8 Natural Wonders of Arizona that AREN’T The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon:
Grand Canyon National Park: Winter Sunrise from Historic District 8045
Beautiful, inspiring, world famous – it’s the number one attraction for visitors to the U.S. state of Arizona. While it’s an absolutely must see, many seem to forget that Arizona is also home to some of the most stunning natural formations in the country.  If you are planning a trip to see the Grand Canyon, consider working some of these other sites into your itinerary. They are more than worth the visit.

1. Monument Valley

Monument Valley from Above

Credit: Ralph Earlandson

Monument Valley, Arizona, USA

Credit: Michael Seljos

Jagged rocks, imposing buttes, and the red rocky desert will have you feeling like you’ve stepped right onto a grand set of your favorite western.

2. Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls

Credit: Peter Howe

Havasu Falls

Credit: Ryan Malone

Famous for the blueish green tint of the water that pools at the base of the falls, Havasu Falls is both an excellent photography spot and a great place to cool off in the hot Arizona summer.

3. Petrified Wood National Forest

Jasper Forest- Petrified Forest National Park

Credit: Andrew Kearns

Near old Highway 180 - Petrified Forest National Park

Take any walk around the landscape of this National Forest and you are bound to find pieces of petrified wood, fossils, and many other ancient clues to the the early formation of our planet.  Visitors can take roads throughout the entire park, or walk through the 100’s of footpaths open to the public.

4. Meteor Crater

Circling Meteor Crater

Credit: Mike Beauregard

 

inside Canyon Diablo meteor crater

Credit: Mike Beauregard

 

The result of a calamitous collision about 50,000 years ago, Meteor Crater (or Barringer Crater) is the best preserved impact crater in the world.  The crater size is immense: 570 feet of depth and almost 4000 feet in diameter.  It’s estimated the resultant explosion of the impact generated nearly 10 megatons of force.

5. Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon
Antelope canyon

Located just outside Page, Arizona, lies Antelope Canyon.  Referred to as a “slot” canyon in geographic terms, Antelope Canyon has become a favorite for photographers and nature lovers everywhere due to its incredible natural light and stunning colorization.

5. Montezuma Castle

Montezuma Castle

Credit: Jeff Stvan

Montezumas Castle

Credit: Rwarrin on Flickr

 

While technically putting it on this list is cheating (it’s not a fully natural formation), Montezuma has to be mentioned. One of the United States best preserved cliff dwellings, this 5 story structure was built in the 12th century by the ancient residents of Arizona. While built by man, it’s an incredible view into the relationship these residents had with nature, carving their very homes into the rock that surrounded them.

6. Canyon de Chelly National Monument

White House Trail 2

Credit: Fred Moore

Spider Rock Overlook

Canyon de Chelly is located in the Northeastern part of Arizona, square in the middle of the Navajo Reservation.  It features several one of a kind rock formations, including Spider Rock, a spire that rises nearly 750 feet into the Arizona sky.

7, Horseshoe Bend/Colorado River

Horseshoe Bend - Page Arizona

Credit: Al_HikesAZ

A New Day!

Credit: Mark Stevens

The entirety of the Colorado River is stunning, but one of it’s most visited and photographed sections is Horseshoe Bend, outside of the city of Page. They are many rafting expeditions that will take you some length of the Colorado river, if you have time I highly recommend taking one.

8, Devil’s Bridge Trail and Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock
Devil's Bridge

Two absolutely unique geographic landmarks near the town of Sedona.  Both can be reached by very pleasant day climbs, and let you experience the natural desert beauty of the area.

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