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Wonders of Arizona

Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly
Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly./ Larry Lamsa, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

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. The most amazing wonders 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.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Arizona

Geological wonders

Grand Canyon

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.

Grand Canyon, Arizona
Meteor Crater (Barringer crater)

Visually the most impressive meteorite impact crater on Earth. The diameter of the crater is about 1,180 m, depth – 170 m. The outer side of the rim rises 45 m high above the surrounding plains. The bottom is covered with a 210 – 240 m thick layer of rubble. The impact took place some 49,000 years ago.

Meteor Crater from the south
The Wave in Arizona

Unusual sandstone formation with colorful, undulating forms.

The Wave, Arizona
Monument Valley

Monumental desert landscape with enormous, up to 300 m tall sandstone buttes. Numerous magnificent natural arches, rock stacks, and other formations.

Monument Valley, Arizona
Upper Antelope Canyon

Approximately 200 m long slot canyon that provides numerous grand sights. This is the more popular part of the Antelope Canyon because it does not require climbing and sunlight shines in it fairly frequently.

Upper Antelope Canyon
Kartchner Caverns

This gorgeous cave was discovered in 1974. The cave contains amazing and even unique cave formations, and the process of their formation continues. Here is located one of the world’s longest soda straws: 647 cm long! The length of the cave passages is some 3.9 – 4 km.

Kartchner Caverns, Big Room
Tonto Natural Bridge

Possibly the largest natural bridge from the travertine. The bridge represents a 120 m long tunnel, up to 46 m wide and 56 m high.

Tonto Natural Bridge
Havasu Canyon

A side canyon of the tributary of Grand Canyon. Havasu canyon is very spectacular due to the light blue color of calcium carbonate-rich spring water, which contrasts with the red color of the cliffs. Numerous limestone terraces, and large waterfalls.

Havasu Canyon, Rock Falls
Oak Creek Canyon

Enormous canyon – gorge, approximately 19 km long. Depth is up to 600 m.

Oak Creek Canyon from Wilson Mountain
Mooney Falls

Approximately 58 m tall waterfall in Havasu canyon. Around the falls are interesting tufa formations, and below the falls have formed terraces.

Mooney Falls
Grand Canyon Caverns

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 the Hualapai people.

Grand Canyon Caverns
Grand Falls in Arizona

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.

Grand Falls
Chiricahua National Monument

Site with a large number of spectacular vertical rock formations, including impressive balancing rocks.

Chiricahua National Monument, Big Balanced Rock
Lower Antelope Canyon

Very impressive slot canyon that is 407 m long and some 37 m deep. This is a bit less popular tourist destination than the Upper Antelope Canyon nearby.

Lower Antelope Canyon

Biological wonders

Saguaro National Park, West

One of the best locations to see the unique saguaro cactus (Carnegia gigantea) stands with thousands of these giant cacti. One of the most biologically diverse deserts in the world.

Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Archaeological wonders

Montezuma Castle

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 a long ladder or very good climbing skills.

Montezuma Castle
Antelope House

Impressive ruins of Anasazi settlement under cliff overhang. Abandoned around 1260. Nearby was the Tomb of Weaver that contained a mummified body of an old man.

Antelope House
White House Ruins

Ruins of Anasazi settlements under a rock overhang. Ruins of a once large building with 80 rooms that were inhabited in 1040 – 1275 AD. Numerous petroglyphs are nearby.

White House Ruins, Arizona
Keet Seel

Abandoned Anasazi cliff dwelling, occupied in 1250, abandoned around 1300 AD. Here lived up to 150 people. Contains a circular tower, one of the most prominent cliff dwellings in the United States. Located under cliff overhang.

Keet Seel
Palatki Pueblo

Ruins of Sinagua settlement from 1100 – 1400 AD and rich finds of petroglyphs from 4000 BC – 1400 AD.

Petroglyphs at Palatki Pueblo

Abandoned Anasazi cliff dwelling that once had up to 120 rooms for up to 125 people, now some 80 rooms remain. Located under a spectacular cliff overhang.

Tonto Upper Cliff Dwelling

The largest ancient cliff dwelling in Tonto National Monument. An ancient structure with some 40 rooms in a natural alcove. It was developed and inhabited by Salado culture around 1300 – 1350 AD.

Tonto Upper Cliff Dwelling

Architecture wonders

Hoover Dam

Comparatively old and enormous dam for the hydropower station, 221 m high. The structure is adorned with details in Art Deco style and was constructed in 1931 – 1936.

Hoover Dam
Large Binocular Telescope

One of the most sophisticated optical telescopes in the world with two 8.4 m large mirrors. Built in 1996 – 2004.

Large Binocular Telescope

One of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements within the United States. Founded before 1100 AD. Stronghold of Hopi culture and traditions, with traditional architecture.

Oraibi Pueblo, Arizona

WorldYellow 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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