Most People Don't Know About These Fascinating Geologic Wonders Located In Arizona
Living in a state that’s home to natural wonders like the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls and
Antelope Canyon makes it difficult to justify vacationing anywhere else. Why would we, when we have so much to see and do right in our own back yard? While those popular, touristy places mentioned above are top-of-mind for visitors, there are some places in Arizona that are geologic wonders also worthy of exploring. For instance, did you know Arizona is home to seven sky islands?
What's a sky island?
There are approximately 27 of these natural wonders found throughout the U.S. Essentially, the sky islands are comprised of peaks above 3,000 feet that are isolated from the low-lying terrain below. Additionally, sky islands tend to have a biodiversity unlike their surrounding lowlands.
Baboquivari Peak (pictured above), located approximately 50 miles southwest of Tucson, is a favorite location for daredevil hikers and mountain climbers. The terrain in the Baboquivari Peak Wilderness area is some of the most rugged found within Arizona.
Known as Madrean Sky Islands, the seven majestic peaks and mountain ranges found in Southern Arizona were each isolated in the period following the Ice Age.
Like its six counterparts, the Santa Rita Mountain Range (shown above) also contains a great deal of biodiversity. This area is also home to the only known wild Jaguar species found in the U.S.
The Santa Catalina Mountains, including Thimble Peak, are among the most prominent of the Madrean Sky Islands In Arizona.
The magnificent mountain range provides a picturesque view from Tucson and a gorgeous backdrop for photographers seeking to capture the city's skyline. There are no trails to the top of Thimble Peak, but that doesn't stop climbers from making the technically challenging ascent. Fortunately, the Santa Catalina Mountains have a network of other trails.
Blackett's Ridge Trail
is rated difficult and doles out grandiose views of the Coronado National Forest and Thimble Peak.
An easier point of entry to set foot on one of Arizona's Sky Islands is via the Chiricahua National Monument in the sky island mountain range known as the Chiricahua Mountains located in Southeastern Arizona.
Chiricuhua National Monument is famous for the towering stone columns and the many rocks that seem to magically balance on the tops of the columns. This wonderland of rocks is an ideal way to get your boots on the ground on one of these seven sky islands. The National Park Service maintains an eight mile stretch of scenic road, as well as 17 miles of trails through this sky island — and it is a natural wonder worth exploring. Find more information from NPS
There is a whole world out there to explore (beyond the usual tourist stops) in the Grand Canyon State. How soon can you include a trip to a real Sky Island in your plans?
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