Menu
Arizona / USA

Top 5 nature experiences in Arizona

Red cliffs surround the rugged landscape as you drive the straight, wide and desolate roads of Northern Arizona. Arizona is the American Southwest personified. Colorful and magnificent, the state offers one of the world's coolest desert landscapes with ravines, cacti and endless expanses. We have driven in Arizona on several occasions and each time we have found some new place that we have never heard of, but which is usually both ancient and deserted. Here are our five favorite places in Arizona that are both picturesque and unforgettable.

Grand Canyon - Arizona - USA
Grand Canyon

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK

The Grand Canyon is not really a canyon, but 750 canyons (ravines) that stretch closer to 50 miles through the barren landscape. Most of the five million annual visitors come to the southern Grand Canyon, where the classic views of the landscape are showcased with well-groomed hiking trails and luxury wilderness lodges. The northern Grand Canyon is wilder and more difficult to access, while the western part with its skywalk (where you walk on a glass veranda over the gorge) offers a slightly more customized experience. Whether you're white-water rafting the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, helicopter flying over the cliff edges, or standing and carefully peering down at the South Grand Canyon, you'll be equally dumbfounded and overwhelmed. The Grand Canyon leaves no one untouched. You can have as high an expectation as you like - the Grand Canyon delivers. Best of all is the Grand Canyon at sunset, find the perfect spot after the edge of the cliff and sit back and enjoy the show.

Information about weather, roads and hiking trails can be found at National Park Service. Keep in mind that during the summer months there may be queues along the road to the national park and that you may have to queue for a parking space near the gorge.

Read more about the Grand Canyon in Grand Canyon - The National Park in my heart.

National Park Service Grand Canyon
Northwest corner of Arizona, on the border of Utah and Nevada

Monument Valley Arizona
Monument Valley in Arizona

MONUMENT VALLEY

In the flat red sand desert, fiery yellow and red mesas (plateau mountains) suddenly appear like hatless mushrooms. Everything feels familiar thanks to the old western movies that have depicted Monument Valley over the years, but the colors and desolation are deeper than any image can ever capture. Monument Valley is located in northern Arizona, on the border with Utah and the only road that takes you through the area is US 163. The highway goes through Monument Pass and through Navajo territory. Most of the area can be accessed from the road, but some beautiful parts can only be reached from inside the Navajo Tribal Park (entrance).

Read: more about Monument Valley in Monument Valley – Iconic landscape of the Navajo Nation.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Route 163, between Kayenta and Mexican Hat - right on the Utah border

Petrified Forest National Park Arizona

PETRIFIED FOREST NATIONAL PARK

Imagine a vast tropical forest millions of years ago, with dinosaurs grazing in the greenery. A volcanic eruption occurs, covering the greenery and animals in ash. Buried in the sediment, fossils form and the trees petrify. Today, the Petrified Forest National Park is one of the most impressive collections of fossils in the world and with the erosion, new fossils are discovered every year.

Painted desert is a well-descriptive name for the area there Petrified forest national park is located. In a landscape that appears to be painted with watercolor stripes, you'll find both fantastic hiking trails in an alien landscape and large petrified trees. Through chemical reactions with quartz and minerals, the 60-million-year-old tree trunks have turned into rainbow-colored stones over the millennia. Don't miss hiking Painted Desert Rim Trail (2 km), Blue Mesa (2 km) and Giant Logs (0,5 km). It may not sound like a lot of trouble to hike 2 km, but during the heat of summer it can be unbearably hot - so bring plenty of water.

Read more about Petrified Forest National park in Petrified Forest – The petrified forest in the striped desert

National Park Service Petrified Forest
North entrance on Interstate 40 South entrance on Highway 180 above Holbrook

Saguaro National Park outside of Tucson, Arizona
Saguaro National Park

SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK

Arizona's state flower, the saguaro cactus, is America's largest cactus and a truly classic background for a riding cowboy. Saguaros grow slowly and can be very old, some of the largest specimens alive today are estimated to be over 200 years old. But slow growing also means that the large specimens of the cactus are becoming fewer and fewer. IN Saguaro National Park outside of Tucson you will find a large and prosperous area of ​​impressive Saguaros. Here there are nice hiking trails for all ages, both simpler "training trails" and tougher, serious hiking trails up in the mountains. The park is most beautiful from horseback at sunset, when the cacti cast long shadows over the thorny bushes.

Read more about the national park in Saguaro National Park – Giant cacti in the Arizona desert

National Park Service Saguaro

Divided into two parts, on each side of Tucson. East Saguaro (Rincon Mountain District) and West Saguaro (Tucson Mountain District).

Meteor Crater Arizona
Meteor crater

METEOR CRATER

50.000 years ago, a large iron meteorite collided with the earth in Arizona. The blast was huge, estimated to be 150 times more powerful than an atomic bomb, and left behind a giant crater 1,2 kilometers in diameter. The shock wave killed most life for miles from the impact and a shower of rocks and boulders was hurled over the area. Today is Meteor crater on privately owned land and it is possible to visit the site by car. After being here, you understand the theory that a meteorite impact could actually have affected the Earth's climate and created the mass death of dinosaurs...

Meteor crater
Interstate 40, Exit 233. Winslow

Want to read more about Arizona?
About the blogger

Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 55 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel blog Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.

1 comment

  • Kajsa
    November 1, 2017 at 8: 25

    Really good facts! Big plus for you. Thanks to this site, I passed the "Facts about Arizona" course.

    Reply

write a comment