USA’s astounding natural parks of Utah and Arizona

by Sylvia

Utah national parks

If you did not know it already, I can tell you that the USA has some of (if not) the most spectacular nature you will ever see. The immense beauty of the sights seen on our trip through national parks in Utah and Arizona is just incredible.

One of my first stops after crossing the border of New Mexico was Goosenecks Sate Park. So named after the shape of the canyon, which I did not quite capture on film. It’s quite incredible that such an amazing site is largely overlooked and we were virtually the only tourists there. Goosenecks Sate Park falling over the edge USAnationalparks (16 of 23)

A little further on you find the Valley of the Gods. You can drive right through it and you will have no difficulty wondering why they gave this valley this particular name. The formations look spectacular and are awe inspiring.

Valley of the gods Valley of the gods view

I particularly loved all the beautiful colors of the scenery.

valley of the gods magical colors Valley of the gods Valley of the gods Utah USA USAnationalparks (21 of 23)USAnationalparks (6 of 23)

Quite a tricky (but spectacular) road to drive on.

USAnationalparks (3 of 9) USAnationalparks (4 of 9)  USAnationalparks (3 of 23)

We even came across a small twister blowing sand in the air. sand tornado

In the area we also came across the Aztec Ruins. Despite the name they have nothing to do with ‘Aztec’ but instead were created by pueblo people 900 years ago. It was a village complete with a great Kiva (temple) that was masterfully constructions with a combination of stone and wood. All the walls were plastered and it would have been a comfortable village to live in. Aztec ruins

Quite a bit of mystery surrounds the site. Noone can quite explain why the Pueblo people deserted the site, although the Pueblo people themselves feel there is no mystery at all and consider the site a spiritual site where they connect with their ancestors. Aztec ruins USAnationalparks (11 of 23)

Not far from the Valley of the Gods but in Arizona is Monument Valley. Site of many western movies and again a spectacular site of nature and beauty.

monument valley monument valley USA monument valley monument valley monument valley monument valley monument valley

A little further into Arizona is The Grand Canyon National Park, which is another stunning work of nature. Grand Canyon Grand Canyon USA Grand Canyon Grand Canyon

Then in Nevada we came across the Hoover Dam, which is a spectacular man made site.

Hoover Dam Nevada

I’m thankful for the opportunity to see this spectacular nature and these photographs so I will not easily forget it. If you like to see this pictures in higher resolution, they can also be found at Smugmug.

For now, I’d like to hear from you. What has been the most impressive nature you have ever seen?


1 Rita A.

I was blessed to work a project with the scientists at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, and travelled via helicopter to the active Kilauea lava fields several times. I am not one that is easily moved, emotionally, but standing just feet from actively flowing lava, hearing and seeing it rush through the lava tubes as if it were water (at 2000 degrees F!) on it’s way to the sea’s edge was the most humbling experience of my life. It was as if I was given a rare gift, watching a small part of creation.

2 Sylvia

That sounds like an amazing experience Rita!

3 Petra

Wow! The scenery is amazing – great background for your shots!

4 Madame Là-Bas

We have enjoyed the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula and the North Cascades in Washington State, Crater Lake in Oregon, and of course, the Red Rocks of Sedona.

5 Sylvia

Interesting. Still some place I need to visit!

6 Greetje

Spectacular pictures. The photo were you are on is very nice, but makes my stomach turn. I can see the danger of falling down… brrrrr…..

7 Sylvia

That photo is scarier that it looks.. Mike pulled this trick on me where he stood there and then fell backwards; gave me a real shock! But there is actually a small plateau just underneath….

8 Laura

Yeah…we rule.

9 The Style Crone

Magnificent! I’ve been to some of these places and enjoyed your photo tour. You’re living on the edge in the perfect travel hat!

10 Sylvia

It’s indeed the perfect travel hat. Goes with everything and you can just fold it up!

11 Lorraine

These are truly amazing pictures, Sylvia.
You really got me thinking as many places that stick in my mind have a man-made element, but Yosemite National Park, USA left me in awe. It was so perfect, like a film set. I don’t think anybody could fail to be impressed by Halong Bay, Vietnam and the similar scenery of Phra Nang Bay, Thailand. I saw amazing sights in South Africa – the coast around Cape Town and rock formations like Bourke’s Luck Potholes on the way to the Kruger Park, which is amazing itself. I also love the Amalfi coast, Italy, best seen from a super yacht (sadly I don’t have one!), although arguably the coastal towns enhance the natural beauty. Austria, and the way the mountains just rise straight up, is so beautiful and impressive. As a Brit I should also mention the Highlands of Scotland and the Lake District, England.

12 Sylvia

Great overview of beautiful place, some of which I’ve been fortunate to see also. Phra Nang Bay is closeby and I have not seen that yet… Should check it out some day.

13 Lorraine

Sorry that should have been Phang Nga Bay but you know where I mean, Sylvia! Do try and go. We have been a few times but not since the tsunami. We were in Phuket 10 days before it.

14 Kathy Johnston

Thanks for your amazing pictures of the Grand Canyon! The Grand Canyon ties with our Canadian Rockies as one of my favourite places on earth. My husband and I have done several hikes to the bottom of the canyon and back up to the rim. At the bottom, we stayed at Phantom Ranch in a cabin. There is also a dining hall where you can get your meals.

I’ll post pics in the forum so you can see the clothing we wore when hiking the canyon. You need to dress in layers because you are hiking into the desert and very hot conditions.

15 Sylvia

Spectacular pictures Kathy and great tips! For all readers, definitely check out her tips for both clothing and planning for this trip at:

16 Lisa

Such a beautiful photograph. Thank you.

17 Trina Grandinetti

You captured some great memories. I feel truly blessed to live in the state of Utah and have been to every one of the national parks. Each year we spend two weeks in Lake Powel with the spectalur views of the Grand Canyon, I never get tired of this beauty. We also spend a lot of time down in Moab and hiling at Havasupai, which is absolutely breathtaking. I’m so happy you were able to experience some of our beauty.

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