It’s no secret that Arizona is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the United States; a fact known all too well to June Zwan, a Yuma, Arizona native. She spent much of her childhood exploring the nature of the state and now makes it her mission to educate other youngsters on the wonders of nature and the importance of wildlife preservation. Here she takes a look at the most beautiful natural wonders that her state has to offer.
Caption: June Zwan outside a nature sanctuary
The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is one of Arizona’s most well-known wonders and it’s somewhere that Zwan has spent a lot of her time. The landscape will truly take your breath away and the size of it means that it never feels overcrowded, even in the peak season. “It’s best to be prepared if you plan to hike the Grand Canyon,” says Zwan. “Bring what you think you’re going to need and never forget a flashlight, food and water”. The Canyon itself is home to a variety of trails so you can start off small and work your way up to some of the bigger ones once your confidence and fitness level increases.
Olde Stage Road is a trail in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It’s just over 7 miles in length and rises to nearly 10,000 feet in elevation. Remember to pack extra water and if you are not used to altitude, some local shops carry oxygen and canteens. Be sure to check our Mt. Baldy while you’re there, it’s a great little trail that I loved.
The Antelope Canyon
Located in Page, the Antelope Canyon is part of the Navajo Nation Reserve, and is a popular hotspot with both professional and amateur photographers. This is one natural wonder where you’ll want to hire a guide, as doing so will enable you to hike to some of the most gorgeous scenery the state has to offer. “Although the Antelope Canyon has some great photo opportunities, don’t feel like you have to hike with one,” says Zwan. “I sometimes get the most from a hike when it’s just me and the trail. Just get out there and enjoy it!”
The Havasu Falls are a top choice of destination for experienced hikers, though not such a great idea for young children and those with little hiking experience. Located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, the falls cascade over 100 feet and are absolutely stunning. A 10 mile hike each way is required in order to reach the falls, but if you are up to the task, it’s 100% worth it. “This trail can take a lot of work to complete,” says Zwan. “But the view from the top is so beautiful, you’ll be glad you did it.”
Finally, bordering Arizona and Utah, Monument Valley is another natural wonder that should definitely be on your bucket list. “This spot offers an impressive view of the American West,” says Zwan. “Its scenic sand dunes and jagged rock formations have made it a hotspot as a film location and it’s a great place to reconnect with nature.” This is also one of the best wonders to visit if you’re unable to hike for health or ability reasons. Visitors can take a 17-mile drive through the valley in order to see everything it has to offer.
Arizona is a top choice for those who want to reconnect with nature and explore some of the world’s most amazing landscapes!