Adventure

9 Of America’s Most Incredible Natural Wonders Are All In One State

Cheers for the good times Arizona.

Lately, it seems like every beautiful photograph or awe-inspiring rock formation seems to be hashtagged, geotagged or “TBT”-ed in the south-west state of Arizona — and there’s a good reason for that.

The USA’s wild, wild west has so much natural beauty it’s almost hard to know where to begin. From the unique red rock to the jutting cliffs and the dramatic sweeping canyons, Arizona has more wonder than you’ll know what to do with.

In fact, we reckon that you can find most of the country’s best natural wonders in Arizona alone (and maybe a little bit of Utah).

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Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness

With a look like a collection of endless waves, the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs are home to some of the most unique rock formations in the world. Only 20 people can visit per day, so you have to apply for a permit in advance or enter a daily lottery to win your shot. Like all good things, it’s worth putting in the hard yards to get access to this beauty.

Entry fee: If you snag a permit, it’s only a  $10 ($7USD) fee.

Photo: Bureau of Land Management/Flickr CC

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Slide Rock State Park

A state park with an all-natural slip ‘n’ slide is one we can really get behind. Once an apple orchard, Slide Rock State Park has been a favourite local swimming hole for years. It’s a perfect place to cool down in the steamy Arizona sun.

Entry fee: $26 ($20USD) per vehicle of 1-4 people.

Photo: Bill Morrow/Flickr CC

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Lake Powell

Another natural beauty straddling the border between Utah and Arizona, Lake Powell is an expansive body of water with bright red rock formations jutting dramatically out of the water. Don’t let the name fool you, though — it’s a man-made reservoir, not a lake. But you can still swim, splash and kayak around all the same.

You can access Lake Powell from Arizona or Utah.

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Grand Canyon

We don’t have to tell you that the mother of America’s natural beauty is a gigantic, colourful hole in the ground called the Grand Canyon. It’s a bucket-list item for a reason.

Entry fee: $20 ($15USD)

Photo: Wikipedia Creative Commons

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Havasu Falls

It may take a 16km trek to get there but, boy, is it worth it. Just up from the Colorado River, Havasu Falls is America’s best-kept secret. We think so anyway. 

Photo: The Bei Posti/Flickr CC

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Salt River Canyon Wilderness

Not too far from Phoenix, Salt River snakes through the tall, imposing cliffs of Tonto National Forest. It doesn’t cost a thing to visit but the drive there is quite challenging. Keep your wits about you, but make sure to look out the window, too.

Entry fee: $6.50 ($5USD)

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Monument Valley

Monument Valley encompasses the Navajo region that spills over from Arizona into Utah. In Monument Valley Navajo Trival Park, you can drive around and see the iconic Monument rock formation, including the “mittens” (pictured above).

Entry fee: $20 ($26AUD)

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Antelope Canyon

Here’s one you’ve no doubt drooled over on your social feed: Antelope Canyon is all smooth, wavy rocks, endless crevices and unstoppable red, purples and yellow. Located on Navajo land, you have to jump on a tour to check out this mindblowing slot canyon.

Entry/tour fee: approx. $60 ($45USD)

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Horseshoe Bend

While technically part of the Grand Canyon National park, Horseshoe Bend deserves a shout-out of its own. Only a few kilometres from the highway, it’s pretty easy to access.

(Lead image: Bureau of Land Management/Flickr CC)

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