Landmarks of Arizona

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

Most interesting landmarks of Arizona

Below are listed the most amazing natural and man made landmarks of Arizona.

Natural landmarks of Arizona

Canyons

Grand Canyon, Arizona
Grand Canyon / Catron S., CC-BY-SA-3.0
  • Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon – Coconino County. The most visited slot canyon which provides numerous grand sights. Canon has two main sections.
  • Deer Creek Canyon – Coconino County. Spectacular, several hundred meters long slot canyon which ends in 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 and has 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. Numerous limestone terraces, large waterfalls.
  • Oak Creek Canyon – Coconino County. Enormous canyon – gorge, approximately 19 km long. Depth is up to 600 m.

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.
  • Ear of the Wind – Navajo County, Monument Valley. Very impressive natural arch in brownish-red sandstone. This is a pothole arch which is created by chemical weathering.
  • Eye of the Dove – Navajo County, Monument Valley. Unusual, double natural arch in Monument Valley. 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.
  • 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.
  • Vultee Arch – Coconino County. Large natural arch with a span of 12 m.
  • Window Rock (Tségháhoodzání) – Apache County. Large cliff with enormous, circular hole in it.
  • Wrather Arch – Coconino County. Enormous natural arch with the assessed span of maximum 55 m.

Other cliff formations

The Wave, Arizona
The Wave / Greg Mote, / CC BY 2.0
  • Chiricahua National Monument – Cochise County. Site with a 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. This spectacular rock needle rises 229 m tall above the floor of Canyon de Chelly.
  • The Wave – Coconino County. Unusual sandstone formation with colorful, undulating forms.

Caves

  • Colossal Cave – Pima County. Large cave system with a total length of explored passages at 5.6 km.
  • Grand Canyon Caverns – Coconino County. Cave with enormous cave rooms. Contains remnants of some extinct animals, e.g. ground sloth. Caves can be accessed through a 64 m deep shaft while the natural entrance has been sealed off as it is a sacred place to Hualapai people.
  • Kartchner Caverns – Cochise County. Cave with amazing and even unique cave formations, the process of their formation continues. Here is located one of world’s longest soda straws: 647 cm long! Length of the cave passages is some 3.9 – 4 km.
  • Lava River Cave near Flagstaff – Coconino Country. Longest lava cave in Arizona, 1.21 km long.

Waterfalls and rapids

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. The tallest waterfall in Arizona. It starts as a spring from the cave in the wall of the side canyon of Grand Canyon. Total height is approximately 244 m, the tallest drop is approximately 122 m tall. For the most part of the year, it is almost dry.
  • Deer Creek Fall – Coconino County. In this location Deer Creek emerges from its slot canyon and falls directly into Grand Canyon. It forms 46 m tall waterfall.
  • Grand Falls – Coconino County. An enormous waterfall. Grand Falls are 56 m tall and, at high water – more than 150 m wide. Muddy water flows over the falls. For the most part of the year only small trickles fall, but at snowmelt and rain the sight here is spectacular.
  • Havasu Falls – Coconino County. A gorgeous, 37 m tall waterfall in the narrow canyon of Havasu Creek. The water has unusual blue color which contrasts with the red color of cliffs. Below the falls are limestone terraces.
  • Lava Falls in Grand Canyon – Mohave and Coconino Counties. The most impressive rapids on Colorado River in Grand Canyon. The rapids are receding rather fast and have formed on the remnants of lava flow.
  • 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 – Coconino County. Powerful spring which starts as a 30 m tall waterfall in the rim of the side canyon of Grand Canyon.

Ecosystems

Saguaro National Park, Arizona
Saguaro National Park / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
  • Montezuma Well – Yavapai County. Large sinkhole, 112 m wide and 17 m deep. It is fed by powerful springs and its water has a high level of dissolved arsenic. 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. One of the most biologically diverse deserts in the world.

Other natural landmarks of Arizona

  • 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.
  • The largest Fremont cottonwood in Skull Valley – Yavapai County. This is the largest currently known Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii S. Watson). The tree has a circumference of 14.22 m and height of 31 m. It was planted in 1917.
  • 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 of Arizona

Petroglyph sites

V-bar-V petroglyphs, Arizona
V-bar-V petroglyphs / Chanel Wheeler, / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • 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. These drawings were made in 1050 – 1400 AD in a specific style which is now called a 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 under a 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.
  • Keet Seel – Coconino County. Abandoned Anasazi cliff dwelling, occupied in 1250, abandoned around 1300 AD. Here lived up to 150 people. Contains a circular tower, one of most prominent cliff dwellings in the United States. Located under cliff overhang.
  • Lower Cliff Dwelling and Upper Cliff Dwelling in Tonto National Monument – 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 religious 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. Former 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 colorful 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 grotto under cliff overhang. Houses seem to be falling into the abyss. Inhabited around 900 – 1200 AD, originally had 30 – 50 rooms.
  • Inscription House (Tsʼah Biiʼ Kin) – Coconino County. Abandoned Anasazi settlement under a 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, built from petrified wood
Agate House Pueblo, built from petrified wood / Petrified Forest, Flickr / 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. It was inhabited around 1260 – 1400 AD and contains Great Kiva and Solar Calendar – stone enclosure with an opening toward the north and two more which show the winter and summer solstice as well as equinoxes. Nearby are petroglyphs whose symbolics seem to be linked to Solar Calendar.
  • Kinishba Ruins – Gila County. Remnants of an enormous pueblo, where the great house had some 600 rooms. Constructed in the 1100 – 1300s, housed up to 1500 people.
  • Pueblo Grande Ruins – Maricopa county. Remnants of an ancient settlement which was inhabited in 450 – 1450 AD. Represents a large platform, where earlier stood many houses, three ball courts.

Other archaeological monuments

  • Baboquivari Cave – Pima County. Sacred cave of Tohono O’Odham people, center of their cosmology. According to their beliefs here lives I’itoi – protector of the people. Nearby are petroglyphs.
  • Lehner Mammoth-Kill Site – Cochise County. In this place people of Clovis culture killed mammoths around 9,000 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 was 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.This Franciscan mission was constructed in the late 18th century in Baroque stye. The architecture and arts of the sumptuous structures unite European and local traditions.
  • San Jose de Tumacacori church – Santa Cruz County. Spanish colonial church from the late 18th century. A mission was established here in 1691.

Bridges

Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, Arizona
Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge / Gordon Wrigley, / CC BY 2.0
  • Hoover Dam Bridge (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 River downstream from the Hoover Dam in 2010.
  • The old Navajo Bridge – Coconino County. The oldest of two steel arch bridges across Grand Canyon. Both are more than 140 m above the river, 254 and 277 m long, built in 1929 and in 1995.

Other man made landmarks of Arizona

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

Described landmarks of Arizona

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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 the 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 the unique design of settlements which were built in cliff overhangs.

Featured: Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater from the south
Meteor Crater, view from the rim / Graeme Churchard, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The tale of Meteor crater (Barringer crater) is tale about success – hard won success of scientific thought through great offering, effort and mistakes.

This is one of the best preserved impact craters on Earth, where one can learn, what happens when Earth is bombarded by a meteorite.

Recommended books

Fodor’s Arizona & The Grand Canyon


From the vastness of the Grand Canyon to Sedona’s red rocks and the living Sonoran Desert, Arizona’s landscapes are awe-inspiring. The state’s spectacular canyons, blooming deserts, raging rivers, petrified forests, and scenic mountains enthrall lovers of the outdoors in pursuit of hiking, rafting, golf, or picturesque spots to watch the sunset. In full-color throughout, Fodor’s Arizona and the Grand Canyon helps travelers take advantage of the state’s myriad pleasures, including outstanding museums and galleries, Navajo and Hopi cultural experiences, three national parks, and world-renowned spas.

Overlooked Arizona


From the towering saguaro cacti of her deserts to the pine covered mountains of the Mogollon Rim, Arizona is filled with wonderful attractions that most visitors never get to see. Frontier forts, ghost towns, Spanish missions, historical museums, canyons, and winding mountain roads are all waiting for you, with adventure along every mile of the way. Come explore with this handy guidebook!

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