Okay, there’s little doubt that for many, seeing the Grand Canyon in all its majesty is worth visiting Arizona alone. For some it’s the only stop to make. And who am I to argue? It is breathtaking, after all. If you’re lucky enough to be travelling through Arizona, there are a good number of places that are worthwhile seeing. If you’re keen to turn a great trip into a truly memorable one on the other hand, the suggestions below may just have you in a Zen-like state before you can say Lake Powell!
This seemingly endless chasm, carved by the Colorado River, is the most obvious of attractions and arguably Arizona’s biggest drawcard. Just ask the five million people who flock to see it each year! The Grand Canyon has earned its place on the illustrious Seven Wonders of the World list, and for good reason: it’s awe-inspiring.
There’s so much about this place that can be said, so let’s start with the obvious. It’s big. And I mean HUGE. At 1.6 km deep, you can drive a car off the ledge (please don’t) and count to twenty before it would land!
The South Rim is the most popular and accessible area to view the canyon from, with various positions that overlook Hermits Rest, Desert View and Grand Canyon Village. This section is open all year round, and is your best bet for a decent gander – especially if you’re travelling by car.
For hikers, the Grand Canyon is a playground, with multiple trails that cater for casual sightseers and seasoned hikers alike. For those feeling adventurous, you can hike down to the valley floor but be warned – it’s quite a distance and it’s not for the faint-hearted. If you are determined to make the trek, be sure to play it safe and take the necessary precautions. Above all, take plenty of liquid.
As featured on BBC’s “Stephen Fry in America”, this stunning attraction, simply put, is one of the most mind-bogglingly beautiful places you will find anywhere. It’s no understatement to say that photos honestly do not do this place justice, and that you really have to see this place in the flesh to appreciate its splendour.
Connecting the border between Arizona and Utah, Lake Powell is the second largest man-made reservoir in the US, now one unbeatable houseboating destination. You’d be forgiven for thinking this breathtaking spot has existed since the dawn of time, but in fact the lake was only formed in 1963. Amazing! Not only that, but it wasn’t until 1980 that Lake Powell reached “full pool”.
The best way to take in the landscape as you’ve probably guessed, is by boat. There are endless rock formations and changing landscapes to explore, thanks to the many canyons that straddle the lake. Gently gliding down the calm waters is almost a spiritual experience, and if you had any troubles niggling at your mind before hand, you certainly won’t now.
While there’s nothing even close to a ‘dull’ location on the lake, perhaps the most popular is the “Cathedral in the Desert” – a sandstone chamber that towers some 1000’ above you. You can take a small boat up to this spot and take a short walk to the chamber. Bring your camera…because unless you’re doing something wrong, you should be able to get a shot worthy of National Geographic. It’s THAT photogenic!
Like watching birds? Good. Because this spot is admired by the “packed lunch and binoculars” type of folk who flock to this location year round. If at first this sounds like something best left for the tour bus crowd, then think again, because this canyon, nestled within the Coronado National Forest, boasts superb picnic areas and hiking trails amidst the picturesque backdrop of the Santa Rita Mountains, south of Tucson. In other words, this is nature at its best, and has enough variety to appeal to everyone.
It’s not just about the birds. Really! There’s a Noah’s Ark of wildlife on display at Madera Canyon, from deer to whiskered screech owls. But beyond that, it’s just one heck of a place to relax and take in the sights and sounds.
This is but a brief glimpse into the rich tapestry that is Arizona, but these three attractions will have you well on your way to a holiday you’ll never forget. If you’re keen on seeing this mystical place for yourself, head on over to Cheap Flights and see if you can find yourself a deal on airfares. If there’s a bucket list of things to see before you shuffle off this mortal coil, Arizona has to be one of them.