Existing Monuments

Browns Canyon National Monument
Mason Cummings
From Alaska to New York, national monuments can be found in every region of the United States. In total, there are more than 100 existing national monuments for you to explore.

These monuments exist because past presidents and lawmakers had the foresight to protect natural, cultural and historical treasures for future generations.

The Wilderness Society is working with local communities, members of Congress and the presidential administration to see more special places protected as national monuments. 

Take a photographic tour of some of America's national monuments: 

Here is a list of the current national monuments:


  • Russel Cave National Monument is the third largest mapped cave in Alabama.  Its exceptionally large main entrance was used for shelter by prehistoric Indians from the earliest known human settlement in the southeastern United States, through to European colonization. 


Photos: Misty Fjords National Monument, by Mark byzewski, flickr

  • Admiralty Island National Monument boasts abundant wildlife including: brown bear, bald eagles, many species of salmon, whales and deer. It has more brown bears than the entire lower 48 states, and one of the highest densities of bald eagles in the world.
  • The Aniakchak National Monument is centered on the 6 mile diameter crater at the summit of Mount Aniakchak, which formed during a caldera collapse event about 1645 BC. The only way to reach the monument is by boat or plane.
  • Cape Krusenstern National Monument is a coastal plain containing large lagoons and rolling hills of limestone. The bluffs record thousands of years of change in the shorelines of the Chukchi Sea, as well as evidence of some 9,000 years of human habitation.
  • Misty Fjords National Monument is called "The Yosemite of the North" for its similar topography and geology. Many of the glacial valleys (fjords) are filled with sea water and are called "canals.” The walls of these valleys are near vertical and often 2,000 to 3,000 feet high. 
  • The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is a U.S. national monument honoring several aspects of American engagement in World War II. It encompasses 9 sites in 3 states (Alaska, California and Hawaii). The USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii is one of the three shipwrecks encompassed by, but not under the jurisdiction of, this national monument.

American Samoa

  • Rose Atoll Marine National Monument encompasses the Rose Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, and is a nesting site for rare species of petrels, shearwaters and terns. 


Photo: Ironwood National Monument, BLM

  • Agua Fria National Monument  contains numerous artifacts of cultural heritage. Over 450 distinct Native American structures have been recorded in the monument, some of large pueblos containing more than 100 rooms each.
  • Canyon de Chelly National Monument encompasses the floors and rims of the three major canyons: de Chelly, del Muerto, and Monument. It is one of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes of North America, and preserves the ruins of early indigenous tribes that lived in the area, including the Ancient Pueblo Peoples (also called Anasazi) and Navajo.   Photo: Canyon de Chelly National Monument, by Gabri_Micha, flickr
  • Casa Grande Ruins National Monument contains of the ruins of multiple structures surrounded by a compound wall constructed by the ancient people of the Hohokam period, who farmed the Gila Valley in the early 13th century. “Casa grande” is Spanish for “big house,” and refers to the largest pueblo structure on the site.       
  • Chiricahua National Monument is famous for its extensive vertical rock formations. Geologists believe that it preserves the remains of an immense volcanic eruption that shook the region some 27 million years ago.
  • Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is a remote area of open, undeveloped space. The name Parashant is derived from Paiute word Pawteh 'ee oasoasant, meaning "tanned elk hide," or "softening of the elk hide."
  • Hohokam Pima National Monument is an ancient Hohokam village within the Gila River Indian Community. The site is owned by the Gila River Indian Community, which has decided not to open the area to the public.
  • Ironwood Forest National Monument contains a significant concentration of Ironwood trees, along with two federally recognized endangered animal and plant species. More than 200 Hohokam and Paleo-Indian archaeological sites have been identified in the monument, dated between 600 and 1450.  
  • Montezuma Castle National Monument features well-preserved cliff-dwellings, built and used by the Pre-Columbian Sinagua people, northern cousins of the Hohokam, around 700 AD. Several Hopi clans periodically return to their former homes for religious ceremonies. When European Americans discovered them in the 1860s, they named them for the Aztec emperor (of Mexico) Montezuma II, due to mistaken beliefs that the emperor had been connected to their construction.  
  • Navajo National Monument preserves three of the most intact cliff dwellings of the ancestral puebloan people (Hisatsinom). The Navajo people who live here today call these ancient ones Anasazi.  
  • Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is the only place in the U.S. where the Organ Pipe Cactus grows wild. The park is also a designated UNESCBO biosphere reserve.
  • Pipe Spring National Monument is rich with American Indian, early explorer, and Mormon pioneer history. Pipe Springs was discovered and named by the 1858 Latter-day Saint missionary expedition to the Hopi mesas led by Jacob Hamblin.
  • Sonoran Desert National Monument is a desert ecosystem with a fantastic array of biodiversity. The Sonoran Desert National Monument is unique among monuments in that its establishing Proclamation specifically mentioned the impacts of livestock grazing on Monument "objects." 
  • Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument was created to protect Sunset Crater, a cinder cone within the San Francisco Volcanic Field. A one mile self-guided loop trail is located at the base of Sunset Crater but hiking to the summit is not permitted.  
  • Tonto National Monument protects well preserved cliff dwellings were occupied by the Salado culture during the 13th, 14th and early 15th centuries. It also serves as a home for native animals such as whitetail and mule deer, mountain lions, bobcats and three rattlesnake species.   
  • Tuzigoot National Monument preserves a 2 to 3 story pueblo ruin on the summit of a limestone and sandstone ridge just east of Clarkdale, Arizona, 120 feet above the Verde River floodplain. At this site, remains of pithouses can be seen as well as petroglyphs. 
  • Vermilion Cliffs National Monument features hundreds of layers of brilliantly colored rock strata that have been eroded over the course of millions of years. The site is also home to a multitude of endangered bird, mammal and fish species. Human settlements dating back 12,000 years, and hundreds of Native American pueblos are spread across Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. 
    Photo: Vermilon Cliffs National Monument, Bob Wick, BLM
  • Walnut Canyon National Monument protects 25 cliff dwelling rooms constructed by the Sinagua, a pre-Columbian cultural group that lived in Walnut Canyon from about 1100 to 1250 CE. The floor of the canyon is home to several species of walnut trees, for which the canyon is named.
  • Wupatki National Monument is rich in sites built by the Ancient Pueblo People, more specifically the Sinagua, Cohonina, and Kayenta Anasazi. The monument also contains ruins identified as a ball court, similar to the courts found in Meso-America and in the Hohokam ruins of southern Arizona. The site also contains a geological blowhole.


Image: San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by Brad Schelton

  • Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument stretches from the region around Lake Berryessa across remote sections of Cache Creek north to Snow Mountain. It is renowned locally for its outdoor recreation opportunities and abundant wildlife like tule elk, mountain lions and bald eagles. It contains habitat ranging from lush oak woodland to clear creeks and fields of wildflowers. 
  • Cabrillo National Monument commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542. This event marked the first time that a European expedition had set foot on what later became the West Coast of the United States. The area encompassed by the national monument includes various former military installations, a museum, a park and a lighthouse.
  • California Coastal National Monument ensures the protection of all islets, reefs and rock outcroppings from the coast of California to a distance of 12 nautical miles along the entire 840 mile long California coastline. The monument was expanded to include the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands in 2014.
  • Carrizo Plain National Monument is the largest single native grassland remaining in California. It includes Painted Rock in the Carrizo Plain Rock Art Discontiguous District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The site is home to 13 different species listed as endangered either by the state or federal government, the largest concentration of endangered species in California.
  • Castle Mountains National Monument protects habitat for golden eagles, bighorn sheep, bobcats, mule deer and other wildlife, in a landscape of native desert grasslands and rocky peaks. Joshua trees, pinion pine and juniper forests are permanently protected in the new monument, along with significant cultural features, including Native American archaeological sites and the remains of Hart, a short-lived gold mining town from the early 20th century. The area has also been identified as an ideal reintroduction site for pronghorn antelope, the second-fastest land mammal on earth.
  • Cesar E. Chavez National Monument encompasses the property that was home to César Chávez from the early 1970s until his death in 1993. The site also includes his gravesite and the headquarters of the United Farm Workers.
  • Devils Postpile National Monument protects Devils Postpile (an unusual columnar basalt formation) and Rainbow Falls, a waterfall on the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. The Monument was once part of Yosemite National Park, but discovery of gold in 1905 near Mammoth Lakes prompted a boundary change that left the Postpile on adjacent public land.
  • Fort Ord National Monument encompasses the site that used to be a U.S. Army post on Monterey Bay, which closed in 1994. When Fort Ord was converted to civilian use, space was set aside for the first nature reserve in the U.S. created for conservation of an insect, the endangered Smith's blue butterfly. Additional endangered species are found on Fort Ord including; Contra Costa goldfields and the threatened California Tiger Salamander.
  • Giant Sequoia National Monument is located in the southern Sierra Nevada. The monument protects 38 of the 39 Giant Sequoia groves that are located in the Sequoia National Forest, about half of the sequoia groves currently in existence, including one of the ten largest Giant Sequoias, the Boole Tree, which is 269 feet high with a base circumference of 112 feet. 
  • Lava Beds National Monument contains numerous lava tube caves, with twenty five having marked entrances and developed trails for public access and exploration. Lava Beds National Monument includes Petroglyph Point, one of the largest panels of Native American rock art in the U.S. The region is the of the Modoc people.
  • Mojave Trails National Monument bridges the area between Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve, protecting a stunning array of desert plant life and essential habitat for desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, eagles, falcons and a wide variety of reptiles. The monument includes 350,000 acres of previously designated wilderness, along with the Pisgah Lava Flow, Marble Mountain Fossil Beds and the most intact stretch of historic Route 66.
  • The Muir Woods National Monument is an old-growth coastal redwood forest. On January 9, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the land a national monument. The original suggested name of the monument was the Kent Monument but Kent insisted the monument be named after naturalist John Muir, whose environmental campaigns helped to establish the National Park system. 
  • Sand to Snow National Monument encompasses a tract of land between Joshua Tree National Park and the San Bernardino National Forest that stretches from the Sonoran Desert floor to Southern California's tallest alpine peak, Mount San Gorgonio. It includes rivers, wetlands, desert landscapes and Joshua tree woodlands, not to mention 100,000 acres of existing wilderness. It’s also home to the headwaters of the Santa Ana—Southern California's longest river, as well as the headwaters of the Whitewater River and its accompanying wetlands—providing habitat for migrating birds, including yellow-breasted chat and vermilion flycatchers. Mule deer, mountain lions and black bears also roam this region.
  • The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument contains about half of the Angeles National Forest, protecting some 346,000 acres of wild land east of Los Angeles. The area is popular for outdoor recreation, but its proximity to urban areas makes it vulnerable to wear and tear, with limited staff and funding. National monument status was declared to help preserve the area and improve visitor services. ensuring the forest can continue to provide more than one-third of L.A. County’s drinking water and serve as a treatment for the region's obesity and diabetes crises.
  • Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument includes portions of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountain ranges, the northernmost ones of the Peninsular Ranges system. Many flora and fauna species within the national monument are state and federal listed threatened or endangered species, including the Peninsular Bighorn Sheep
  • The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is a U.S. national monument honoring several aspects of American engagement in World War II. It encompasses 9 sites in 3 states (Alaska, California and Hawaii). The USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii is one of the three shipwrecks encompassed by, but not under the jurisdiction of, this national monument.


Photo: Browns Canyon National Monument, by Mason Cummings. 

  • Browns Canyon National Monument was protected as an outdoor recreation mecca and one of Colorado’s most treasured landscapes in 2014. The area is well known for its section of the Arkansas River, which provides an ideal spot for whitewater rafting, fishing and hiking. This spectacular outdoor playground generates more than $55 million per year in economic activity for the local economy.
  • Canyons of the Ancients National Monument was proclaimed in order to preserve the largest concentration of archaeological sites in the United States, primarily Ancestral Puebloan ruins. As of 2005, over 6,000 individual archeological sites had been identified within the monument.
  • Chimney Rock of Chimney Rock National Monument itself is over 535 million years old and lies on San Juan National Forest land surrounded by the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. The Ancient Pueblo People site, designated on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, was a community inhabited between Durango and Pagosa Springs about 1,000 years ago with about 200 rooms.
  • Colorado National Monument features spectacular canyons, wildlife and recreation opportunities. Its feature attraction is Monument Canyon, which runs the width of the park, and includes rock formations such as Independence Monument, the Kissing Couple, and Coke Ovens. 
  • Dinosaur National Monument preserves fossils of dinosaurs including Allosaurus, Abydosaurus and various long-neck, long-tail sauropods. The dinosaur fossil beds were discovered in 1909 by Earl Douglass, a paleontologist working and collecting for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the dinosaur beds as Dinosaur National Monument in 1915.
  • Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is famous for the abundant and exceptionally preserved insect and plant fossils that are found in the mudstones and shales. The Petrified Forest, that is now one of the main attractions at the monument today, lost much of its mass due to collectors removing large amounts of petrified wood from the site. The park receives approximately 60,000 visitors a year, and is the site of ongoing paleontological investigations.
  • Hovenweep National Monument protects six village groups of the Ancient Pueblo, or Anasazi, people, and archaeological remains of hunter-gatherers from 8,000 to 6,000 B.C. until about AD 200. The name Hovenweep, means "deserted valley" in the Ute language.
  • Yucca House National Monument is a large, unexcavated Ancestral Puebloan archaeological site. Like other nearby Ancient Pueblo peoples, the Yucca House pueblo dwellers abandoned their homes, but because a major excavation has not been completed it is not known when, or if there is a relationship between these people and those of nearby pueblo settlements.

    Photo above, right: Colorado National Monument by Gregg Owens


  • First State National Monument protects the early colonial history of the U.S., the role of Delaware as the first state to ratify the Constitution and the history of Delaware to the present day.

District of Columbia

  • Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument marks the former headquarters of the National Woman’s Party, which fought to expand our democracy through ratification of the 19th Amendment.
  • President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers' Home National Monument is the home where U.S. President Lincoln and his family resided. Lincoln lived in the cottage June to November 1862 through 1864 and during the first summer living there, Lincoln drafted the preliminary draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. 


  • Castillo de San Marcos National Monument preserves the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S.  In honor of its Spanish heritage, Congress authorized renaming the fort as Castillo de San Marcos in 1942.
  • Fort Matanzas National Monument protects a 1740 Spanish fort called Fort Matanzas, and about 100 acres of salt marsh and barrier islands along the Matanzas River. Fort Matanzas was built to guard Matanzas Inlet, the southern mouth of the Matanzas River, which could be used as a rear entrance to the city of St. Augustine.


Photo: Fort Pulaski National Monument, by Matt Turner, flickr

  • Fort Frederica National Monument preserves the archaeological remnants of a fort and town built by James Oglethorpe between 1736 and 1748 to protect the southern boundary of the British colony of Georgia from Spanish raids.           
  • Fort Pulaski National Monument preserves Fort Pulaski, where in 1862 during the American Civil War, the Union Army successfully tested a rifled cannon, the success of which rendered brick fortifications obsolete.  Fort Pulaski was used in the filming of Robert Redford's movie The Conspirator as the site for the gallows used to hang Mary Surratt and others.
  • Ocmulgee National Monument preserves traces of over ten millennia of Southeastern Native American culture, including major earthworks built more than 1,000 years ago by the South Appalachian Mississippian culture. These include the Great Temple and other ceremonial mounds, a burial mound, and defensive trenches.


  • Honouliuli National Monument preserves the site of Hawaii's largest and longest-operating World War II-era internment camp for Japanese Americans and others. Monument status here memorializes a dark chapter in American history for the purpose of enlightening future generation.
  • Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is a World Heritage listed monument encompassing 140,000 square miles (an area larger than the country of Greece) of ocean waters, including ten islands and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, internationally recognized for both its cultural and natural values. The monument supports 7,000 species, one quarter of which are endemic. Prominent species include the threatened Green Sea Turtle, the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, the Laysan and Nihoa Finches and seabirds such as the Laysan Albatross.
  • The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is a U.S. national monument honoring several aspects of American engagement in World War II. It encompasses 9 sites in 3 states (Alaska, California and Hawaii). The USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii is one of the three shipwrecks encompassed by, but not under the jurisdiction of, this national monument.


Photo: Craters of the Moon National Monument by Bob Wick

  • Craters of the Moon National Monument protects one of the best-preserved flood basalt areas in the continental U.S. Geologists predict that this volcanic area will experience its next eruption some time in the next 900 years with the most likely period in the next 100 years.
  • Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument contains the largest concentration of Hagerman Horse fossils in North America. The monument is internationally significant because it protects the world's richest known fossil deposits from a time period called the late Pliocene epoch, 3.5 million years ago. These plants and animals represent the last glimpse of that time that existed before the Ice Age, and the earliest appearances of modern flora and fauna.


  • Pullman National Monument protects part of a former industrial neighborhood in Chicago and commemorates several key moments in African-American and labor history, including the formation of the first African-American labor union, which helped lead to the passage of the National Labor Relations Act and plant the seeds of the mid-20th century civil rights movement.


  • Effigy Mounds National Monument preserves more than 200 prehistoric mounds built by Native Americans including numerous effigy mounds shaped like animals, including bears and birds.


  • Poverty Point National Monument protects several earthworks and mounds built between 1650 and 700 BCE, during the Archaic period in the Americas by a group of Native Americans of the Poverty Point culture. The culture extended 100 miles (160 km) across the Mississippi Delta, and has been described as the largest and most complex Late Archaic earthwork occupation and ceremonial site yet found in North America.


  • Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument includes vital habitat for moose, bear, lynx and Atlantic salmon. These animals require large ranges to maintain viable populations, and the new monument will ensure a secure corridor for all wildlife moving between Baxter State Park and land owned by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Public Lands. It also protects important land for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation.


Photo: Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument by Ron Cogswell, flickr


  • Fort McHenry National Monument  is a coastal star-shaped fort best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy in Chesapeake Bay September 13-14, 1814. It was during the bombardment of the fort that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write The Star-Spangled Banner, the poem that would eventually become the national anthem of the U.S.
  • Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument commemorates the life of former slave Harriet Tubman, who became an activist in the Underground Railroad prior to the American Civil War. The national monument includes sites near Cambridge, Maryland in Dorchester County that were significant in Tubman's life. 


  • Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument was protected by President Obama in 2016, encompassing a series of underwater canyons and seamounts (inactive, submerged volcanoes jutting from the ocean floor) off the coast of Massachusetts. This marine monument, the first in the Atlantic Ocean, harbors a stunning array of life, including migrating whales, dozens of species of coral and some fish found nowhere else on earth.


  • Grand Portage National Monument preserves a vital center of fur trade activity and Anishinaabeg Ojibwe heritage. Volunteers and park staff at the monument dress in period attire. They staff the Kitchen, Canoe Warehouse and Great Hall in and around the Stockade, and explain and interpret what life was like at the trading fort at the turn of the 18th century. 
  • Pipestone National Monument protects catlinite, or "pipestone," has been traditionally used to make ceremonial pipes, vitally important to traditional Plains Indian religious practices. The quarries are sacred to the Dakota and Lakota tribes. Today only people of Native American ancestry are allowed to quarry the pipestone.


  • George Washington Carver National Monument, founded in 1943, was the first national monument dedicated to an African-American and first to a non-President. The site preserves of the boyhood home of George Washington Carver, as well as the 1881 Moses Carver house and the Carver cemetery. 


Photo: Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, by Bob Wick

  • Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument preserves the site of the June 25 and 26, 1876, Battle of Little Bighorn. It also serves as a memorial to those who fought in the battle: George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry and a combined Lakota-Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho force. Custer National Cemetery, on the battlefield, is part of the national monument.
  • Pompeys Pillar National Monument protects a rock formation pillar features an abundance of Native American petroglyphs, as well as the signature of William Clark, co-leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Clark's inscription is the only remaining physical evidence found along the route that was followed by the expedition.
  • Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument protects the Missouri Breaks of central Montana. Called "The Breaks" by locals, it is a series of badland areas characterized by rock outcroppings, steep bluffs and grassy plains.


Photo: Scott's Bluff National Monument by Matt Turner, flickr

  • Agate Fossil Beds National Monument largely consists of grass covered plains. he main features of the Monument are a valley of the Niobrara River, and the fossils found on Carnegie Hill and University Hill.
  • Homestead National Monument commemorates passage of the Homestead Act of 1862, which allowed any qualified person to claim up to 160 acres of federally owned land in exchange for five years of residence and the cultivation and improvement of the property. The national monument is four miles west of Beatrice, Gage County, Nebraska on a site that includes some of the first acres successfully claimed under the Homestead Act. 
  • Scotts Bluff National Monument an important 19th century landmark on the Oregon Trail and Mormon Trail. The monument is composed of five rock formations named Crown Rock, Dome Rock, Eagle Rock, Saddle Rock, and Sentinel Rock.


Photo: Basin and Range National Monument by Tyler Roemer, courtesy of Conservation Lands Foundation.

  • Basin and Range National Monument, in Southern Nevada, is beloved by Nevadans and visitors alike who crave opportunities to hike, camp, hunt, bike and rock-climb on its rugged contours. The area is renowned for its awe-inspiring landscapes and biodiversity, providing habitat for dozens of imperiled wildlife and plant species.

New Jersey

  • Statue of Liberty National Monument is a national monument comprising Liberty Island and Ellis Island. It includes the Statue of Liberty, given by France to the U.S. in celebration of friendship. Nearby Ellis Island was the first stop for millions of immigrants to the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The national monument recalls this period of massive immigration to the United States.

New Mexico

Photo: Organ Mountains National Monument, by Bob Wick

  • Aztec Ruins National Monument preserves ancestral Pueblo structures in southwestern New Mexico. The buildings date back to the 11th to 13th centuries, and the misnomer attributing them to the Aztec civilization can be traced back to early American settlers in the mid-19th century. The actual construction was by the ancestral Puebloans, the Anasazi.
  • Bandelier National Monument protects the homes and territory of the Ancestral Pueblo People. Most of the pueblo structures date to two eras, in total from 1150 to 1600 CE.
  • Capulin Volcano National Monument encompasses an extinct cinder cone volcano that is part of the Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field. A paved road spirals around the volcano and visitors can drive up to a parking lot at the rim. Hiking trails circle the rim as well as lead down into the mouth of the volcano.
  • El Malpais National Monument encompasses lava flows, cinder cones and other volcanic features. The area around El Malpais was used for resources, settlement, and travel by Oasisamerica cultures, Native Americans, and Spanish colonial and pioneer exploration. Archaeological sites remain in the park.
  • El Morro National Monument is located on an ancient east-west trail in western New Mexico. The remains of a mesa top pueblo are atop the promontory where between about 1275 to 1350 AD, up to 1500 people lived in this 875 room pueblo. The Spaniard explorers called it El Morro, meaning “The Headland.” The Zuni Indians call it A'ts'ina meaning “Place of writings on the rock.” Anglo-Americans called it Inscription Rock. Travelers left signatures, names, dates and stories of their treks. Many inscriptions can be seen today, some dating to the 17th century. Some petroglyphs and carvings were made by the Anasazi centuries before Europeans started making their mark. 
  • Fort Union National Monument preserves the second of three forts constructed on the site beginning in 1851, as well as the ruins of the third. Also visible is a network of ruts from the Mountain and Cimarron Branches of the old Santa Fe Trail.
  • Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, located in the Gila Wilderness (the nation’s first Wilderness Area), contains the ruins of interlinked cave dwellings built in five cliff alcoves by the Mogollon peoples. People of the Mogollon culture lived in these cliff dwellings from between 1275 and 1300 AD, which is the only location that contains Mogollon sites.
  • Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is renowned for its remarkable layers of volcanic rock and ash deposited by pyroclastic flow from a volcanic explosion within the Jemez Volcanic Field that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago. Over time, weathering and erosion of these layers has created canyons and tent rocks.
  • Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is a scenic stretch near Las Cruces including wildlands perfect for hiking, camping and hunting. This piece of Doña Ana County has long been prized for its rugged landscape, historical and archaeological sites and pockets of solitude, spread across thousands of acres encompassing the Organ, Sierra de las Uvas, Dona Ana and Potrillo Mountain Complexes. The region is considered a crown jewel of the southern Rockies.
  • Petroglyph National Monument protects a variety of cultural and natural resources including five volcanic cones, hundreds of archeological sites and an estimated 24,000 images carved by Ancestral Pueblo peoples and early Spanish settlers. These images are the cultural heritage of a people who have long since moved into other areas.
  • Prehistoric Trackways National Monument includes a major deposit of Paleozoic Era fossilized footprints in fossil mega-trackways of land animals, sea creatures, and insects. These are known as trace fossils or ichnofossils. There are also fossilized plants and petrified wood present. Much of the fossilized material originated during the Permian Period and is around 280 million years old.
  • Rio Grande del Norte National Monument includes two BLM recreation areas, a portion of the Rio Grande designated as a Wild and Scenic River, and the Red River Wild and Scenic River. The monument includes portions of the Taos Plateau volcanic field, cut by the gorges of the Rio Grande and the Rio San Antonio. 
  • Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument preserves archaeological artifacts of the earliest contact between Pueblo Indians and Spanish Colonials: the ruins of three mission churches, at Quarai, Abó, and Gran Quivira and the partially excavated pueblo of Las Humanas or, as it is known today, the Gran Quivira pueblo.
  • White Sands National Monument features massive wave-like dunes of gypsum sand, engulfing 275 square miles of desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dune field, along with the plants and animals that live here.

    Photo above, right: Rio Grande del Norte by BLM. New Mexico

New York

  • African Burial Ground National Monument preserves a site containing the remains of more than 400 Africans buried during the late 17th and 18th centuries in a portion of what was the largest colonial-era cemetery for people of African descent, some free, most enslaved. The memorial was dedicated in 2007 to commemorate the role of Africans and African Americans in colonial and federal New York City, and in United States history.
  • Castle Clinton National Monument encompasses America's first immigration station (predating Ellis Island), where more than 8 million people arrived in the U.S. from 1855 to 1890.
  • Fort Stanwix National Monument is historically significant for the successful American defense of the fortification in August 1777, a defense that proved a major factor in blunting a British invasion from Canada during the Saratoga campaign. The fort was also the site of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768. The current fort is a reconstruction of the historic Fort Stanwix.
  • Governors Island National Monument served as an outpost to protect New York City from sea attack between 1806 and 1811. The island’s two fortifications represent two examples of defensive structures in use from the Revolution to the American Civil War and played important roles in the War of 1812, the American Civil War, and World Wars I and II.
  • Statue of Liberty National Monument is a national monument comprising Liberty Island and Ellis Island. It includes the Statue of Liberty, given by France to the U.S. in celebration of friendship. Nearby Ellis Island was the first stop for millions of immigrants to the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The national monument recalls this period of massive immigration to the United States.
  • Stonewall National Monument is an icon of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) and American history. On June 28, 1969, police raided the bar, a regular hangout in Greenwich Village. This was a relatively common—if oppressive—tactic, but this time patrons fought back, triggering riots that lasted nearly a week. The riots, and the protests that followed, are considered a turning point in the gay rights and larger civil rights movements, a galvanizing moment for a community long neglected and forced to the margins of society.

Northern Marianas Islands

  • Marianas Trench Marine National Monument includes no dry land area, but protects 95,216 square miles of submerged lands and waters in various places in the Mariana Archipelago.


  • Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument recognizes Charles Young was born in 1864. He was the third African American graduate of West Point, the first black U.S. national park superintendent, the first African American military attaché, and the highest ranking black officer in the United States Army until his death in 1922. 


Photo: Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, BLM


  • Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument protects 86,774 acres of forest and grasslands at the junction of the Cascade Range and the Siskiyou Mountains in southwestern Oregon. The Cascade–Siskiyou National Monument is the first U.S. National monument set aside solely for the preservation of biodiversity. It has one of the most diverse ecosystems found in the Cascade Range. 
  • John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is known for its well-preserved layers of fossil plants and mammals that lived in the region between the late Eocene, about 44 million years ago, and the late Miocene, about 7 million years ago. The monument consists of three geographically separate units: Sheep Rock, Painted Hills, and Clarno.
  • Newberry National Monument protects the area around the Newberry Volcano. It includes 50,000 acres of lakes, lava flows, and spectacular geologic features in central Oregon.
  • Oregon Caves National Monument encompass caves formed due to rainwater from the ancient forest above dissolving the surrounding marble and created one of the world's few marble caves. The highly complex geology found on this monument contributes to the unusual and rare plants and animals found nowhere else but here. 
    Image: Oregon Caves National Monument by Oregon Caves National Monument

South Carolina

  • Fort Sumter National Monument preserves a masonry sea fort located in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. The fort is best known as the site upon which the shots which started the Civil War were fired, at the Battle of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861.

South Dakota

  • Jewel Cave National Monument contains Jewel Cave, currently the third longest cave in the world, with just over 166 miles of mapped passageways. Jewel Cave is named for its caverns lined with calcite crystals.


  • Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument protects a mesa covered in a lithic scatter carpet of flint, so thick you cannot walk without stepping on human generated flakes of Alibates flint.  The quarries were dug, by hand, 1,000 years ago. This area is protected by the U.S. National Park Service and can only be viewed by ranger-led guided tours, which must be made in advance.

  • Waco Mammoth National Monument, halfway between Dallas and Austin, contains fossilized remains of one of the largest known North American concentrations of Pleistocene mammoths—at least 24, most of which were infant or young mammoths that perished in a catastrophic flood while being protected by adult members of the herd.

U.S. Virgin Islands

  • Buck Island Reef National Monument protects Buck Island, a small, uninhabited, 176 acre island about 1.5 miles north of the northeast coast of Saint Croix, and its surrounding reefs. This monument features one of only three underwater trails in the U.S. 
  • Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument includes 12,708 acres of federal submerged lands within the 3 mile belt off Saint John, including Hurricane Hole and areas north and south of Saint John. This monuments protects a biodiverse and complex system of coral reefs.

U.S. Minor Outlying Islands

Photo: Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument by Kidd Pollock

  • Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument covers just over 490,000 square miles spanning areas to the far south and west of Hawaii: Kingman Reef, Palmyra Atoll, Howland Island, Baker Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, and Wake Island. The monument includes endemic trees, grasses, and birds adapted to life at the Equator; the rare sea turtles and whales and Hawaiian monk seals that visit Johnston Atoll; and high-quality coral reefs. The monument was expanded to its current size in 2014.
  • Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is a World Heritage listed monument encompassing 140,000 square miles (an area larger than the country of Greece) of ocean waters, including ten islands and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, internationally recognized for both its cultural and natural values. The monument supports 7,000 species, one quarter of which are endemic. Prominent species include the threatened Green Sea Turtle, the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, the Laysan and Nihoa Finches and seabirds such as the Laysan Albatross.


Photo: Natural Bridges National Monument, Jacob W. Frank

  • Cedar Breaks National Monument is a natural amphitheater comprised of eroded rock. It is renowned for its brilliant wildflowers, wildlife and badlands.
  • Dinosaur National Monument preserves fossils of dinosaurs including Allosaurus, Abydosaurus and various long-neck, long-tail sauropods. The dinosaur fossil beds were discovered in 1909 by Earl Douglass, a paleontologist working and collecting for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the dinosaur beds as Dinosaur National Monument in 1915.
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is comprised of three main regions: the Grand Staircase, the Kaiparowits Plateau, and the Canyons of the Escalante - all of which are administered by the Bureau of Land Management. This monument is renowned for its geological formations, numerous dinosaur fossils and remains of Fremont and ancestral Puebloan cultural history.
  • Hovenweep National Monument protects six village groups of the Ancient Pueblo, or Anasazi, people, and archaeological remains of hunter-gatherers from 8,000 to 6,000 B.C. until about AD 200. The name Hovenweep, means "deserted valley" in the Ute language.
  • Natural Bridges National Monument features the second largest natural bridge in the world, carved from the white Permian sandstone of the Cedar Mesa Formation that gives White Canyon its name. There are three bridges in the park - Kachina, Owachomo and Sipapu (the largest), which are all Hopi names.
  • Rainbow Bridge National Monument contains what is often referred to as the world’s highest natural bridge. Rainbow Bridge is one of the most accessible of the large arches of the world, as it can be reached by a two-hour boat ride on Lake Powell from either of two marinas near Page, Arizona, followed by a short mile-long walk from the National Park wharf in Bridge Canyon or by hiking several hours overland from a trailhead on the south side of Lake Powell.
  • Timpanogos Cave National Monument is a cave system in the Wasatch Mountains in American Fork Canyon. Many colorful cave features or speleothems can be seen. Among the most interesting are the helictites, which are like hollowed, twisted, spiraling straws of rock.


  • Booker T. Washington National Monument preserves portions of the 207 acre tobacco farm on which educator and leader Booker T. Washington was born into slavery on April 5, 1856. It provides interpretation of Washington's life and achievements, as well as interpretation of 1850s slavery and farming through the use of buildings, gardens, crafts and animals.
  • Fort Monroe National Monument protects what was once a military installation in Hampton, Virginia—at Old Point Comfort, the southern tip of the Virginia Peninsula. Within the 565 acres of Fort Monroe are 170 historic buildings and nearly 200 acres of natural resources, including 8 miles of waterfront, 3.2 miles of beaches on the Chesapeake Bay, 110 acres of submerged lands and 85 acres of wetlands.
  • George Washington Birthplace National Monument protects the residence where George Washington was born on February 22, 1732. He lived here until age three, returning later as a teenager. At the entrance to the grounds is a Memorial Shaft obelisk of Vermont marble, which is a one-tenth scale replica of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. The site is representative of 18th century Virginia tobacco farms.



Photo: San Juan Islands National Monument by BLM, Oregon

  • Hanford Reach National Monument was created in 2000, mostly from the former security buffer surrounding the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The area has been untouched by development or agriculture since 1943.
  • Mount St. Helens National Monument includes the area around Mount St. Helens. It was established in 1982 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan following the 1980 eruption. The 110,000 acre National Volcanic Monument was set-aside for research, recreation, and education. Inside the Monument, the environment is left to respond naturally to the disturbance.
  • San Juan Islands National Monument is located in the Puget Sound area in the state of Washington. The monument protects archaeological sites of the Coast Salish people, lighthouses and relics of early European American settlers in the Pacific Northwest, and biodiversity of the island life in the region.


Photo: Devils Tower National Monument, Ashtropy, flickr

  • Devils Tower National Monument encompasses an igneous intrusion or laccolith in the Black Hills in southeastern Wyoming. The site is considered sacred to the Lakota and other tribes that have a connection to the area. Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest traditional crack climbing areas in North America.
  • Fossil Butte National Monument protects an extraordinary assemblage of Eocene Epoch (56 to 34 million years ago) animal and plant fossils. This site contains the best paleontological record of Tertiary aquatic communities in North America and possibly the world, within the 50-million-year-old Green River Formation — the ancient lake bed. Fossils preserved—including fish, alligators, bats, turtles, dog-sized horses, insects and many other species of plants and animals.


View an interactive map of national monuments below:

View larger map.


See also:

Related Content