The American Northwest: Vintage Color Photos From an Epic Road Trip
In August 1961, LIFE magazine published an ambitious, 10-page tribute to the American Northwest with an unfortunate title: "Where God Sat When He Made America." The title of the article, LIFE claimed, was inspired by a phrase uttered by an awe-struck visitor to Glacier National Park. Now, there's nothing unusual, cheesy or suspect about the deep emotions that grand vistas can inspire in most anyone. Teddy Roosevelt, after all, reportedly wept upon first seeing Yosemite Valley.
But the phrase "Where God Sat . . . " still feels a little weird. Would God, in anyone's conception of an omnipotent being, really be seated while creating a landscape as vast, dramatic and humbling as the Tetons. Or Mount Rainier. Or the Oregon coast? Wouldn't a Supreme Being feel compelled, by the very nature of the occasion, to stand while in the process of bringing forth such beauty?
At any rate—we've no such qualms or questions about the brilliant color photographs in this gallery, shot by long-time LIFE staffer J.R. Eyerman: we can state, unequivocally, that they're wonderful.
When he was a boy, Eyerman took thousands of pictures in Yellowstone, Glacier and other national parks while traveling and camping with his dad. Decades later, the professional photographer spent weeks in late 1960 traveling throughout Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and even as far south as San Francisco for the magazine's tribute to "the stunning majesty of the Northwest."
We hope you enjoy the view.
At a scenic overlook in Yosemite National Park, a couple sit in their convertible and talk over a map, California, 1960.
A car drives through forest in the Pacific Northwest, 1960.
A group of people, adults and children, gaze out across a lake at a scenic overlook in the Pacific Northwest, 1960.
Yosemite Valley, 1960
View of sculpted dinosaur figures and eggs, 1960.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge, 1960
View of sightseers and their parked cars at a scenic overlook, 1960.
Virginia City, Nevada
View of the former Fourth Ward School (left) (on C Street), 1960.
Yosemite National Park
At Yosemite National Park, four bucks gather to drink at the edge of the Merced Rover under the rock formations of El Capitan (far left) and North Dome (center, right) which rise above the unspoiled wilderness.
Blue Mountain Lake
Clouds reflected in a mountain lake in the Pacific Northwest, 1960.
For the rest of the photos, see the original article at Time.com.