Everyone knows about the Grand Canyon National Park, which is a natural marvel that you definitely need to see during one of your family vacations. However, there are many other fantastically beautiful canyons in America. If you plan to visit all the most fantastic canyons in the country with your family, your trip will have to span Texas, Utah, and Arizona. Here I gathered the best natural canyons in the United States.
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5 Most Beautiful Natural Canyons in the United States
1. Santa Elena Canyon, Texas
Located in the Big Bend National Park, Santa Elena Canyon is a place of spectacular beauty. You can access it easily, which makes it a popular destination for trips that range from overnight stays to three days. The walls of Santa Elena rise up to 1,500 feet, and the canyon allows you to see how the riparian ecosystem morphs into the desert one.
If the wealth and beauty of wildlife aren’t enough for you, the Rock Slide Class IV rapid will definitely make a lasting impression. The river flowing through Santa Elena is a great example of Mother Nature’s power and unpredictability.
2. Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Antelope Canyon is probably the second most well-known canyon in the US. That’s because it’s a fantastically picturesque place, seemingly made for photography. GettyImages is full of incredible shots that will leave you speechless. Seeing those will definitely give you a push to take an Antelope Canyon tour from Las Vegas. Those are affordable and allow you to see this fantastic beauty and take some memorable images of your own within a single day. Note that one can only access this canyon with a guided tour.
This canyon has two sections, ‘The Crack’, also known as Upper Antelope Canyon, and ‘The Corkscrew’ or Lower Antelope Canyon. The risk of flash flooding in the place is high, especially during the monsoon season. Therefore, you should time your visit for the driest part of the year and only go in with an experienced guide.
3. Bryce Canyon, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park is a truly unique place, as no other natural formation on the planet has as many hoodoos. Those are natural rock columns that occur in various rocky areas on Earth. Bryce Canyon is a place of dark breathtaking beauty that cannot leave a single heart untouched. The landscape is vast and colorful, full of unique geological peculiarities.
A trip to this canyon is a chance for your family to learn a lot about the natural wonders of the planet. And during the night, you’ll be able to enjoy one of the best views of the starry sky. Time you visit so you can participate in the Astronomy or Geology Annual Festivals. These events offer many learning opportunities as well as a chance to make new friends who also love nature.
4. The Wave, Arizona
The Wave is located near the border between Arizona and Utah. This place is beautiful but in such an alien way, it feels like you are on Mars instead of Earth.
Unfortunately, visiting this particular canyon is very difficult. You’ll need to take part in the lottery in order to get a permit because the formation is rather fragile and only a limited number of visitors are allowed in.
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5. Zion Canyon, Utah
The first national park in Utah, Zion is one of the most interesting places for wildlife lovers in the US. Here, you can admire magnificent sandstone cliffs that range from pink to deep red in color. The park offers great camping opportunities for families, so you will be able to enjoy exploring for a few days. This is where you can also find the iconic Angels Landing which is rated as one of the most unique hikes in the world. Do you want to know what angels landing is truly like? Click on the link to know more. Come here to learn about plants and animals, but be sure to check the flood warnings beforehand.
Be advised that several trails in Zion National Park are currently closed because of storm and stone fall damage that occurred in the summer of 2018.