While technology has made tremendous headway in the past few decades and has created amazing human-made sights and activities, there’s no denying the lure to natural wonders. There’s something magical about how the earth creates its own beauty, and in a way, only mother nature knows how to do. Any of these natural wonders are enough to take one’s breath away and create a sense of awe. Continue reading to learn about the ten best natural wonders in the U.S.
10) Niagara Falls
Over eight million tourists visit this site every single year. Though it lies on the border of two separate countries, Canada and the USA, it’s one of the best known natural wonders. Niagara Falls is comprised of three separate falls. To visit, you’ll first need to make it to northern New York. Just remember, trying to jump or ride over the falls is illegal, so stay away from the edge!
9) Grand Canyon
Arizona is home to this incredible canyon that spans 277 miles long, 18 miles across, and one mile deep, making it the largest in the entire world. This is the only natural wonder in the United States and is considered one of the world’s seven natural wonders. Weather in the Grand Canyon varies according to elevation. Before visiting or planning activities, it’s recommended that you give the forecast a quick peak!
8) Great Sand Dunes
It has taken tens of thousands of years for these dunes to form, some of them over 750 feet tall. While it’s unlikely you’ll be able to hike the entire 30 square mile encompassment of the dunes, it is definitely worth checking out. Over 500,000 visitors a year would agree with this! Don’t let the large crowds scare you away; there’s plenty to see.
7) The Great Smoky Mountains
These mountains are another natural wonder that borders on more than one state. These mountains sit along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. Their elevation sits at 6,643 feet. Wildflowers grow abundantly here, making it even more beautiful. Unfortunately, air pollution is a constant threat to nature here. Smog hugely lowers visibility. Luckily groups are advocating against the pollution, but it’s also going to raise public awareness to beat this threat.
6) Hamilton Pool
When an underground river collapsed due to erosion, the Hamilton Pool was created. It has been a popular swimming spot for Austin, Texas residents and visitors, especially in the summer. The pool was formed thousands of years ago. The protected area spans across 232 acres, and there is a wonderful waterfall. There is plenty of room and reason for everyone to visit, given a chance. It’s such a busy spot that a reservation is required on special holidays, so check in before you stop by.
5) Yosemite National Park
You’ll need to take a trip West to see this natural wonder, all the way to California. There are so many activities to do here year-round that there’s sure to be something for everyone in your group. There are photography classes for the artsy types; adrenaline junkies may take part in rock climbing; for those looking for something slower-paced, a hike may better suit you!
4) Denali Mountain
This is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,310 feet. Denali Mountain is located in Alaska. It was first climbed in June 1913 by four explorers. If you are interested in taking the challenges, the easiest way is the West Buttress Route. The Alaska Board of Geographic Names changed the name of the mountain to Denali in 1975. It was previously called Mount McKinley.
There cannot be a list of the best natural wonders without Yellowstone National Park. This protected landmark sits upon 3 states: Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, with 96% in Wyoming. The area was first explored in 1871 by Ferdinand V. Hayden. Climate widely varies across the park, and you should definitely look into weather trends before visiting. The temperatures can even drop below freezing sometimes.
2) Grand Teton
Grand Teton is the highest mountain in Grand Teton National Park. Located in Northwest Wyoming, this is a well-known destination for mountaineering. There has been dispute over when the mountain was first ascended, but it’s said to have been as early as 1872. Today, the mountain can be climbed by hiking several different routes, such as the Owen-Spalding route. Parts of the climb is a bit tricky, so it’s recommended only for experienced individuals. Some beginners have reported making it, though, so give it a try if you’re up for it!
1) Mammoth Cave
Located in Kentucky, this cave sits in Mammoth Cave National Park and is the longest cave system in the entire world. Certain species of bats, crickets and salamanders call this cave home, so be careful! Unlike some other caves, Mammoth Cave National Park has a subtropical climate. The best part is that the park offers tours, so if you want to take a look around, you won’t have to go at it alone. You can even choose an electrically lit route, or opt into carrying a lamp along with all the others in your group. Tours last anywhere from two to four hours in length.
Living in the U.S. is great in so many ways, and these ten natural wonders make sure of that. Whether you’re taking an entire week vacation or just a weekend getaway, any one of these destinations would make for an amazing trip.