Experience the Sounds of the Great Outdoors Inside

Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy the Natural Noises of Our Parks
Maddie EckerNPF Blog
Woman sits on a grey couch, with headphones on. Her eyes are closed. In the background is a small houseplant.
iStock / Delmaine Donson

Imagine that you’re standing in your favorite national park. Listen for the rustle of leaves in the breeze, the call and response of birds, the patter of a sudden rainstorm in the forest. The sounds of our natural world can be meditative, providing us with a soundtrack to soothe the soul. Even when you can’t explore a national park in person, there are ways to enjoy the sounds of nature from home. 

With PARKTRACKS, an innovative audio experience that lets you enjoy the soundscapes of some of your favorite national parks wherever you are, you can incorporate the peaceful sounds of our natural world into your meditation practice or daily reflection activity to better cope with everyday stressors.

The Milky Way illuminates the night sky over Crater Lake at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon.

The Milky Way over Crater Lake National Park, as captured by the National Park Service's Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division

NPS Photo / Jeremy M. White

Captured by the National Park Service’s Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division in partnership with the National Park Foundation, PARKTRACKS is just over 12 minutes long. Whether you want to spend just a few minutes meditating or choose to play the track on a loop throughout your daily routine, PARKTRACKS is an audio oasis that activates your senses.  

As you turn PARKTRACKS on, find a comfortable sitting position. Take note of your environment – the sounds, the smells, the feeling of the room you’re in. As you close your eyes, begin to take deep breaths. Before beginning your meditation practice, choose a few of the following questions to ponder and set an intention:  

  • What matters most to you? 

  • What would you like to build, create, or nurture in your life? 

  • What would you like to let go of? 

  • Who would you like to forgive in your life? 

  • How do you feel when you are your happiest self? 

  • What makes you proud? 

  • What word(s) would you like to align yourself with? 

  • What fears would you like to release? 

  • What are you grateful for? 

Keep in mind that there’s no such thing as perfect meditation. It’s okay if your mind wanders or if you lose focus. The way you practice meditation or take enjoyment in your mindfulness activity is up to you.  

Explore Other Auditory Park Experiences

A man with headphones on leans back from a desk, his eyes closed and he has a slight smile. In the background, slightly blurred, are large bookshelves.
iStock / fizkes

While PARKTRACKS is a curated audio experience, there are several recordings from specific parks thanks to Jacob Job, a researcher with Colorado State University and the NPS Natural Sounds & Night Skies Division.  

Establishing a morning meditation practice can be especially helpful to become fully aware and awake before launching into the rest of the day. 

A small red bird perches atop red and yellow blooms and green leaves.

‘Apapane spotted in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

NPS Photo

For an authentic morning meditation experience, listen to the dawn chorus of native and non-native birds at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Enjoy the birdsong of 'elepaio, 'ōma'o, 'amakihi, Japanese white-eye, Northern cardinal, house sparrow, and the red-billed leiothrix. 

Listen as the ice reacts to changing temperatures at Yellowstone Lake and the boreal chorus frogs croak a melodic tune in Yellowstone National Park. From the call of native birds to the bugle of elks, hear the array of natural and cultural noises at Rocky Mountain National Park

Within the comfort of your home, you can explore these sound libraries and enjoy different parts of our national parks. Immerse yourself in a symphony of wildlife sounds and allow your mind to wander. 

Ready? Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Connect with nature.

What does your meditation practice look like? Share how you unwind with us in the comments below and on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

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