Pardon the pun, but rocks kind of rock. Whether it’s the slick granite face of a steep mountain, a natural wonder that stands out like an iron iconoclast, a sea stack that seems to rise from the depths of the ocean floor, or a massive and commanding cave, these stark formations never fail to take our breath away. The U.S. is full of jaw-dropping rock formations that are nothing short of sublime, especially when juxtaposed with their surroundings. Today we’re taking a tour of the most unique and uncompromising rock formations in the country; 17 awe-inspiring places sure to satisfy and inspire your wanderlust.

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These granite monoliths all ground and connect us to the bigger, wide world — and our place in history, too. After exploring these stark landscapes, why not mix if up and venture into one of the country’s numerous national forests?

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