Inspired by one of our previous posts about natural wonders in Arizona, we decided to create a road trip that you won’t soon forget. Natural wonders can be found all over our state so to make it a little easier, we decided to take a look at some of the iconic spots found in Arizona’s northern half that qualify as a definite must-see and are, for the most part, pretty easy to access. Here are nine fantastic spots to stop along the way!
1. Red Rock State Park
What better way to get this list started than with a look at some of the landscapes that help define Arizona? Sedona's red rocks greet thousands upon thousands of visitors each year and this spot is just one of many to experience here. Be sure to take a short hike and enjoy Oak Creek for a couple hours!
2. Lava River Cave
Our next stop really steps up the natural wonders views and is also known as Government Cave. This lava tube is found a reasonable distance from Flagstaff and was formed through a lava vent in the nearby volcanic field. It measures about 0.75 miles long, making it the longest of its kind! Just remember to bring a jacket and a couple of light sources with you!
3. Grand Canyon
The most well-known natural wonder on our list, the Grand Canyon is not just limited to views from the South Rim. The lesser traveled areas are in some cases even more incredible. There's the North Rim, and the numerous trails down inside the canyon, the Colorado River, and other pretty amazing spots. While you could easily spend weeks exploring each of these areas, we recommend sticking with a couple of well-known spots for a shorter trip. Check out the Desert View Watchtower, the Visitors Center, and a few viewpoints.
4. Antelope Canyon
There are several touring companies that will guide you safely through Antelope Canyon, a gorgeous slot cave that was carved by water. The curved walls, waves, and sliver of an opening create a unique lighting situation that forces most photographers to figure out how to best play with available light. Most tours take an hour or less, so bring yourself, a bottled water, and a camera. We recommend bringing a tripod so that you can try out longer exposures without risking a shaky image.
5. Monument Valley
Next up, an incredibly photogenic location that has been featured in more photos, movies, and television shows than we could possibly name. Arizona shares Monument Valley with Utah, but guess what? We’re lucky enough to have the visitors center, the famous mittens, and even a hotel with a spectacular view of the famous formations. There's nowhere else you can see that view!
6. Canyon de Chelly
Don’t let the name here fool you: Canyon de Chelly is actually made up of three different canyons and stunning vistas. While hiking through most of the canyon will require a guide, you should make time to walk the White House Ruins Trail for an up-close look of the canyon and ancient cliff dwellings.
7. Petrified Forest
How many spectacular natural phenomena and other Southwestern imagery can you find here? Petrified logs, uniquely colorful badlands, mesa, fossils, and even quite a few archaeological sites. Definitely make time to see the Painted Desert and the Crystal Forest for the more iconic scenes.
8. Meteor Crater
Located about 18 miles outside Winslow, Meteor Crater is widely known as the best preserved meteor crater in the world thanks to the area’s dry conditions. The crater is approximately 50,000 years old and was formed by a 150-foot meteorite, of which a large surviving chunk sits in the visitor’s center today. If you’re an astronomy lover, you definitely to have to make a special trip here!
9. Tonto Natural Bridge
The final natural wonder on our list is Tonto Natural Bridge, the world’s largest travertine bridge. Found just 10 miles north of Payson, Tonto Natural Bridge is a great spot to visit through fall but especially when the nearby creek and seasonal waterfall are flowing, which makes a visit here even more special.