The rugged beauty of the Southwest is truly something to behold. No photographs can do justice to its desert, river, and stony landscapes. So why don’t you pack your bags and discover them for yourself? These spectacular sights should be on any Southwestern bucket list.
Awesome Rock Formations: Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
It seems there’s a stunning landscape wherever you look at Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park. Nevada’s oldest and largest state park gets its name from the fiery red sandstone rock formations that date back to the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Look for the petroglyphs carved on the rock faces by the Anasazi and Paiute people approximately 2,000 years ago. The 30-mile Bitter Springs Trail is ideal for serious hikers while the 2-mile Scenic Loop Road, which passes by the Arch Rock and Piano Rock, will satisfy casual trekkers.
Rugged Chasm: The Grand Canyon, Arizona
No list of spectacular Southwestern landscapes would be complete without mentioning the Grand Canyon. One of the seven natural wonders of the world, its immense size of around 277 miles by 18 miles must be experienced in person to be really appreciated. You can hike around the canyon to appreciate its rugged beauty, take a helicopter tour to take it all in, or join a canoe tour on the Colorado River for a different point of view.
Desert Delight: Tucson Mount District of Saguaro National Park, Arizona
It’s just 10 miles west of Tucson, but the Tucson Mount District of Saguaro National Park feels like a whole other world. The Sonoran Desert landscape provides the perfect backdrop for the giant saguaro cacti that live there. This majestic cactus species is actually the largest cactus found anywhere in the world. There is another part of the Saguaro National Park 10 miles east of Tucson, the Rincon Mountain District, but the western side arguably has more breathtaking views. Since it’s so close to the city, Tucson hotels make the perfect base for exploring Saguaro National Park.
Amazing Art Installation: Cadillac Ranch, Texas
Cadillac Ranch is a little different to the other landscapes detailed here because its defining feature is manmade rather than a natural beauty. However, it’s no less breathtaking for that! Determined to bring a piece of public art to confuse the locals to Amarillo, billionaire Stanley Marsh put hippies from San Francisco known by the mysterious moniker, The Ant Farm, to work. The result is Cadillac Ranch: 10 Cadillacs half-buried nose-first in the Texas soil.
Cadillac Ranch has constantly evolved since its inception in 1974. Passersby stop to remove a piece as a souvenir or deface the vehicles. Marsh and the Ant Farm didn’t mind; in fact, they encouraged the expression. There are always spray cans on site for visitors to add their own marks to this ever-changing piece of public art. Be sure to snap an image of your handiwork, as it’s sure to get covered up by the next carload of interested travelers.
Don’t make do with the images you see on the internet. America’s breathtaking Southwest is waiting for you to explore.