Most interesting landmarks of the United States

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

Natural landmarks of the United States

Grand Prismatic Spring, United States, Wyoming
Grand Prismatic Spring, United States, Wyoming / Ziinkova M. CC-BY-SA-3.0
Geothermal features

Volcanic processes in United States have created some of the most spectacular hydrothermal features of the world – such as geysers and bright colored hot springs and travertine terraces. Yellowstone national park (Wyoming) contains 200 – 250 geysers, the largest group in the world.

Fishing cone geyser, Wyoming, United States
Fishing cone geyser, Wyoming, United States / J.Peaco, US NP Sevice, public domain.
  • Fishing Cone – Wyoming. Unusual geyser, rising as a small island – cone from the lake. Earlier it erupted up to 12 m high.
  • Old Faithful – Wyoming. The most predictable geyser in the world, erupting almost every 91 minutes. Height of eruption is up to 56 m.
  • Steamboat Geyser – Wyoming. The tallest geyser in the world, erupting up to 90 m tall.
  • Grand Prismatic Spring – third largest hot spring in the world. Enormous spring pool and its surroundings are adorned with microbial mats in vivid colors.
  • Morning Glory Pool – Wyoming. 7 m deep, spectacular hot spring with brightly colored bed. Other beautiful hot springs in Yellowstone are Emerald Pool, Crested Pool, Beauty Pool and others.
  • Mammoth Hot Springs – Wyoming. These hot springs have produced some of the most impressive travertine terraces in world.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Grand Canyon / Catron S., CC-BY-SA-3.0

United States have some of the most impressive ravines and canyons in the world.

  • Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon – Arizona. The most visited slot canyon (with two separated sections) which provides numerous grand sights.
  • Buckskin Gulch – Utah. Narrow slot canyon, longest and deepest slot canyon in United States. Length – 21 km. Sudden rainstorm can bring 30 m high wave through the canyon.
  • Grand Canyon – Arizona. Possibly the most impressive canyon in the world. This 446 km long canyon is up to 1,800 m deep and has with rugged, nearly vertical walls.
  • Gunnison Black Canyon – Colorado. Up to 830 m deep, narrow canyon. Contains Painted Wall – 685 m tall cliff wall.
  • Half Dome – California. This granite dome rises 1,444 m tall above the surroundings.
  • Zion Canyon – Utah. Up to 610 m deep slot canyon, in some places only 6 m wide.
  • Yellowstone Grand Canyon – Wyoming. Colorful, up to 366 m deep canyon.
Natural arches

Such unusual relief forms as natural arches are well represented in United States. The most impressive ones are located in Arches National Park (Utah).

  • Delicate Arch – Utah. Beautiful natural arch, 20 m tall.
  • Landscape Arch – Utah. The fifth widest natural arch in the world, 88 m wide.
  • Rainbow Bridge – Utah. Very impressive natural arch, 71 m wide.
Other cliff formations
  • Devil’s Tower – Wyoming. Igneous intrusion – a steep, unusual rock rising 386 m above the surroundings.
  • Fort Rock – Oregon. Unusual landmark – tufa ring which rises 105 m above the surrounding plain.
  • Monument Valley – Utah and Arizona. Monumental desert landscape with enormous, up to 300 m tall sandstone buttes.
  • The Wave – Arizona. Unusual sandstone formation with colorful, undulating forms.
  • Crystal Cave – Ohio. This small cave is covered with enormous crystals of celestine, some up to 1 meter large.
  • Jewel Cave – South Dakota. Third longest cave in the world, 318.6 km long.
  • Lechuguilla Cave – New Mexico. Seventh longest cave in the world, with magnificent speleothems. Length – 222.6 km.
  • Mammoth Cave – Kentucky. The longest known cave system in the world, 651.8 km long.
  • Ruby Falls Cave – Tennessee. This cave contains the tallest known cave waterfall in the USA at 44 meters in height.
  • Wind Cave – South Dakota. Sixth longest cave in the world, 229.7 km long.
Ruby Falls, Tennessee
Ruby Falls / Tesla J. CC-BY-SA-3.0
  • Niagara Falls – New York and Canada, Ontario. The most popular waterfall in world is 51 meters high and 1203 meters wide. The shape of the waterfall and its proportions have become somewhat synonymous with the word "waterfall".
  • Ribbon Fall – California. Tallest single-drop waterfall in North America, 491 m tall.
  • Yosemite Falls – California. The highest waterfall in mainland United States, 739 m high.
Ecosystems and trees
Giant Forest with General Sherman tree - the largest tree in the world in the centre
Giant Forest with General Sherman tree – the largest tree in the world in the centre. Note the people at the base of the tree. / Famartin, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
  • General Sherman tree – giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) J.Buchh.), the largest officially announced tree of the world by volume. There exist larger ones, which are not announced. Volume 1,487 m3. Height 83.8 m, girth at the breast height 25.9 m. Believed to be 2,300 – 2,700 years old.
  • Hyperion – California. Tallest announced tree in the world (there are known taller ones), coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.). 115.85 m tall, diameter 4.84 m. Contains 502 m3 of wood. In total more than 500 coast redwoods exceed height of 103 m.
  • Giant Forest – California. Unique forest with stands of giant sequoia trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) J.Buchh.) – the largest trees in world. This is the easiest to access sequoia grove but also contains the largest trees – five of the ten largest trees on Earth are located in this grove. Area – 7.6 km2. In California are located several more notable groves of these giant trees.
Other natural landmarks of the United States
Meteor Crater from the south
Meteor Crater, view from the rim / Graeme Churchard, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
  • Barringer crater – Arizona. Most impressive meteorite crater on Earth, 1,180 m in diameter and 170 m deep, some 49,000 years old.
  • Crater Lake – Oregon. Round, beautiful lake in caldera of Mount Mazuma volcano.
  • La Brea tar pits – California. Site where in the tar have been preserved numerous extinct animals such as two species of mammoth, sabre-toothed cats, American lions and many other.
  • Silver Springs – Florida. A picturesque, very powerful spring, with a 91 x 59 meters large pool with a depth up to 10.1 meters. Its maximum discharge has reached 36,000 liters per second.
  • Wakulla Spring – Florida. One of the most impressive cold water springs in the world, the diameter of this spring pool is 96 meters, its depth is 56.4 meters. One of the most powerful springs in world, its discharge has reached up to 54,226 liters per second.
  • White Sands – New Mexico. 710 km2 of pure white gypsum sands.

Man made landmarks of the United States

Cliff Palace, United States
Cliff Palace, United States / Borchert A. CC-BY-SA-3.0

While it might be argued that the most impressive monuments in United States are the diverse natural monuments, this country has a good share of impressive cultural monuments – both architectural and archaeological.

Cliff art and stone settings
Rochester Rock Art Panel, Utah
Rochester Rock Art Panel / Kerk P. Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
  • Bighorn National Forest Medicine Wheel – Wyoming. Enormous, Pre-Columbian stone setting, which from the sky looks like a spiked wheel.
  • Blythe Intaglios – California. Several large geoglyphs (gigantic figures on flat surface). The largest geoglyph is 52 m long depiction of a human. In this area are located several dozen such figures and also a labyrinth – Topock Maze. Age is unknown.
  • Jeffers Petroglyphs – Minnesota. Outcrop covered with petroglyphs which seem to be made over very extended time period – since 7000 BC.
  • Newspaper Rock – Utah. One of the largest known collections of petroglyphs (more than 650 drawings), made over the last 2000 years.
  • Rochester Rock Art Panel – Utah. Very rich petroglyph site, with drawings made in different time periods before and after the coming of Europeans.
  • Yakima Indian Painted Rocks – Washington. Interesting rock paintings in three colors, possibly more than 1000 years old.
Effigy mounds and other mounds

The ancient cultures in the Mississippi Valley most likely did evolve to a high degree. Some of the interesting monuments left behind by of these cultures are effigy mounds: enormous earthworks resembling stylized figures of animals, symbols or people. In the United States are found also "common" mounds.

  • Alligator Effigy Mound – Ohio. This mound is shaped in a form of an alligator and was built sometimes around 800 – 1200 AD.
  • Cahokia – Illinois. Largest prehistoric earthen constructions at the site of largest known prehistoric city in the area of United States.
  • Rock Eagle Effigy Mound – Georgia. Thousands of smaller stones here have been laid in a form of an enormous eagle. This structure was built somewhere in 1000 BC – 1000 AD.
  • Serpent Mound – Ohio. Built around 1070 AD. A serpent shaped, 411 m long earthen structure.
Native pueblos and cliff dwellings
Taos Pueblo, New Mexico
Taos Pueblo / Bobak H., CC-BY-SA-2.5.
  • Acoma Pueblo – New Mexico. This town is located on the summit of flat plateau and has been continuously inhabited for 800 years.
  • Cliff Palace – Colorado. Largest cliff dwelling – settlement in North America, built over a cliff overhang sometimes around 1190 and abandoned around 1300 AD. Largest building – Square Tower – has four floors.
  • Gila Cliff Dwellings – New Mexico. Cliff dwelling – settlement, built around 1275 – 1300 AD. In total – 46 rooms.
  • Picuris Pueblo – New Mexico. One of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the United States, occupied since around 750 AD.
  • Pueblo Bonito – New Mexico. The largest of the Great Houses of Chaco culture, built sometimes around 828 – 1126 AD. This megastructure has some 650 – 800 dwellings in it, with up to five floors.
  • Taos Pueblo – New Mexico. Approximately 1000 years old settlement, which includes large multi apartment building, built from adobe.
European settlements

In spite of comparatively short history of European presence, United States have wide diversity of urban planning monuments. Visually most impressive are the downtowns of large modern cities, with numerous skyscrapers.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada / Lasvegaslover, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0
  • French Quarter (Vieux Carré) – Louisiana, New Orleans. Historical center of New Orleans with numerous interesting buildings from the 18th – 19th century. Houses here have characteristic ironwork galleries.
  • Manhattan – New York. The most prominent historical skyscraper district in the world. First highrises were built here in the late 19th century. Currently the most prominent buildings here are Empire State Building (381 m tall, built in 1931), Chrysler Building (282 m, built in 1930) and many others, also the tallest building in the United States – 541 m tall One World Trade Center.
  • Chicago Loop – Cook County. Central business district of Chicago with numerous monuments of architecture – some of the earliest skyscrapers in the world, many skyscrapers in several historical styles of the 20th century, opulent movie theatres and other buildings.
  • Las Vegas – Nevada. Enormous entertainment and resort city, developed in the middle of the desert in the middle of the 20th century. Contains a huge number of spectacular buildings, built to impress the guests of the city.
Architecture monuments

As the United States developed into a wealthy and influential country during the 20th century, it created many global architectural movements and pioneering architectural landmarks.

Empire State Building rising above Manhattan
Empire State Building rising above Manhattan / Ibagli, Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
  • Brooklyn Bridge – New York. Once the longest suspension bridge in the world, built in 1883. Main span is 486.3 m long, total length – 1.825 m.
  • Chrysler Building – New York. Magnificent skyscraper in Art Deco style. Constructed in 1930 and was the tallest building in the world for 11 months, until the construction of the Empire State Building nearby. Building has 77 floors, it is 282 m high.
  • Empire State Building – New York. This 381 m tall skyscraper has 102 stories. It was built in 1931 and was the tallest building in the world until 1972.
  • Fallingwater – Pennsylvania. A villa built over a waterfall in 1934, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Gateway Arch – Missouri, St. Louis. Unsurpassed monument – 192 m tall concrete arch, built in 1965.
  • Golden Gate Bridge – California. Iconic bridge, one of the most popular bridges in the world. This 2,737 m long suspension bridge was constructed in 1933 – 1937. Pylons are 227 m high, the span under the bridge is 67 m.

Described landmarks of the United States

The United States of America is one of the largest countries in the world and offers a wide array of diverse attractions: many are unsurpassed in the world.
Highlights of the United States are:

  • Cliffs, canyons and rock formations. In many minds around the world, America is associated with Grand Canyon in Arizona, but not less surprising is Devil’s Tower, Rainbow Bridge and many others.
  • Downtowns of large cities with skyscrapers. Modern skyscrapers were developed in the United States, and such cities as New York and Chicago have thousands of highrises. Many skyscrapers are located closely together and provide an unforgettable sight.
  • Geothermal features. The United States is the proud owner of the most spectacular geothermal fields in the world located in Yellowstone National Park.
  • Giant forest in California. In California grow the oldest, tallest and largest trees in the world. Giant Forest is one of such groves of world’s largest trees. There is nothing comparable to this elsewhere in the world.

States of the United States

United States are divided in 51 entities (50 states and 1 federal district):

  • Alabama
  • Alaska (reviewed separately)
  • Arizona
  • Arkanzas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii (also a part of Oceania and Polynesia, reviewed separately)
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hamphsire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Other possessions of the United States

Incorporated territory
Overseas territories

Several more scattered small Pacific islands are possessions of United States:

Also one more Caribbean island is unincorporated territory of United States:

Video: America, Land of Dreams

revistaandardeviaje, July 2013

Featured: Carrizo Plain wildflower meadows

Carrizo Plain wildflower meadows in springtime, California
Carrizo Plain wildflower meadows in springtime / devra, / CC BY 2.0

Great naturalist John Muir wrote in his memoirs: "Go where I would, east or west, north or south, I still plashed and rippled in flower-gems". In 1868 he was privileged to see something what we won’t see anymore – the endless sea (400 miles long and 30 miles wide) of spring flowers of Central Valley in California. Nowadays nearly all of this unique grandeur is gone, meadows have been replaced by pastures, roads and buildings.

But don’t despair – there exist Carrizo Plain wildflower meadows.

Articles about the United States

Top 10 waterfalls of Hawaiian islands
Wailua Falls, Hawaii
Wailua Falls / Miguel Vieira, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Top 12 Moloka’i waterfalls
Map of 12 best waterfalls in Molokai Island
Top 10 locations of California poppy meadows and fields
Top 10 locations of California poppy meadows and fields

Recommended books

National Geographic Complete National Parks of the United States, 2nd Edition

National Geographic’s comprehensive travel guide to recreation areas, trails, historic sites, nature hikes, seashores, camping, and campgrounds is for everyone who loves outdoor recreation. This 544-page reference is an ultimate travel planner for all things national parks, filled with full-color photos, detailed maps, historical background, and practical facts on the location of the park system properties, as well as the best times to visit and top-rated activities.

American Ways: A Cultural Guide to the United States of America

Whether you’re a businessperson beginning to work in the United States or a foreign student visiting for a semester, this new edition of American Ways will help you navigate America’s diverse and changing culture. From the deep-seated attitudes that mark the American character to customs and everyday activities, American Ways explores the tapestry of the country’s life, providing invaluable information on cultural values, politics, education, religion, and relationships.

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