Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

News

USGS Photographic Archive Rules Your Eyes

Massive free collection gives a peek into the past

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.

I’ve often cruised across the vast open spaces of the west, wondering what it looked like without roads and before most of the people got there. Luckily, the U.S. Geological Survey gives me a peek into that past with their online archive.

The USGS Photographic Collection features over 38,000 photos dating from the 1870s on; some were taken by legends like W.H. Jackson, J.K. Hillers, and T. Moran. They’ll continue scanning their archives and adding on to these moments in time captured from an Old West long forgotten.

You’ve got plenty of soaring mountains and obscure passes, but the archives also feature some of the first recorded photos of places like Mount Rainier, Yellowstone, and other national parks. You’ll also be able to check out natives hunting caribou, homesteaders eking out a living from the land, and numerous hidden geological formations.

Best of all, the archive is keyword searchable, available at high resolutions, and totally free. If there’s a high schooler working on a history project about the Old West or geology, this’ll practically guarantee a better grade score. You’re welcome.

— Ted Alvarez

USGS Photographic Library

Via The Goat

How to Pack for Backcountry Skiing

Get to know the winter safety gear you need in your pack.

Keywords: