With its vast landscape and jaw-dropping beauty, the Grand Canyon State is among the most alluring. Home to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Arizona has attracted visitors en masse for well over a century. While the Grand Canyon is among the top natural wonders in Arizona, there is so much more to discover here. As someone who has lived in the state for over a decade, I am constantly in awe of the landscape and all there is to explore. Let’s discover some of the most incredible
natural attractions in Arizona.
Best Gorges & Canyons In Arizona
We all know that the state is home to the Grand Canyon. This is among the top nature places in Arizona, after all. Aside from the Grand Canyon, there are a few additional canyons to explore here. Best of all, they are underrated and not overrun with tourists.
1. Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA
Location: Grand Canyon National Park, AZ Wow Factor: As one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, this is a bucket list-worthy destination everyone must see at least once in their lives. Cost: $35/car; $30/motorcycle; $20/person. An annual park pass costs $70.
There's no place on Earth quite like the
. Whether you visit the North Rim or the South Rim, you'll have awe-inspiring views in every direction. For those who are brave enough, you can plan to hike into the canyon, with a lot of preparation, of course! However, there are plenty of trails and viewpoints from the canyon's rim.
2. Sycamore Canyon
Sycamore Canyon, Arizona 86336, USA
Location: Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, AZ Wow Factor: This canyon is a gorgeous hidden gem! Cost: No fee
As one of the most secluded
Arizona natural wonders
, Sycamore Canyon is a sight to behold. When I visited the portion of this 21-mile-long canyon in Williams, I was astounded to find out that my partner and I were practically the only ones there. Sycamore Canyon is found within the Prescott, Kaibab, and Coconino National Forests. You can go hiking in or around it, view waterfalls, and enjoy some peace and quiet! It's quite a wonderful hidden gem.
3. Oak Creek Canyon
Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona 86336, USA
Location: Sedona, AZ Wow Factor: An utterly stunning area especially for a scenic drive. Cost: No fee
One of my favorite
scenic drives in Arizona
happens to be on State Rote 89A through Oak Creek Canyon. There's something so magical about this area. Oak Creek Canyon is a gorge that was carved out by Oak Creek and is approximately 12 miles long. While you can stop in several places along the way for a hike, I highly recommend taking a scenic drive and stopping at one of the overlooks along the way.
4. Canyon de Chelly
Canyon de Chelly, Canyon De Chelly, Arizona 86503, USA
Location: Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Apache County, AZ Wow Factor: This canyon offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the Southwest. Cost: No fee
Another scenic drive you can take is through
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
. From the comfort of your car, you can take in the awe-inspiring landscape here. You may also want to consider taking a guided tour with a Park Ranger or a Navajo guide. While you're here, don't forget to stop and take photos of Spider Rock, an 800-foot-tall rock spire that's a natural wonder in and of itself.
5. Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon, Arizona 86036, USA
Location: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Page, AZ Wow Factor: Located at the Arizona-Utah border, this canyon is home to Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam. Cost: $30/vehicle for a 7-day pass.
For some of the most extraordinary
must-see nature in Arizona
, you must visit Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Found on the border of Arizona and Utah, Glen Canyon is home to Lake Powell, a man-made reservoir, which provides on-the-water recreation like boating, kayaking, and more. The Colorado River also winds its way through the canyon.
6. Walnut Canyon
Walnut Canyon National Monument, Arizona, USA
Location: Walnut Canyon National Monument, Flagstaff, AZ Wow Factor: This is a beautiful canyon that once served as a home to a Pueblo community hundreds of years ago. Cost: $25/vehicle
If you love learning about the history of the Southwest, a trip to
Walnut Canyon National Monument
is a must. Home to a Pueblo community over 700 years ago, you can view some of the cliff dwellings they left behind in the canyon. Take one of two trails in and around the canyon to view the ancient cliff dwellings and to take in the views.
Best Caves In Arizona
As if the canyons in Arizona weren’t enough, there are some incredible caves you can visit as well. From Sedona to Cochise County, here are some of the best caves in Arizona:
7. Colossal Cave
Colossal Cave Mountain Park - Cave Tours, 16721 E Old Spanish Trail, Vail, AZ 85641, USA
Location: Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Vail, AZ Wow Factor: This is a fascinating cave system that's one of the largest of its kind in America. Cost: Classic Cave Tours start at $23/person; The "Lights Out!" Lantern Tour starts at $25/person (ages 8-adult); and The Ladder Tour starts at $60/person for ages 12 and older.
While there are mountains and canyons aplenty throughout the Grand Canyon State, there are a few notable caves as well.
, for example, is located within the Rincon Mountains and is one of the largest dry cave systems in the USA. To see it, you'll have to book a tour of this 80-million-year-old cave but it will be well worth it!
8. Kartchner Caverns
Kartchner Caverns State Park, 2980 AZ-90, Benson, AZ 85602, USA
Location: Kartchner Caverns State Park, Benson, AZ Wow Factor: With its fascinating cavern and stalactites, you'll be in awe this subterranean place exists! Cost: Cavern Tours/Rotunda-Throne Room Tours: $23/adult (age 14+); Youth (age 7-13): $13. Children under 7: $5 (Rotunda-Throne Room Tour only)
First discovered in the 1970s on the property owned by James and Lois Kartchner, Kartchner Caverns became a state park in 1988. This incredible
Arizona natural wonder
is absolutely incredible. On a tour, you can explore the Rotunda-Throne Room which has an otherworldly bell canopy formation. You may also see one of the longest soda straw stalactites and other fascinating formations.
9. Lava River Cave Location: Flagstaff, AZ Wow Factor: This mile-long tube was formed by molten rock from a volcano vent. It's a rare natural wonder. Cost: No fee
Lava River Cave
is a rare natural wonder created from molten rock over 700,000 years ago. Explorers and hikers should be prepared with the proper gear to get to hike through the cave. For example, you'll need a light source like a
as well as
when you're in the cave. Not only is it dark but quite cool inside!
Best Waterfalls In Arizona
Jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring don’t even begin to describe the incredible waterfalls around the state. Several are found within the Grand Canyon while others are more accessible. Here are some of the best waterfalls in Arizona:
10. Havasu Falls
Havasu Falls, Arizona 86435, USA
Location: Havasupai, AZ Wow Factor: This is considered one of the most beautiful places in Arizona. Cost: $100-$200 per person per night.
If you enjoy chasing waterfalls as much as I do, it's imperative that you add
to your bucket list. The only way to get there is to hike through the Grand Canyon. It's a tough hike that requires a permit from the Havaspai Indian tribe (if you can even get one -- they sell out fast through a lottery system) but just think of seeing this marvelous natural wonder as your prize.
11. Fossil Creek
Fossil Creek, Arizona, USA
Location: Strawberry, AZ Wow Factor: If you love swimming beneath a waterfall, you'll have your chance at Fossil Creek. The water remains at around 70 degrees year-round. Cost: No fee
Along a 4-mile hike at
, a popular swimming spot, you'll encounter a rushing cascade that can make all your waterfall-chasing dreams come true. With a year-round temperature of 70 degrees, you can go swimming whenever you'd like, although it's probably best in warmer weather.
12. Water Wheel Falls Location: Payson, AZ Wow Factor: Surrounded by a small canyon, the river with a series of cascades is absolutely gorgeous! Cost: $10/vehicle from April 1 through Oct. 31.
One of my favorite towns to explore is
. Not only is it one of the best nature spots in Arizona but it's home to Water Wheel Falls. To get there, just park your car in one of the lots and hit the trail that runs alongside the river. You'll eventually see a series of small cascades. Keep walking further and further and you'll eventually encounter larger falls. If you're feeling the need to cool off, go ahead and jump in the water -- this is a popular local swimming spot after all. This is a great place to beat the Phoenix summer heat, and it's only an hour away!
Best Overlooks & Scenic Vistas In Arizona
Ready for the most epic views you’ll ever see? I am forever impressed by the scenery around the state and the views that made me fall in love with the state. Among the best scenic overlooks and vistas in Arizona are the following:
13. Little Colorado River Gorge Overlook
Little Colorado River Gorge Overlook, Rd 6140, Cameron, AZ 86020, USA
Location: Cameron, AZ Wow Factor: The overlook gives you epic vistas reminiscent of those you'd see at the Grand Canyon minus all the crowds. Cost: $8/person
Located on the Navajo Nation in the Little Colorado River Gorge is an epic overlook that hardly anyone seems to know about. The
Little Colorado River Gorge Overlook
will give you incredible views of the gorge that will remind you of the Grand Canyon.
14. Oak Creek Vista
Oak Creek Vista, State, AZ-89A, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA
Location: Flagstaff, AZ Wow Factor: You can't beat the views of Oak Creek Canyon from this overlook! Cost: No fee
Take the ultra-scenic 89A between Sedona and Flagstaff and you'll find
Oak Creek Vista
about halfway through the drive. With a paved walkway, you can get out of your car and get a bird's eye view of Oak Creek Canyon.
15. Gates Pass
Gates Pass Scenic Lookout, 7799 W Gates Pass Rd, Tucson, AZ 85745, USA
Location: Tucson, AZ Wow Factor: Your jaw may drop once you see all the vistas on this drive. Cost: No fee
Take a scenic drive through the 20,000-acre Tucson Mountain Park and you'll find some of the
best nature in Arizona
. While there are plenty of hiking trails here, sometimes it's just nice to sit in the car and take in the views on a scenic drive. This park is found in the western portion of Saguaro National Park and you will be in awe of how many saguaro cacti you'll see.
Best Rock Formations In Arizona
We’ve all heard of the Red Rocks of Sedona. While impressive, there are plenty of other places around the state with incredible rock formations. Here are a few of those places:
16. White Pocket
White Pocket, Arizona 86036, USA
Location: Marble Canyon, AZ Wow Factor: White Pocket is made up of a series of dramatic rock formations. Cost: A permit must be acquired for parts of Vermilion Cliffs.
Located within Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is a section you have to see with your own eyes to believe.
is part of Coyote Buttes North and looks as though it belongs on another planet. At one square mile, this white and gray swirl of ridges and domed rocks is unlike anything you've ever seen before. This is the second most visited site within the monument.
17. Chiricahua National Monument
Chiricahua National Monument, 12856 East Rhyolite Creek Road, Willcox, AZ 85643, USA
Location: Willcox, AZ Wow Factor: This 12,000-acre monument is filled with otherworldly rock formations. Cost: No fee
It seems like every direction you look at
Chiricahua National Monument
is a bizarre, one-of-a-kind rock formation. Hikers and photographers can't get enough of this place and all of the incredible rocks. The park can be explored either on foot or on a scenic drive.
18. Red Rocks of Sedona Location: Sedona, AZ Wow Factor: The entire city of Sedona has that wow factor due to the sheer number of red rock formations. Cost: No fee
There are plenty of reasons to visit Sedona but the top reason is its stunning
you can't find anywhere else in the state. Certain red rocks even have names, the most famous being Snoopy Rock and Bell Rock. While you can view rocks on one of the many hikes in town, there's nothing wrong with taking a drive to see them instead.
19. The Wave
Coyote Buttes, Arizona 86036, USA
Location: Coyote Buttes, AZ Wow Factor: You'll certainly be saying, "WOW!" when you visit The Wave. Cost: A permit must be acquired for parts of Vermilion Cliffs including The Wave which is part of a lottery system.
Located by the Arizona/Utah border within the Coyote Buttes of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is the most famous rock formation in the state.
, which is made of Navajo sandstone, is found a few miles from Utah in Arizona and you must obtain a permit via a competitive lottery system in order to visit it. The lucky few who are awarded a permit get to hike to one of the most jaw-dropping rock formations in the state. If you end up winning a permit, please take some pictures for the rest of us who weren't able to get one!
Unique Natural Wonders In Arizona
Natural wonders abound here in Arizona. It seems like everywhere you look there’s someplace new to discover. The following natural wonders in Arizona are unique and stand out all on their own:
20. Barringer Meteor Crater
Meteor Crater Natural Landmark, Arizona 86047, USA
Location: Winslow, AZ Wow Factor: If you enjoy anything related to space, this crater is the best-preserved meteor crater in the world. Cost: $27/adult age 14-59; $18/junior age 6-13; $25/senior age 60+; $18/military veteran.
One of the top
natural wonders in Arizona
has to be the Barringer Meteor Crater. Visit the Meteor Crater & Barringer Space Museum in Winslow to learn all about the meteor that created this giant hole in Arizona's ground. This remarkable U.S. National Natural Landmark was fascinating for my family to see in person and I urge everyone to go see it at least once.
21. Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend, Arizona 86040, USA
Location: Page, AZ Wow Factor: There's a reason this is one of the most photographed spots in the state -- just look at how picturesque it is! Cost: $10/passenger vehicle; $5/motorcycle
To reach one of the most beautiful nature spots in Arizona involves a short hike from a parking lot in Page, Arizona. As you get to the canyon overlook in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area where
is located, you'll be mesmerized at the sight of the bend in the Colorado River that goes around a sandstone rock formation. Be sure to bring your camera and take a pic for Instagram!
22. Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified National Forest Sign, Petrified Nat'l Forest Sign, Arizona 86028, USA
Location: Holbrook, AZ Wow Factor: For those interested in nature and archaeology, a trip to the Petrified Forest is a must! Cost: $25/private vehicle; $15/person; $20/motorcycle
I visited the
Petrified Forest National Park
for the first time many years ago and was in absolute awe at what I saw. This park within the Painted Desert still remains a bit of a hidden gem here in Arizona but it's absolutely worth seeing petrified wood and fossils that date back over 200 million years ago.
23. Tonto Natural Bridge
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Nf-583A, Pine, AZ 85544, USA
Location: Pine, AZ Wow Factor: This massive travertine bridge is the largest one of its kind in the world. It reaches a height of 183 feet. Cost: $7/adult (age 14+); $4/youth (age 7-13); Free for children 6 and under.
Whenever I take a road trip up to Payson and Pine, I always stop at
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
. As the largest natural travertine bridge in the world, I still find it astounding every time I visit. You can view the bridge from above or take a trek down a trail to an observation area. Those with the proper footwear can continue on a hike underneath the bridge through a 400-foot tunnel.
Which of these natural wonders in Arizona have you visited? Which ones do you find most fascinating? Let us know!
Oftentimes, a hiking trail is the best way to see a natural wonder in Arizona but you must be prepared! Check out the
list of hiking essentials you may need to consider before hitting the trails.
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