Utah is known for its impossible canyons and rock formations. Arches National Park in Eastern Utah is one of the most impressive. Here, natural sandstone arches, formed over millions of years when salt beds covered the area, create an amazing orange brown landscape. The area has a rich history as well as fascinating geology, it was home to the Ute and Paiute tribes. Ute petroglyphs from around 250 years ago can still be seen today. Bryce Canyon, also in Utah, should not be overlooked as a destination if beautiful rock formations captivate you.
In beautiful Wyoming you will find the breathtaking Grand Teton National Park, which features the 46 mile long Grand Teton mountain range. Grand Teton National Park is just 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park, and a visit to one should include a visit to the other. The park is named for Grand Teton mountain, the tallest mountain in the park at 13,775 feet (4,199 m). Grand Teton National Park has a rich history of Paleo-Indian and Native American settlements, dating to over 11,000 years ago. The park also has fascinating geography, with glaciated mountains, lakes, and valleys creating a unsurpassed landscape of beauty.
New Zealand’s north island is home to Mount Taranaki, or Mount Egmont, a 2,518 meter (8,261 ft) tall active volcano. Taranaki is quite young for a volcano, having become active only 135,000 years ago. Its most recent activity was a mere 160 years ago. Mount Taranaki is the center of the Egmont National Park, the circular tree-line boundary of which can be seen in two of the photos below. Visitors to the mountain can enjoy the Manganui ski resort for skiing and snowboarding. Those more adventurous types can trek to the summit during the summer months. The closest major town is New Plymouth, just north of the mountain, where all types of hotels and other accommodation can be found.
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.
The Patagonian Perito Moreno Glacier, located in the Los Glaciares National Park of Argentina, is part of the Andes system and is one of the major tourist attractions in Patagonia due to its ease of accessibility and impressive size. The glacier is 5 km (3 miles) wide and has an average above-water height of 74 meters (240 feet). Perito Moreno Glacier sees daily bus tours as it’s just a 2 hour bus ride from the small town of El Calafate. Visitors can walk around the glacier to see it from a few different angles, or take a short trek on the glacier itself.
The massive Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a sandstone rock formation in central Australia. Officially located in the Northern Territory, Uluru is an inselberg (literally “island mountain”) which is a leftover section of a mountain range after erosion has removed the original mountain range. The formation is home to ancient wall paintings, springs, and caves. Uluru stands 348 meters (1,142 ft) tall. It is popular with photographers during sunset when it appears to glow red. Many visitors opt to enjoy a steep hour-long climb to the top of Uluru. Uluru is located inside the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park and visitors must pay a $25 fee to enter the area. There is a nearby airport for those interested in a short and easy visit to Uluru. Visitors wishing to stay longer can find accommodation in the nearby town of Alice Springs.
The stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park lies in the Lika region of Croatia. The park is surrounded by the mountains Plješevica, Mala Kapela, and Medveđak, which are part of the Dinaric Alps. The 16 blue-green Plitvice Lakes, which are separated by natural dams of travertine, are situated on the Plitvice plateau. Waterfalls connect the lakes, and the tallest waterfall is Veliki Slap at 70 meters (230 feet) tall. The Plitvice lakes area boasts a large variety of interesting and colorful flora and fauna. Visitors can enjoy walking and hiking the many pathways and trails, or exploring the lakes by boat. The park itself has 3 hotels and a campsite, otherwise visitors can find accommodation at any of the number of villages and cities nearby.