In the southwestern part of Utah in the United States lies a wondrous work of erosion – Bryce Canyon. Despite its name, Bryce Canyon is an eroded natural amphitheater rather than a canyon. The most notable features of Bryce Canyon are its “hoodoos”, or geological structures formed by harsh weather erosion caused by wind, ice and water. One of the hoodoos is called Thor’s Hammer because its shape resembles that of a hammer. Visitors to Bryce Canyon can enjoy a scenic drive to 13 viewpoints overlooking the canyon. Tourists can also enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Bryce Canyon is close to both Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, as well as the town of Kanab, Utah, where many visitors to the area choose to find accommodation. Lodging can also be found in Bryce Canyon National Park’s two campgrounds or its lodge.
One of the most popular waterfalls in Yosemite National Park of California in the United States, Vernal fall measures 97 meters (317 feet) high. A hike along the Mist Trail to the fall takes visitors very close to the fall where they become shrouded in its mist. The hike to Vernal Fall is short at only 2.1 km (1.3 miles) long. At the top of the fall hikers enjoy a rest at the Emerald Pool, named for its deep green color, which is a small lake where some visitors choose to swim, though it is against the park rules and can be dangerous if care is not taken. Travelers who wish to visit Vernal Fall should make it a part of a greater trip to the awe-inspiring Yosemite National Park where many other spectacular natural sights can be enjoyed. Accommodation is plentiful at the park and includes hotels as well as campgrounds. There is a $20 fee to enter Yosemite National Park.
In Arizona, near the border with Utah, in the United States, you can find a stunning sandstone rock formation called The Wave. The Wave is on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes, which are in turn located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, on the Colorado Plateau. This formation is actually sand dunes calcified in vertical and horizontal layers, and the fascinating color bands are iron oxides, hematite, and goethite. The Jurassic-age Navajo sandstone making up The Wave is estimated to be 190 million years old. Getting to The Wave requires a moderately difficult 3 mile hike from the Wire Pass Trailhead. Due to the delicate nature of this formation, visitors must arrange a day permit in advance and pay a $7 fee per person. Only 20 of the highly sought-after permits are issued for each day. More info on permits can be found on the Bureau of Land Management website. Camping is not allowed in the permit area, and the closest accommodation can be found in the small towns of Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona.
The incredible moonscape hills and the impossibly beautiful cities of Turkey’s Cappadocia region are a sight to behold. Located in the center of Turkey, the Cappadocia region includes the towns of Avanos, Göreme, Nevsehir, Ortahisar, Uçhisar, and Ürgüp. Popular activities in the region include visits to the underground cities, viewing the ancient Christian cave art, exploring numerous hiking trails and volcanos, seeing the “fairy chimney” rock formations, and taking sunrise hot air balloon rides for a view of the breathtaking landscape from above.
The Dolomites are a section of the Alps mountain range in Italy. Besides the spectacular views, visitors to the Dolomites can enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, ice skating and sledding in the winter months, and hiking, mountaineering, mountain biking, base jumping, paragliding and hang-gliding in the summer. The Dolomites were recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in August, 2009. Marmolada, the Dolomites’ largest peak, stands 3,344 meters (10,972 feet) tall. The Dolomites span three Northeastern Italian provinces: Belluno, Bolzano-Bozen and Trento. Accommodation can be found in any of the many cities and villages in the area.
On the Havasupai Indian Reservation within Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona you will find the gorgeous Havasu Falls. The picture perfect falls features a blue-green pool below which is excellent for swimming. Havasu Falls is fairly difficult to reach by foot, requiring a drive to Hualapai Hilltop and then a 16 km (10 mile) hike to the Falls via the tiny village of Supai which is 3 km (2 miles) from the falls. For those not up to the long hike, a helicopter ride to Supai can be had, followed up by a horseback ride to the falls. Visitors can camp near the falls, and the village of Supai has one lodge and one cafe. Otherwise the best options for accommodation can be found 177 km (110 miles) away in the town of Seligman. The area also features four other waterfalls: Navajo Falls, Supai Falls, Mooney Falls, and Beaver Falls.