Anybody planning a vacation somewhere in the United States has a lot to consider when picking their destination(s). With a seemingly unending number of harbors, mountains, valleys, canyons, rivers and other festive attractions spread across thousands of miles, narrowing down your choices can be difficult. Five of the most amazing things to see in the Arizona desert and what makes these attractions such a good option.
Many people who love exploring the great outdoors and the vastness of the country head out west. With its wide-open spaces and majestic scenery, the western United States offers plenty of adventure for those who want to see it all. With plenty of natural and man-made attractions to consider, you’ll still likely have trouble narrowing down your choices.
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A frequent destination for those venturing into the great outdoors is the Desert Southwest. Encompassing states such as New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, and California, the sheer amount of exploration possible will seem limitless to many. Let’s take a look at five must-see attractions if you’re planning on visiting this part of the country.
5 Things to See in the Arizona Desert
The Desert Giants of Arizona
Easily one of the most impressive specimens of desert flora anywhere in the world, the deserts of Arizona are home to the giant cacti known as saguaros. It is in the dry, brushy plains of Arizona that you’ll encounter these mammoth cacti that seemingly bend the reality of what is possible in such an arid and water-deprived place.
The saguaro cactus can regularly reach heights of 30 feet when matured, but plenty continue to grow and even top out at over 50 feet. These towering monsters may be emblematic of the dry desert environment, but they aren’t lacking in water: a one foot section of a saguaro weighs anywhere from 75 – 100 pounds!
Amazingly, these cacti live for hundreds of years and actually grow at glacial rates (expect one foot of growth every decade on average).
The Grand Canyon
The second-most visited national park in the United States, the Grand Canyon says hello to nearly 6 million tourists every single year. There’s a reason for its dramatic number of visitors: the sheer scope and size of the canyon leaves its visitors in awe. While pictures of the national park are iconic, you cannot really experience the full majesty of its splendor until you are standing face-to-face with it.
One of the newest and most exhilarating features at the Grand Canyon is the Grand Canyon Skywalk, which features a glass bottom and juts out more than 70 feet from the edge of the cliff. There’s nothing but a sheet of glass separating you from 2000 feet of air and the canyon far below you: talk about a must-see!
Even though the Grand Canyon has several prime viewpoints where tourists gather, the actual canyon is huge: it measures almost 300 miles in length, meaning there is plenty of scenery to explore.
Recommended Read: Travel Guide to the Arizona Desert
If you love natural beauty, anthropology and architecture, then you’ll be at home when visiting Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. The ancient villages and land spans several miles and is home to the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America. For more than 1,000 years, Native Americans have called the village in Taos Pueblo home.
Tours are affordably priced (around $15 per person) and you’ll be able to explore, purchase and view the culture of this ancient community. Its multi-storied adobes really contrast with the scenic countryside surrounding this one-of-a-kind place.
Antelope Canyon In Arizona Desert
Arizona is at the epicenter of natural beauty in the Desert Southwest, so it should come as no surprise that yet another Arizona attraction makes it onto this list. The Antelope Canyon is situated inside the state of Arizona but actually located inside Navajo Nation. Many of the slot canyon’s features have been portrayed in ubiquitous photography and videography; you’ll likely recognize the picturesque light-painted walls.
With all-day tours available that canvass the interior and exterior of the broader canyon, you can make an entire day out of exploring and learning about the natural features found here. Be ready, however: both hiking and water will be necessary to explore the full extent of the canyon.
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Garden of the Gods In Arizona Desert
Tucked away in the mountains outside Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods is a 1300 acre spread of unique rock formations and canyons contrasting with the big, blue skies of Colorado.
From its three hundred foot tall rock formations to the natural history centers located in the park, Garden of the Gods is a hybrid of Desert Southwest’s beauty and the Rocky Mountains’ scale. With Jeep tours, biking trails and mountain climbing all facilitated on-site, you’ll be able to do more than just take in the beautiful views.
These five outdoor attractions are a testament to the beauty and awe-inspiring nature of the Desert Southwest. All throughout this region of the United States, beauty can be found. If, however, you want a high-quality sampling of what can be seen, then consider booking a trip to at least a few of these five great scenic selections.
What is your favorite thing to do in the Arizona Desert?
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