1. Antelope Canyon
Starting off our list is one of the most popular areas for photographers. The northern Arizona slot canyon was created through water erosion of the sandstone, which is partly why the formation has its smooth flowing shape. Since water still flows and floods in the canyon, it's only accessible by guided tours.
2. Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Three major canyons are combined into one national monument here: Canyon de Chelly, Canyon del Muerto, and Monument Canyon. Together they form a beautiful landscaped that is a rare treat for those not from Arizona. The park’s most distinctive feature? Spider Rock, a 750-foot spire that is home to Spider Woman in the Navajo culture.
3. Chiricahua National Monument
The first time I saw pictures of this location, I didn’t think it was anywhere in Arizona. But the unique and large collection of hoodoos (the tall rock spires that seem to emerge from the ground) are located less than one hour from Willcox.
4. The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon’s presence on this list is a given. It's home to a number of other wonders, including Havasu Falls and Horseshoe Bend, and a vast amount of wildlife.
5. Havasu Falls
Located within the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls drops 100 feet into beautiful turquoise blue pools. What's not to love about this place?
6. Kartchner Caverns
These caves were a recent find for geologists and not only serves as a major bat nesting area but it also has plenty of incredible cave formations. This includes some beautiful but strangely named formations like soda straws and cave bacon which, unfortunately, is not edible.
7. Lava River Cave
Short but unique, the lava river cave is a tube-shaped cave formed by a volcanic vent more than 650,000 years ago. Interestingly, this cave stays cold throughout the year and ice can be found on the rocks inside even in summer.
8. Meteor Crater
Also known as Barringer Crater, this is the best preserved meteor crater known thanks to our dry climate creating a slow erosion process.
9. Monument Valley
While a portion of Monument Valley sits in Utah, many of the red clusters of sandstone can be found in Arizona. Western movie aficionados know portions of the area well from John Ford’s films, particularly the popular mitten formations that seem to appear in nearly every film.
10. Petrified Forest National Park
Finding large deposits of petrified wood is the major draw to this national park but the area has plenty of other beautiful attractions, such as the striped badlands of the Painted Desert. The park also has a collection of well-preserved ruins, petroglyphs, and even fossils.
11. Red Rock State Park
Northern Arizona is definitely red rock country and the Sedona area is no exception. Red Rock State Park is picturesque and the riparian areas along Oak Creek run through the park.
12. Tonto Natural Bridge
This natural arch is also considered the largest travertine bridge in the world and is an absolutely stunning sight.
13. The Wave
This stunning sandstone formation is a popular location for both hikers and photographers because of the curvy shapes similar to Antelope Canyon. The formations were created through wind erosion and since the sandstone can be easily damaged, access is limited to just 20 day permits each day through a lottery. If you want to increase your chances of getting in, try visiting in fall or winter when there tends to be fewer visitors.