternoon in Sand Dunes Nat. Park. Unforgettable light.

by rhpayne 29

Ferns & Aspen

This was along the road near Horse Ranch Park west of Kebler Pass. The light filtered through the fall aspen leaves on the now yellow ferns was captivating.

by LivB 27

Afternoon Siesta in Stanley Basin

A quarter mile outside of Stanley Idaho, on a sunny February afternoon, the local elk herd takes a break. Not bothered by the proximity of the town or the road, they pose for the occasional photo in their high meadow paradise.

by randers 25

Island In The Sky

Clouds Filling the Green River Canyon, UT

by knute 25


Carson Pass, California

by DRenwald 23

Snow Tree

Lone bison after a winter snowfall in Yellowstone National Park

by rhpayne 21

East River Near Gothic

At this point, the East River is but a mountain stream and presents an interesting contrast with the fall foliage, rocks, and the clouds in a blue sky.

by keith_breazeal 21

Gold Country Poppies

Poppies line the foothills in Amador County. The view was absolutley stunning.

by karin811 20


The Big Island of Hawaii in 2008 as she is expanding herself!

by GlennP 19

the wave

The wave is a compressed sandstone formation in the vermillion cliffs wilderness. Northern Arizona.

by jdr 19

Dancing Marmots

A pair of Hoary Marmots dance with joy in the summer wildflowers of Mt. Rainier National Park.

by Sam Camp of 19

Arches National Park

View of La Sal Mountains photo © Sam Camp

by Catherine Etherton 18


While photographing in the Crested Butte cemetery, my eye was drawn to this fox. She was quite aware of my presence and continued hunting the entire time I was working.

by jdr 18

Yellowstone Colors

The sun reflects in oddly named "Black Pool", in Yellowstone National park.

by mudpuppy 17

AZ Sunset

Preamble to a peaceful night in the tent.

by trb2dog 17

Badlands Bison

Lone bison in the South Dakota badlands.

by Greg Poschman 17


This bob cat waited for 3-4 hours for a hare to stir in the doorway of its hole. she was joined by her adult cub who shared the stake out and stole the prey. I photographed and filmed the entire successful hunt and you can see it here- or HCN can link to it if you prefer.

by LeeRad 16

Cedar Breaks Star Trails

The North Star stands in the center of this photograph while all other stars seem to swirl about it. At over 10,000 feet in elevation, Cedar Breaks is one of the greatest locations to view stars in the west.

by keith_breazeal 16

Wolf Moon

The full "Wolf" Moon rising above the snow covered California Sierra Nevada Mountains is always awesome, but the addition of the simultaneous brilliant red sunset than was reflecting off the snow, rocks, and trees was a bonus. The photo was taken on Hwy 88's Bear River Scenic Overlook in Amador County, California. Moon rise was just south of Lake Tahoe from this vantage point. What a view it was!

by mudpuppy 15
by peatland 15

Illuminated Old Growth

Lowland old growth forest (Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and western redcedar) along the Staircase Rapids Trail, Olympic National Park.

by karin811 15


Even thou its the rugged of the lava, the massive roar an clash of the Maui ocean there is still a Calmness at this spot!

by Mtnphoto 15

Morning at Moraine Lake.

This photo was taken at first light at Moraine Lake, Banff National Park Canada.

by dannerphotos 15

Sharing the Beauty

It takes All of us sharing to make it work.

by jeremylange 15

Crossing the tree line

The last of the larches before you cross the tree line and into the pure granite bowls of the Enchantments in the Washington Cascades.

by rlernst 14

Chiricahua Mountains

Sunset in the Chiricahua Mountains.

by LisaLouLou 14

Black Canyon Tree

Weathered tree on the north rim of the Black Canyon above the Gunnison River in Colorado.

by dhold2 14

Mule Deer at Sunset

These impressive trophy bucks were caught grazing south of Kiowa on the high plains of Elbert County before a spectacular Colorado sunset.

by wyophoto 14

Bull Moose in the Tetons

A mature bull moose browses at sunset near the Teton Range in winter.

by omerpearlman 14


A lone prairie sunflower stands tall in Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

by peatland 14

There is a Fungus Among Us!

This red mushroom was about the size of a U.S. quarter and had emerged from some very soggy ground. The cloverleaf-like plant adjacent and behind the mushroom is marsh cinquefoil, a rare plant in the Southern Rocky Mountains. The site was an uncommon fen (peatland) located on the western slope of the Indian Peaks, Colorado.

by karin811 14

Waimea Canyon

Hawaii's Grand Canyon, also has the wettest spot on earth! Averaging more than 426 inches of rain a year.

by LisaLouLou 13

Gunnison River in Black Canyon

View from the north rim of the Black Canyon looking west and down to the Gunnison River.

by reneede 13

Sparring Mustangs

Young Mustang Stallions engage in "practice" battles.....near Steens Mountain, Oregon

by RacerReady 12

After the Storm

North Face of the Grand Teton. Photo taken just after a thunderstorm from the shoulder of Mt. Moran on our attempt to climb the peak via the CMC route.

by lauriewhite 12
by marsh 12

Wild in the Pryors

Weanlings, Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, Montana, 8/2009

by movmedia 12

Evening in the Well of Souls

A tarn on the continental divide at Independence Pass at sunset. Storm on eastern slope.

by peatland 12

Morning Ambience of Western Larch

In the Northern Rocky Mountains and Eastern Cascades, the western larch (a deciduous conifer tree) provides us with beautiful autumn displays. This was taken in the Selkirk Mountains in northeastern Washington.

by DRenwald 12

Thermal Pool in Yellowstone

Taken 15 feet away from an extended monopod and self timer.

by daweva 12

Mush more than words

The annual Pinedale Classic Sled Dog Race is the howl of the town.

by devawolfe 12

Badwater Basin, Death Valley NP

Lowest place in North America (-282 ft) after unusually heavy spring rains flood the valley floor.

by lenstewart 11

Late afternoon juniper

Pollock Bench trail, McInnis Canyons NCA, Grand Junction, CO

by reneede 11


Young wild Mustang bachelor stallions near Steens Mountain, Oregon

by rlernst 10

Hallett Peak

Aspens beneath the peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.

by lydiajball 10
by LeeRad 10

Vision of Glacier

Layers of ancient sedimentary rock, stunted forest of subalpine fir, and magnificent snowcapped peaks give one something to reflect on at Glacier National Park.

by trb2dog 10

Sudden Gold.

Bigleaf maple leaves in autumn, northwestern California.

The topic: Do you have an image that reflects a quintessential example of the West's intrinsic natural beauty? Submit it here!

About submitting images: Entrants may submit up to three (3) photos for each photo contest, in JPEG, PNG and GIF file formats only; each image submitted may be no larger than 2 megabytes in size.

About voting on images: Instead of making you choose only one entry to vote for, we decided to allow viewers to vote positively for any entry they want to -- one vote per viewer, per image. But be careful - you can't undo your vote once you've clicked the "vote" button, so CHOOSE CAREFULLY!