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Four Natural Wonders of Arizona

by TrailBoss
antelope canyon arizona

Ever wonder what to see on your next Arizona Vacation? There are four natural wonders in Arizona that you should not pass up. They are each unique in their own way and show the diverse natural landscape of Arizona.

The Grand Canyon
This is the most photographed place on the planet. Over 5 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year and they’re all taking pictures. Most visitors only see the Canyon from the Rim view areas but there are some hearty souls that hike either part-way or all the way into the Canyon.

We’ve all seen photographs of the Grand Canyon but none really do it justice. Photos can’t capture the depth of the Canyon nor can they show the ever changing hues and colors created by clouds and the changing sunlight.

The Grand Canyon is easy to get to and is only about 4.5 hours from metro Phoenix. Just drive north on I-17, then West on I-40 and follow the signs to the Canyon.

Admission is $25 per vehicle and the pass is good for a week. For more details call: 928-638-7888 or go to the National Park website: http://www.nps.gov/grca.

Ciricahua National Monument
Ciricahua National Monument near Wilcox, Arizona has stunning views of what the Apaches called ‘the land of the standing up rocks’. The park has an 8-mile paved scenic drive that allows you to easily see the beauty of these sandstone formations.

There are also17-miles of day-use hiking trails if you want to get up close and discover the beauty, natural sounds, and inhabitants of this 11,985 acre site. Check out the stunning views from Massai Point which is at the end of Bonita Canyon Drive.

The Faraway Ranch Historic District will help you discover more about the people who developed this area of Southeast Arizona.

The best time to go is spring and fall. Admission is $5 and is good for 7 days. Admission is free for children 15 and younger. For more details call: 520-824-3560 or go to the National Park website: http://www.nps.gov/chir.

Antelope Canyon
This area is a landscape photographers dream come true. Slot canyons with weathered sandstone provide a great backdrop for stunning photos.

It is really two distinct canyons – Upper and Lower Antelope. Each of the canyons has hidden “slots” carved from the swirling sandstone. The canyons are very narrow and in some places you can reach out and touch both sides. The canyons drain into Lake Powell and are prone to flash flooding so make sure of weather conditions before you hike. The upper canyon is accessible with a short walk through a flat sandy area while the lower canyon must be reached through a series of ladders.

Antelope Canyon is located three miles southeast of Page, Arizona. You must have a guide in order to visit either of the canyons.

Admission is by guided tour only. The tour prices vary but a typical tour costs $32 for 90 minutes. For more information visit their website: http://navajonationparks.org/htm/antelopecanyon.htm

Kartchner Caverns
The caverns were discovered in 1974 by two cavers who were exploring the limestone hills near the base of the Whetsone Mountains in Southern Arizona. This ‘live’ cave features a variety of unique formations and minerals. The cave is continuing to develop as water is still seeping in and creating new shapes and formations.

Kartchner Caverns is an extensive limestone cave system. Here are some of the unique features of the caverns:
In the Throne Room you’ll find one of the world’s longest soda straw stalactites at 21 feet 3 inches.
Also in the Throne Room is the Kubla Khan, a 58 foot tall massive column
In the Big Room is the world’s most extensive formation of brushite moonmilk
There are also other unique features such as, shields, helictites, rimstone dams, needle quartz formations and totems.
In addition to the caverns, there is a Discovery Center that features a gift shop, museum exhibits and an education center. The Carverns also has a campground and hiking trails.

For more information call 520-586-2283. You can call 7 days a week, from 8 am to 5 pm MST. You can visit their website at: http://www.pr.state.az.us/parks/KACA/tour_info.html

Admission to the Cave
Rotunda/Throne Tour $22.95 for Adults and $12.95 for ages 7-13
Big Room Tour $22.95 for Adults and $12.95 for ages 7-13
Note: Children ages 6 and under are prohibited from taking the Big Room Tour.

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