Lake Powell is a man-made reservoir on the Colorado river. Located in the United States between Utah and Arizona, Lake Powell is surrounded by magnificent Navajo sandstone canyon walls in bright oranges, reds, and whites. These striking colors contrast beautifully with Lake Powell’s blue-green waters. Lake Powell is a sprawling, winding lake, and is the second largest man-made lake in the United States. The lake was made when Glen Canyon Dam was constructed in the early 1960s, flooding Glen Canyon. The lake, along with Horseshoe Bend and the notable Rainbow Bridge National Monument rock formation, is now part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Visitors to the lake can tour its waters via boat rental or guided tour. Tour operators and lodging can be found in the nearby town of Page in Arizona.
Monument Valley is a an area know for its impressively formed sandstone buttes. The region is part of the Colorado Plateau, located in the Navajo Nation on the border between the states of Arizona and Utah in the American Southwest. Encompassing much of the area surrounding Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Monument Valley is an important part of Native American heritage. For a $5 fee, visitors to Monument Valley can take a 2-3 hour scenic drive over a 17 mile (27 km) dirt road, which is open from 6:00am-8:30pm from May to September, and 8:00am-4:30pm from October to April. Other visitors may chose to enjoy a multi-hour or overnight horseback ride to some of the more spectacular views and sites. If you’re interested in a unique view of Monument Valley you can even take a hot air balloon ride over the area. Visitors who are arriving via car can only access the park via Highway 163. There are two hotels near Monument Valley, and the nearest town of Kayenta, Arizona, is about 20 miles (32 km) away. Monument Valley is part of a greater network of attractions called the Grand Circle which also includes Grand Canyon National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Zion Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and Arches National Park.
The Anasazi Pueblo People were an ancient culture of Native Americans who were believed to have lived as long ago as the 12 century BCE. These ancient peoples are known for the impressive pueblo homes, made of mud, stone, or carved into canyon walls, which are today called the Anasazi Ruins. These ruins can be found at many sites in the American Southwest, including Mesa Verde National Park, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Dark Canyon Wilderness, and other sites predominately located in the states of Colorado, Arizona, and Utah. All of these ruins are sacred places and should be treated with respect when visited.
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 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.
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.