Any Arizonan would be proud of their homeland. It already has everything – from beautiful geological wonderlands and forests, to pristine lakes and refreshing springs. No matter where you are, you’d find an activity worth doing. You can treat every day as an adventure, because that’s exactly what it is. Here are 12 beautiful places in Arizona every other state wish they had (and it’s not like we blame them):
1. Grand Canyon
Let’s start with the very obvious place, shall we? Theodore Roosevelt once said that the Grand Canyon has a ‘natural wonder’ that is absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. It is easily Arizona’s most popular destination, a distinguishable landmark that goes for miles and miles (277 miles) with its vast rawness and beauty.
Photos won’t be able to give justice to this place, and you must really see it to believe it. You can try and explore the canyon from both the rim and inside. That way, you’ll get different perspectives of this natural wonder. Many first-timers prefer the Grand Canyon South Rim due to the beautiful views and plethora of services and family-oriented activities.
Location: Grand Canyon, Arizona, 86023 (northwest corner of Arizona, close to the borders of Utah and Nevada)
2. Vermilion Cliffs
Wander in a dreamy landscape where colorful swirls of Slickrock abound! The Vermilion Cliffs are home to many amazing rock formations, the most prominent ones being the White Pockets, The Wave, and Buckskin Gulch. Similar to the Grand Canyon, this destination also bumps up against the Utah/Arizona border.
In case you’re curious, the 293,000-acre monument shows the stark contrast of the beauty you can apparently find in a desert.
The central portion of the monument is made up of the Paria Plateau. It stretches south before dropping 3,000 feet at the monument’s namesake – the Vermilion Cliffs. In addition, the elevations in this monument range from 3,100 feet to 6,500 feet above sea level.
You won’t just enjoy a good hike here, you’ll also be treated to many Instagram-worthy backdrops!
Location: Marble Canyon, Arizona, 86036 (south of the Utah state line)
3. Superstition Mountains
Let’s take a breather from canyons and jump straight to this beautiful mountain. The Superstition is not just one of the beautiful places in Arizona, it’s also one of the most challenging hikes in the Phoenix area.
These central Arizona mountains are too amazing for words, towering at 6,000 plus feet, and hiding the equally interesting Lost Dutchman Mine. If you’ve been here, you’ll probably agree when we say that the Superstition Mountains are very rugged and dramatic.
Experience a one-of-a-kind adventure and follow the trail that goes on miles to witness a spectacular desert wilderness. Expect the terrain to be a mix of uneven, steep flat, boulders, and vertical ascents that will challenge you. It will be a difficult hike, but rest assured that the views from the summit are worth the trek.
Location: Superstition Mountains, East of Phoenix, Arizona, 85119
4. Mount Graham
Mount Graham is a southern Arizona mountain that reaches 10,724 feet in height. Embrace the outdoors and explore this mountain! We bet you’ll come home unable to get the beautiful wildlife and lush forest out of your mind.
You can also take a tour from the Discovery Park Campus where you can learn about Mount Graham’s history and rich geology. Be in awe of the scenic mountain, take your lunch near the summit, and get a guided tour of the observatories.
Location: Mt Graham, Arizona 85546
Observatory: 1480 W. Swift Trail Safford, Arizona, 85546
5. Havasu Falls
Check out the refreshing and aesthetically pleasing Havasu Falls! Do you believe it’s as good as it looks in the photos? This is exactly why it is one of the beautiful places in Arizona.
You would have to conquer a challenging hike before you can see the waterfall. It is 100% worth it. Just be careful because there will be a steep and rocky 1.5-mile walk down at the start. Expect it to flatten out after that.
Location: Hualapai Hilltop, Supai, Arizona, 86435
6. Antelope Canyon
Who knew that the product of millions of years of water erosion would look this stunning? The Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon that features monumental sandstone sculptures. It has canyon walls that climb 120 feet above the steambed, engulfing you in a natural wonder. Its wave-like structures are simply mesmerizing, and it gets even better when the sun shines directly into the openings.
Every photographer probably dreams of capturing a good photo in this destination. Did you know that the Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is “Tse’ bighanilini?” It literally means “the place where water runs through rocks.” Way to give credit where credit is due. Nature is the ultimate artist and we all know it!
Location: Antelope Canyon, Arizona 86040 (a few miles Southeast of Page, AZ on US Highway 98).
7. Fossil Creek
Looking for a place to escape the heat? Only a few destinations can compare to Fossil Creek, Arizona’s wild and scenic river. It is a beauty, yes. But there’s more to this rare riparian area than you might think. Many plants and wildlife actually depend on Fossil Creek, and this includes leopard frogs, beavers, and even black hawks. There are also native fish populations in some segments of Fossil Creek that consider the place its habitat.
According to reports, hundreds of people arrive at both ends of this stretch of creek about 80 miles northeast of Phoenix every weekend. We guess you could say this oasis is a real blockbuster! After all, this is one of the most beautiful places in Arizona.
Location: 22 miles southeast of Camp Verde or 86 miles south of Flagstaff
GPS Coordinates: 34°23’39.6″N 111°37’48.1″W
8. Petrified Forest
If you’re looking for a place where you can take a mindful walk, the Petrified Forest is perfect for you! It features world-renowned petrified logs, including some amazing badlands, mesas and buttes, and ancient petroglyphs. You can even see the Arizona wildflowers in full bloom here!
Are you wondering how this place came to be? Long ago, the volcanic lava destroyed the forest. All the remains composed of volcanic ash and water were then embedded into the sediment. The erosion set the logs free millions of years later, and it revealed a petrified wood beauty made mostly of quartz. The Petrified Forest is also visible from some overlooks.
Location: 1 Park Road, Petrified Forest, Arizona, 86028
9. Tonto Natural Bridge
Feel free to admire the beauty of the largest natural travertine bridge in the world! The Tonto Natural Bridge is a natural arch carved by geological forces for eons. The said bridge towers 183 feet over the water coursing below it (Pine Creek).
It’s something, isn’t it? You will surely experience moments of peace in this beautiful place. Many visitors prefer to take a photo under the bridge because it features a mini waterfall.
Location: AZ-87, Pine, Arizona, 85544 (14 miles north of Payson on State Route 87)
10. Lake Powell
This major vacation spot is indeed one of the most beautiful places in Arizona. No wonder it’s getting about two million visitors per year.
Lake Powell is a man-made lake with 90 side canyons, some going for 25 miles deep. The beautiful shoreline stretches for 2,000 miles, its vastness complementing the perfect weather and endless sunshine. Guests will just be in awe of the scenery and the stunning land features. If you want to explore this place a bit more, head to the Wahweap Marina or Antelope Point Marina.
Location: Page, Arizona
GPS Coordinates: 37° 4′ 5.7432” N and 111° 14′ 35.9196” W
11. San Francisco Peaks
The San Francisco Peaks are a famous volcanic mountain range that are remnants of the former San Francisco Mountain. It is home to the state’s tallest peak (Humphreys Peak at 12,633 feet) and is also the only alpine tundra.
Many people immediately fall in love with the landscape here no matter the season. Summer is perfect for hiking activities, Autumn is best for watching shimmering leaves, while Winter is the perfect time to play in the snow.
Outdoor enthusiasts will also enjoy different activities such as hiking and skiing among many others. On top of that, they will find the tall aspen and pine trees absolutely stunning!
Location: San Francisco Mountain, Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
What do you think of these places? It’s all amazing, right? Boy, we can’t wait until the future gives us a travel machine so we can simply teleport to the beautiful places in Arizona.
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