Skip to Content
Parent pages

Awe-Inspiring Images Capture the Wonder of National Parks


WASHINGTON – The National Park Foundation and partners are excited to announce the winners of the 2021 Share the Experience photo contest and launch the 2022 contest. The Share the Experience photo contest invites amateur photographers to submit their favorite views, moments, memories, and adventures from national parks and public lands across the United States, with safety top of mind.

View the collection of winning photos here.

“The winning photos capture the imagination and inspire wonder,” said Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “Congratulations to this year’s contest winners whose park experiences and captivating images invite people to connect with the natural beauty and history preserved in national parks.”

Nearly 11,000 photos were submitted to the contest which ran from June 17, 2021, through December 31, 2021.

Top Three Winners

  • The peaceful blue sky overlooks Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks as a rocky mountain peak seems to pierce the sky in this scenic photograph. This photo, captured by Karla Rivera, is the grand prize winner of the 2021 Share the Experience photo contest and will be featured on the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.
  • A photograph by Norman Lathrop of a sunlit creek surrounded by stunning greenery in Great Smoky Mountains National Park took second place.
  • Third place went to Christopher Neal for his photo of a breathtaking moment where he stopped on a wooden trail to capture the star filled sky illuminating a dimly light lighthouse in a quiet field at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The National Park Foundation is also excited to launch the 2022 Share the Experience photo contest with co-sponsor Booz Allen Hamilton, the contractor and partner for the platform. This year’s contest invites amateur photographers to submit their favorite recent shots, while continuing to keep safety top of mind.

"We at Booz Allen Hamilton celebrate the Share the Experience contest, and congratulate this year’s winners who so vividly captured the beauty of our national lands," said Julie McPherson, executive vice president, Booz Allen Hamilton. "Our firm’s hope is that ever more Americans will see these images and feel inspired to visit parks and make their own memories; when they do, the website and mobile app are there to make the experience all the more welcoming and accessible to everyone."

The grand prize for the winning image is $10,000, followed by $5,000 and $3,000 for second and third place. Winners also receive outdoor gear provided by Celestron and Hydro Flask, hotel vouchers courtesy of Historic Hotels of America®, and an annual National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.

Prizes will also be awarded for the following six categories:

Adventure & Recreation 

  • Share photos of your favorite activities and adventures highlighting the diversity of exhilarating moments that can be experienced on recreational lands and waters across the country – from fishing to hiking to interpretive tours and more. And be sure to #RecreateResponsibly!

Outdoors for All 

  • Featuring people, of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, who love to explore and experience recreational lands and waters. Share photos of family and friends that demonstrate how recreational lands and waters can be enjoyed by all.

Historical & Cultural 

  • From the homes of civil rights leaders to spaces that bore witness to national movements, to battlefields where people fought for freedom and more, this category spotlights the multifaceted and multicultural stories of the United States and the places that preserve them.

Scenic, Seasons & Landscapes

  • The scenic vistas, sweeping landscapes, and beautiful flora of recreational lands and waters can be found in far-off locales or closer to home than you think. Capture fall foliage, forests, winter wonderlands, flowers, mountains, deserts, canyons, lakes, seashores, rivers, and more.


  • Take a walk on the wild side with photos of the incredibly diverse array of animals that call recreational lands and waters home. Remember to keep your distance and stay safe!

Night Skies

  • Capture the magic of a night out under the stars. Slow the shutter speed down and see what develops!

The 2022 Share the Experience photo contest is hosted by the National Park Foundation and Booz Allen Hamilton in partnership with the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and Share the Experience is the official photo contest of America’s national parks and federal recreational lands and waters, showcasing the more than 500 million acres of federal lands and waters and drawing entries from across the United States. The 2022 contest is now open and accepting entries through December 31.

Please visit to learn more about the contest, including how to submit an image, the full list of prizing, and contest rules. You can also follow @NationalParkFoundation on Instagram for photo inspiration.

About the National Park Foundation

The National Park Foundation works to protect wildlife and park lands, preserve history and culture, educate and engage youth, and connect people everywhere to the wonder of parks. We do it in collaboration with the National Park Service, the park partner community, and with the generous support of donors, without whom our work would not be possible. Learn more at