USA Natural Wonders: 3 Spectacular Canyons to Visit

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Living in the US gave us ample opportunity to travel and experience the beauty of its natural wonders.

America has some truly spectacular national parks to explore and enjoy. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to visit as many natural wonders as we hoped, but the ones we did see are really worth mentioning  to inspire you to visit and enjoy some outdoor activities while you are there.

This is the first in our series of posts on US natural wonders and this post will concentrate on Canyons.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Grand Canyon, Arizona

“The majority of the 5 million tourists that come here each year, stay for 15 minutes. That’s enough time to jump off their tour bus and take their obligatory ‘I was here’ shot.”

My mouth dropped in complete shock when our park ranger told us this statistic on our sunset walk. We had already spent 2 days hiking in the North Rim and now we were to do the same in the South, and I never wanted to leave. I could not believe that the majority of people did not stay to really appreciate the Canyon’s impressive beauty and power.

I’d sit transfixed, in total awe at the power of water and how over millions of years it was able to create a sculpture of such grandeur and epic proportions; humbled by just how small and insignificant I really was.

The Grand Canyon, Arizona

We had followed the Colorado River down from her beginnings in the Rocky Mountains and saw how she grew and widened, her twists and turns leaving total magnificence in her path. Don’t stay here for 15 minutes. Camp at the North and South Rim, and hike down below where you will experience two vastly different yet perfect worlds.

There are plenty of trails for you to choose from and the truly adventurous can walk rim to rim. Prepare to do this over several days. It gets extremely hot in the canyon so start at sun up and come prepared with plenty of water.

You can also ride mules down if you prefer not to get sore legs and blisters on your heels. We highly recommend eating a salmon burger and having a beer at the restaurant at the edge of the canyon on the North Rim. Truly spectacular.

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

Bryce Canyon, Utah

Bryce Canyon, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is the fairy tale kingdom of every young girls dream. A kingdom of bright orange and pink pastel spires and towers, archways and paths leading into enchanted forests to get lost in. We spent a day hiking and exploring her trails, nooks and crannies, surrounded by a sea of orange.

One of my most memorable travel experiences ever was horse riding into the canyon with our cowboy guide Jake. Jake was a real cowboy complete with studs, leather pant protectors, a cowboy hat and whiskey jokes spewing forth from a heavy cowboy western accent.

We trotted down into the canyon, in and out of ravines, and under natural formed archways, in total awe at what we were seeing. What a magical day we had. It is really worth getting up at sunrise and heading to the canyon for some quiet solitude and a chance to get some beautiful photos of the canyon.

Bryce Canyon, Utah

Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

A vicious thunderstorm erupted as we were driving from one part of Canyonlands to another. As I was driving, a jagged bolt of lightning smacked into the ground about 5 metres to the left of our vehicle. Light radiated from all directions as the bolt zapped and lit up the darkened area.

It was the most spectacular display of natural power I have ever seen and underneath my terror lay a deep sense of awe and gratitude for witnessing first hand this natural phenomenon and teaching me one of life’s most powerful truth- never mess with Mother Nature.

Canyonlands is not as popular or well known as the Grand Canyon, but could be considered just as spectacular.

The storms that rip through here during the summer months are worth the trip alone. The Colorado River and its tributaries have divided the park into three separate areas, each having its own distinctive character and opportunity for exploration.

There are plenty of hiking and bike trails to take advantage of, as well as areas to raft on the river. Be warned that traveling between the areas of the park can take several hours due to the indirect roads that join them.

Canyonlands, Utah

Canyonlands, Utah

Dead Horse Point State Park, not far from Canyonlands is the place to visit for an absolutely stunning vista of Canyonlands. Grab a couple of beers and sit and watch as the sun sets, casting a soft glow over the sculpted pinnacles and buttes, carved by the winding Colorado River below.

Kiss your beer and send cheers to the Universe for allowing you the opportunity to witness such a magical panoramic.

Dead Horse Point, Utah

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23 thoughts on “USA Natural Wonders: 3 Spectacular Canyons to Visit”

  1. Awesome collection you two. I am always amazed at that Grand Canyon statistic as well. It’s such a jaw-droppingly beautiful place, how could you not want to stay for days. I’ve been twice, once just for a day trip, but once to hike to the bottom, and if we ever go again (which I hope we will), we plan to stay even longer, maybe even a rim to rim hike, which I think would be incredible (we’ve never visited the north rim).

    We’ve never been to Bryce but it’s high on our list. The pictures you have here and the descriptions make me want to go now. It looks incredible.

    And I truly think Canyonlands is a gem that doesn’t get talked about enough. We were there during summer and it was so desolate, and that just added to the charm. What an awesome place that was. Great descriptions and pictures of these awesome natural wonders we have. I look forward to more.

    1. I would love to do a rim to rim hike as well. You must go to the North Rim. It is so beautiful and more peaceful then the South. Not a lot of people make the journey there. Bryce is out of this world. I think you will love it! This region of America owns a part of my soul!

  2. Wow, Bryce canyon is spectacular. Never seen anything like it. I mean the empty dead sand(?) and lively trees.. very interesting! Also the horses on such a narrow road are really unsettling… I’d be really worried, being on one of those.

    1. @ Slava…Bryce is an amazing place! The horses are very sure footed, so you don’t have to worry. And some of them are actually mules which are even safer. Plus you have a guide, a real cowboy at that!

  3. Despite being National Park junkies, we had put the Grand Canyon pretty far down on our list because we had heard so much about the throngs of tourists – we made the same mistake with Yellowstone. And what a mistake that was!

    We decided to end an (almost) coast-to-coast road trip in the Grand Canyon. After spending a few nights enjoying the sunsets, sunrises and everything in between, we were TOTALY enthralled. THe GC is easily on of the most remarkable places we have ever been.

    We were not fortunate enough to witness a big storm (we were camping so I guess that is okay) but it sounds amazing. Thanks for the great post and beautiful pictures.

    1. @ Tandem World…The great thing about the GC National Park is that it so big with lots of trails that you can usually find some serenity! And the other thing is, we got up real early, before the sun, to start our hikes, and by the time we were on our way back out of the Canyon, most people were just starting! I guess they couldn’t drag themselves out of bed lazy buggers!!!….Glad you enjoyed the pics!

  4. “The majority of the 5 million tourists that come here each year, stay for 15 minutes.” I just CANNOT take this stat in – does not compute. Have never been, but the light must change by the minute – a place to gaze at for days…

    1. I know!! And then when you are there and you see how amazing it is this statistic is even harder to understand. Being there made me feel so alive, so small, and a part of something so magnificent I just did not want to leave and have that feeling disappear. It is a special place.

  5. Beautiful photos. These look like amazing hikes but such a sad statistic about the Grand Canyon although I suppose that is true about many sites as many people grab the “I was here” photo and leave.

    1. Yeah! There’s nothing like proving to your family and friends you were there! I love those shots but I like to create memories to share while I’m there too. They are amazing hikes, challenging in the heat but well worth it.

  6. Unbelievable that so many people only stay at the Grand Canyon for 15 minutes!! We spent the whole day there and I wish we had had time to stay the night but we had a tight schedule for our road trip. Bryce Canyon is on top of our list – now that we’ve done Arizona, we’re hoping to do a Utah road trip soon 🙂

    1. @ Globetrottergirls…Bryce Canyon is amazing. You must go hors riding and walk the fairy trail. Actually, Southern Utah is amazing! The landscape is like nothing we have seen!

  7. Michael Schuermann

    WOW! Just stumbled this. Great pictures! Makes me jealous and regret that we didn’t spend enough time in the Grand Canyon when we first visited there and did some hikes and other activities. We will certainly have to go back there. We had such a grand time in our visit to Utah, Colorado and Arizona this year. The Grand Canyon is calling us back.

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