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Arizona

Main attractions

Monument Valley, Arizona
Monument Valley / Wolfgang Staudt, / CC BY 2.0

Some of the world's most impressive sights are located in Arizona. This American state has such landmarks of world fame as Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. Highlights of Arizona are:

  • Canyons and cliff formations. Grand Canyon is by far the largest canyon not only in Arizona, but in whole America and one of most prominent natural landmarks in the world. But there are many more impressive canyons - some are wide and majestic, some - very narrow, dark. Arizona is very rich with amazing rock formations - hoodoos, colored cliffs, beautiful natural arches.
  • Ancient cliff dwellings. The majestic natural setting of Arizona and hostilities between the people of Arizona approximately one thousand years ago inspired unique design of settlements which were built in cliff overhangs.

Natural landmarks

Canyons

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon / Catron S., CC-BY-SA-3.0
  • Antelope Canyon - Coconino County. The most visited slot canyon, which provides numerous grand sights.
  • Deer Creek Canyon - Coconino County. Spectacular, narrow canyon in the side tributary of Grand Canyon.
  • Grand Canyon - Coconino and Mohave Counties. Possibly the most impressive canyon in the world. This 446 km long canyon is up to 1,800 m deep, with rugged, nearly vertical walls.
  • Havasu Canyon - Coconino County. Side canyon of the tributary of Grand Canyon. Havasu canyon is very spectacular due to light blue color of lime-rich spring water, what contrasts with the red color of cliffs. Frequent limestone terraces, large waterfalls.
  • Oak Creek Canyon - Coconino County. Enormous canyon - gorge, approximately 19 km long. Depth is up to 600 km.

Natural arches

Tségháhoodzání - Window Rock, Arizona
Tségháhoodzání - Window Rock / Donovan Shortey, / CC BY 2.0
  • Big Eye Natural arch - Apache County. Scenic, magnificent natural arch.
  • Eye of the Dove - Navajo County, Monument Valley. Unusual, double natural arch, each opening is 34 m wide.
  • Hope Arch - Apache County. One of most beautiful natural arches, 20 m wide and around 21 m tall.
  • Royal Arch - Apache County. One of most magnificent natural arches in the United States. Span is 23 m, height - 52 m, width of rock - 3.6 m.
  • Spectacles - Navajo County, Monument Valley. Two natural arches of similar size, resembling eyes in a giant skull.
  • Tonto Natural Bridge - Gila County. Possibly the largest natural bridge from travertine. Bridge represents 120 m long tunnel, up to 46 m wide and 56 m high.
  • Tségháhoodzání (Window Rock) - Apache County. Large cliff with enormous, circular hole in it.
  • Vultee Arch - Coconino County. Large natural arch with a span of 12 m.
  • Wrather Arch - Coconino County. Enormous natural arch, with a span of 75 m.

Other cliff formations

The Wave, Arizona
The Wave / Greg Mote, / CC BY 2.0
  • Chiricahua National Monument - Cochise County. Site with large number of spectacular vertical rock formations, including impressive balancing rocks.
  • Monument Valley - Apache and Navajo Counties and Utah. Monumental desert landscape with enormous, up to 300 m tall sandstone buttes. Numerous magnificent natural arches, rock stacks and other formations.
  • Spider Rock - Apache County. Spectacular rock needle, rising 229 m tall from the floor of Canyon de Chelly.
  • The Wave - Coconino County. Unusual sandstone formation with colourful, undulating forms.

Caves

  • Colossal Cave - Pima County. Large cave system, with a total length of explored passages at 5.6 km.
  • Falls Cave - Coconino County. One of the longest known caves in Arizona, length of passages - 4.876 km.
  • Grand Canyon Caverns - Coconino County. Giant cave rooms, some of the largest cave rooms in United States. Contain remnants of some extinct animals, e.g. ground sloth.
  • Lava River Cave - Coconino Country. Longest lava cave in Arizona, 1.21 km long.

Waterfalls

Deer Creek Fall, Arizona
Deer Creek Fall / davedlg, / CC BY 2.0
  • Beaver Falls - Coconino County. Group of tufa terraces in the deep Havasu canyon. Beautiful contrast of light blue water and red cliffs.
  • Cheyava Falls - Coconino County. Amazing waterfall, starting as a spring from the cave in the wall of side canyon of Grand Canyon. Total height is approximately 244 m, tallest drop is approximately 122 m tall. For most part of the year it is almost dry.
  • Deer Creek Fall - Coconino County. 46 m tall, spectacular waterfall. Here Deer Creek emerges from its slot canyon and falls directly into Grand Canyon.
  • Grand Falls - Coconino County. Enormous waterfall, 56 m tall and, at high water - more than 150 m wide. Muddy water flows over the falls. For most part of the year only small trickles fall, but at snowmelt and rain the sight here is spectacular.
  • Havasu Falls - Coconino County. Gorgeous, 37 m tall waterfall in narrow canyon of Havasu Creek. Water has unusual blue color what contrasts with the red color of cliffs. Below the falls are limestone terraces.
  • Mooney Falls - Coconino County. Approximately 58 m tall waterfall in Havasu canyon. Around the falls are interesting tufa formations, below the falls have formed terraces.
  • Thunder Spring - Powerful spring which starts as a 30 m tall waterfall in the rim of the side canyon of Grand Canyon.

Ecosystems

Saguaro National Park, United States
Saguaro National Park / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
  • Montezuma Well - Yavapai County. Large sinkhole, 112 m wide and 17 m deep. Fed by powerful springs, water has high level of dissolved arsenicum. In the sinkhole live at least five endemic organisms.
  • Saguaro National Park, West - Pima County. One of the best locations to see the unique saguaro cactus (Carnegia gigantea Britton & Rose) stands with thousands of these giant cacti. Biologically one of the most diverse deserts in the world.

Other natural landmarks

  • Giant Logs and Long Logs - Petrified Forest National Park, Navajo County. Some of the best examples of large petrified logs of Araucarioxylon arizonicum in varied colors from the Late Triassic period.
  • Meteor Crater – Navajo County. Visually the most impressive meteorite impact crater on Earth. Diameter of the crater is about 1,200 m, depth – 170 m. The outer side of the rim rises 45 m high above the surrounding plains. The bottom is covered with 210 – 240 m thick layer of rubble. Impact took place some 50,000 years ago.
  • San Jose de Sonoita cottonwood - Santa Cruz County. Largest known Fremont Cottonwood (Populus fremontii), with a circumference of 12.8 m, height - 28 m.
  • S P Crater - Coconino County. Well defined cinder cone with dark lava flow extending from it. This symmetric cone rises 250 m above surroundings.

Man made landmarks

Petroglyph sites

V-bar-V petroglyphs, Arizona
V-bar-V petroglyphs / Chanel Wheeler, / CC BY-SA 2.0

Arizona is very rich with petroglyph sites from different periods and among the countless petroglyphs many are very interesting - if one is keen and can imagine the way of life of indigenous people, these ancient drawings can tell surprising things.

  • Lyman Lake Petroglyphs - Apache Country. Petroglyph sites with very diverse cliff drawings from different periods - from 6000 BC to 1400 AD. Some specialists consider that part of the drawings are associated with shamanism.
  • Newspaper Rock - Apache County. Large number of petroglyphs etched on cliff wall by different ancient cultures. Most images show animals, humans, but there are numerous symbols as well.
  • Painted Rocks - Maricopa County. Group of boulders with hundreds of petroglyphs.
  • V-bar-V petroglyph site - Yavapai County. Large petroglyph site, with 1,032 petroglyphs, drawn in 1050 - 1400 AD in specific style, now called - Beaver Creek Rock Art Style.
  • White Tank Mountain petroglyphs - Maricopa County. Diverse petroglyphs etched in boulders, most likely by Hohokams. It is possible that one petroglyph depicts supernova which happened in 1006 AD.

Cliff dwellings

White House Ruins, Arizona
White House Ruins / Ronnie Macdonald, / CC BY 2.0
  • Antelope House - Apache County. Impressive ruins of Anasazi settlement under cliff overhang. Abandoned around 1260. Nearby was Tomb of Weaver which contained a mummified body of old man.
  • Betatakin - Coconino County. Abandoned Anasazi cliff dwelling, which once had up to 120 rooms for up to 125 people, now some 80 rooms remain. Located in spectacular cliff overhang.
  • Honanki cliff dwellings - Coconino County. Two pueblos in cliff overhangs, inhabited by Sinagua people in 1100 - 1300 AD. Numerous petroglyphs, even from 2000 BC, although most drawn by Sinagua people during the habitation period.
  • Kiet Seel Pueblo - Coconino County. Abandoned Anasazi cliff dwelling, occupied in 1250, abandoned around 1300 AD. Here lived up to 150 people. Contains circular tower, one of most prominent cliff dwellings in the United States. Located under cliff overhang.
  • Lower Cliff Dwelling and Upper Cliff Dwelling - Gila County. Two closely located cliff dwellings. Lower Cliff Dwelling has some 20 rooms, Upper Cliff Dwelling - 40 rooms. Inhabited around 1300 - 1450 AD.
  • Montezuma Castle - Yavapai County. Very well preserved cliff dwelling, built by Sinagua people around 700 AD and occupied until 1400 AD. Occasional religous ceremonies take place here up to this day. Access to the site requires long ladder or very good climbing skills.
  • Mummy Cave Ruins - Apache County. Anasazi settlement below cliff overhang. These two caves were inhabited in 300 - 1300 AD. Structures with some 80 rooms, three kivas. Includes a building with three floors, with colourful plaster preserved in inner rooms.
  • Palatki Pueblo - Coconino Country. Ruins of Sinagua settlement from 1100 - 1400 AD and rich finds of petroglyphs from 4000 BC - 1400 AD.
  • Sliding House - Apache County. Group of Anasazi buildings in improbable location - very steep grottoe under cliff overhang. Houses see, to be falling into the abyss. Inhabited around 900 - 1200 AD, originally had 30 - 50 rooms.
  • Tsʼah Biiʼ Kin (Inscription House) - Coconino County. Abandoned Anasazi settlement under majestic cliff overhang.
  • White House Ruins - Apache County. Ruins of Anasazi settlements under a rock overhang. Ruins of once large building with 80 rooms, which were inhabited in 1040 - 1275 AD. Numerous petroglyphs nearby.

Other prehistoric settlements

Agate House Pueblo, Arizona
Agate House Pueblo, built from petrified wood / Petrified Forest, / CC BY 2.0
  • Agate House Pueblo - Navajo County. Abandoned prehistoric settlement, almost exclusively built from petrified wood. Pueblo had eight rooms, inhabited in 900 - 1200 AD. Partly reconstructed.
  • Casa Malpais - Apache County. Abandoned Mogollan settlement with many interesting monuments. Inhabited around 1260 - 1400 AD, settlement contains Great Kiva and Solar Calendar - stone enclosure with opening toward the north and two more which show the winter and summer solstice as well as equinoxes. Petroglyphs nearby, also linked to Solar Calendar.
  • Kinishba Ruins - Gila County. Enormous pueblo, where the great house has some 600 rooms. Constructed in the 1100 - 1300s, housed up to 1500 people.
  • Pueblo Grande Ruin and Irrigation Sites - Maricopa county. Ancient settlement, inhabited in 450 - 1450 AD. Represents a large platform, which earlier had many houses, three ball courts.

Other archaeological monuments

  • Baboquivari Cave - Pima County. Sacred cave at the base of Tohono O'odham people, centre of their cosmology.
  • Lehner Mammoth-Kill Site - Cochise County. Place, where mammoths were killed by people of Clovis culture around 7,000 BC. There have been found bones of other extinct animals as well.

Contemporary settlements

Oraibi Pueblo, Arizona
Oraibi Pueblo / Grand Canyon National Park, / CC BY 2.0
  • Arcosanti - Yavapai County. Experimental town, which is built according to the principles of arcology - fusion of architecture and ecology. Construction of the unusual arched constructions started in 1970, now works have slowed down.
  • Oraibi - Navajo County. One of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements within the United States. Founded before 1100 AD. Stronghold of Hopi culture and traditions, with traditional architecture.

Churches

  • Mission San Xavier del Bac - Pima County. Ornate Franciscan mission, constructed in the late 18th century in Baroque stye. Very ornate, architecture and art unite European and local traditions.
  • San José de Tumacácori church - Santa Cruz County. Spanish Colonial church from the late 18th century. Mission established in 1691.

Bridges

Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, Arizona
Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge / Gordon Wrigley, / CC BY 2.0
  • Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge - Mohave County and Nevada, Clark County. Bridge with the widest concrete arch in Americas, length of span - 320 m. Total length of bridge 579 m. Bridge is built across Colorado Rover downstreams from the Hoover Dam, constructed in 2010.
  • Navajo Bridge - Coconino County. Two steel arch bridges across Grand Canyon, 254 and 277 m long, 140 m above the river. Constructed in 1929 and 1995.

Other man made landmarks

  • Hoover Dam - Mohave County and Nevada, Clark County. Comparatively old, enormous dam for hydropower station, with details in Art Deco style. Constructed in 1931 - 1936, 221 m high.
  • Large Binocular Telescope - Graham County. One of most sophisticated optical telescopes in the world, with two 8.4 m large mirrors. Built in 1996 - 2004.

List of described attractions

ArrowMeteor CraterImpact craters

Map of Arizona

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