Arizona boasts a very varied environment that is teeming with amazing natural treasures! Stunning valleys, breathtaking deserts, and motivating mountains are among the priceless and pristine specimens of the natural world. Hiking, discovering bodies of water, and taking in breathtaking sunsets may all be done during the day. This list has a few well-known names on it, but there are some even more unexpected entries! Discover all about the captivating natural elements that make Arizona such a captivating state!
1. Grand Canyon
That the Grand Canyon is on this list should come as no surprise! The Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is best experienced in person; images just cannot do it justice. With an average width of 10 miles and a length of 277 river miles, it is not surprising that this place is so popular with both locals and visitors. The fact that experts aren’t even positive of the canyon’s actual age may surprise you! Numerous pathways and observation spots allow you to get up close and personal with the magnificence of this treasure. The Grand Canyon produces its own weather, did you know that? This is because of the vast area and abrupt changes in height that affect precipitation and temperature. Depending on your location within the Grand Canyon, the weather can change significantly!
2. Antelope Canyon
Among all the slot canyons, Antelope Canyon is among the most well-known. It was formed over millions of years by erosion, primarily caused by flash floods. Upper Antelope and Lower Antelope are the two portions. Lower Antelope is referred to as “The Corkscrew,” while Upper Antelope is called “The Crack.” Because of the way the sun shines through the area, the majority of photographs you see of Antelope Canyon are of Upper Antelope. The Jurassic-era sandstone rock that it is carved into is what gives it its deep red and orange colors!
3. Monument Valley
Monument Valley, the 91,000-acre Navajo Tribal Park, is located on the border between Arizona and Utah. The enormous sandstone buttes are undoubtedly the park’s main attraction. They are about 7,000 feet above sea level, and park entrance is a nominal cost. Self-guided tours around the 17-mile dirt loop known as Valley Drive allow visitors to hike to Mitten Butte. The Trading Post at The View Hotel is home to a collection of silversmiths, potters, and weavers where you may buy artwork created with traditional Navajo techniques.
4. Horseshoe Bend
A gorgeous horseshoe-shaped curve is formed by a section of the Colorado River! An excellent illustration of an embedded meander is this geological phenomena. The region had a nearly level floodplain and was considerably closer to sea level about 6 million years ago! The vivid reds and oranges of the Navajo Sandstone, which is situated upriver from Grand Canyon National Park, draw a lot of tourists. Furthermore, the area has been inhabited by indigenous peoples for over 10,000 years! This Arizona curve lies near Page and is often referred to as the “east rim of the Grand Canyon.” You are free to explore the route all year long!
5. Havasu Falls
Want to visit a breathtaking waterfall that is only 98 feet outside of the Grand Canyon? The journey to this lonely area is well worth it, as the turquoise waters of the falls cascade over the red and orange rocks! Havasu Creek, which supplies the falls, contains dissolved magnesium and calcium carbonate, which is why the waters are so blue. Recall that reservations for lodging or campsites are required, in addition to a permission from the Havasupai Tribe, in order to enter. Additionally, swimming is permitted in the 5-foot-deep pool behind the falls as well as at their base. Behind the falls is a tiny rock shelter where you may unwind and take in the sound of the running water.
6. Sedona Red Rocks
You must see the stunning red rock cliffs that encircle Sedona! Red Rock State Park has these walls. The rocks were formed between 210 and 370 million years ago and are made up of nine distinct stone strata. Among them are:
Sandstone from Toroweap
Sandstone from Coconino
Sandstone from Supai
Limestone from Red Wall
Sunset is by far the greatest time to see the cliffs. The explanation is because the red rocks intensify the glow of the sunset, adding to the already amazing experience. Sedona is rich in Native American history and culture; the Paleo, Anasazi, Hohokam, and Sinagua people were among the earliest occupants.
7. Meteor Crater
Meteor Crater, also known as Barringer Meteor Crater, is situated between Flagstaff and Winslow on the Colorado Plateau. The crater left behind by this meteor struck the region approximately 50,000 years ago, measuring 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers) in diameter and roughly 600 feet (180 meters) deep. The asteroid itself was nearly completely destroyed upon impact, and the impact was comparable to a 10-megaton atomic bomb. Compared to other craters we’ve discovered and investigated, experts claim this one is exceptionally well-preserved. You can choose to go on a guided tour or a stroll along the crater rim on the self-guided trail.
8. Saguaro National Park
Did you know that Tucson, Arizona is home to the biggest cacti in the country? The Saguaro National Park can be found here! This 92,000-acre park, divided into two sections on either side of Tucson, is open for your inspection. Nor are there only cacti in this area. Along with pine and coniferous trees, a diverse array of plants and animals can be observed. It is home to 200 species of birds, 70 species of mammals, and a large number of reptiles. In addition to being a stunning location, the Tohono O’odham people still make summertime visits here to gather saguaro fruit. Most of the many hiking paths and beautiful drives start at the visitor’s center.
9. Petrified Forest National Park
Surprisingly, the Petrified Forest National Park is larger than one may imagine, spanning 146 square miles. Among the old buildings is a homestead from the 20th century. You can visit a number of displays to find out more about the history of the park. On December 8, 1906, Theodore Roosevelt established the Petrified Forest National Monument. On December 9, 1962, the monument was elevated to the status of a national park. Fossils of various plants and animals, including early dinosaurs, are abundant! Walking and taking beautiful drives are among the most popular things to do in this area. Because the remnants of this Late Triassic Period forest were buried for almost 200 million years under sedimentary and volcanic ash layers, they are petrified. Lack of oxygen causes wood to become preserved!