Maps: If National Parks Were Middle Earth

Artist Dan Bell's dreamy maps show British and American national parks as landscapes from J.R.R. Tolkien's books. We asked him to draw a few of our favorites.

With its wild landscapes and epic journeys, Lord of the Rings has captured our imaginations since we were kids. After all, who wouldn't want to tromp through the Shire, explore the vast Mirkwood, or delve into the Mines of Moria? (Well, OK, not that last one.) 

So artist Dan Bell's Middle Earth-inspired maps of American and European national parks caught our attention. We asked him to draw a few of our favorites, from Great Smoky Mountains to Zion. Check out the results above—just don't delve too greedily or too deep. (Having trouble reading the maps? Click the link in the caption to view an expanded version.)

Want to plan your own trip there and back again? Let us help you plan your next national park journey.

Like these maps? You can buy prints of any of these for yourself or the Lord of the Rings lover on your list on Dan Bell's site.