Natural Wonders of Arizona
If you want to experience the most beautiful places in Arizona, then check out the list below.
From the spectacular scenery of Grand Canyon National Park to unforgettable Monument Valley, you can't go wrong with a vacation that includes these stellar stops.
The Grand Canyon
It’s hard to imagine a trip to Arizona that doesn’t involve at least a visit to Grand Canyon National Park. This massive gorge isn’t just a geological marvel, it’s a symbol of Western adventure and American spirit. Visible from space, the canyon is close to 300 miles long and, at points, over a mile deep. One look over the edge and it’s easy to see why it’s considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.
Navajo Point Lookout, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park
Waterfalls of the Havasupai Reservation
Every year, thousands of tourists make the 11-mile hike to see the waterfalls of Havasu Canyon and the Havasupai Reservation. The blue-green water gets its color from limestone deposits known as travertine, and the falls make up a world-renowned site that, when first glanced, defy logic. Water in the desert is hard enough to grasp, but it’s the brilliant azure of the falls here that’s really surprising.
Starry Night Skies
Arizona averages less than eight inches of rainfall a year. That’s bad news if you want to go splash in puddles, but if you’re into checking out the stars this state can’t be beat. For a great show, time a trip with the annual Orionid meteor shower in October.
Star gazing in Flagstaff, Arizona
Walking through one of Arizona’s slot canyons is the closest thing a tourist can get to visiting another planet. The deep narrow trenches are formed by water that, over millennia, cuts through soft rock formations, usually sandstone or limestone. Because the paths are so narrow, they often channel narrow beams of ethereal light. While many of the canyons hide just off northern Arizona highways, some are on the Navajo Reservation and are inaccessible to the general public. Antelope Canyon is the state’s most popular. Schedule a tour to visit the canyon.
Hiking tour through Antelope Canyon
The red buttes protruding from the painted sand of Monument Valley look like memorials sculpted by a mythical goddess. The view of the three most iconic rock formations, seen above, is for many the visual definition of the American West. Monument Valley is part of the Four Corners region, where Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico meet — a semi-autonomous region of the Navajo, Hopi, Ute and Zuni reservations.
Breathtaking vista at Monument Valley
The Saguaro Cactus
The saguaro cactus is practically synonymous with Arizona deserts (in my opinion, their lack of representation on the state flag is a mystery). Large and slow growing, saguaros can reach up to 70 feet tall and may not sprout an arm until they’re a 100 years old. Many birds make their nests inside their tree-like trunks, and their fruits have been prized over the centuries by indigenous peoples. These cacti can be seen in one-of-a-kind Saguaro National Park.
Desert views at Saguaro National Park
Its red-rock mountains and cold creeks alone make Sedona a special place, but there’s something else at work… Nailing down exactly what a vortex is in this context can be pretty difficult. It’s an abstract concept you might tell yourself you "get" before you do, much in the same way you might tell yourself you "feel" it before you do. A vortex is simply a place where natural Earth energies are strong. Many believe Sedona’s vortexes have healing or spiritually activating powers that help with everything from health to general problem-solving abilities and clear-mindedness.
Pebble shrines at Buddha Beach – a vortex in Sedona, Arizona
The Arizona Strip and Vermillion Cliffs
Sandwiched between Utah and the Grand Canyon, the Arizona Strip is one of the state’s most remote regions. It’s hard to get to, but its natural wonders are well worth the trip. Home to a small population of California condors, the Arizona Strip is also famous for the Vermilion Cliffs, which appear like giant stairs leading up the Colorado Plateau.
The Wave at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
Take one look at the purples and oranges of an Arizona sunset, and little else can compare.
Marble Canyon, Arizona
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