21 Natural Wonders in the USA That Will Take Your Breath Away

By Juliet Bennett Rylah

Rhapsodized in song for its “purple mountain majesties” and “amber waves of grain,” the United States is vast, diverse and naturally beautiful. A scenic coastline on either side gives way to stretches of desert and forest in between cities. Natural wonders are found within and include deep red rock canyons, active volcanoes, pale sand dunes, and sky-high trees.

Grand Canyon

Arizona’s majestic Grand Canyon was carved out by the Colorado River over the course of millions of years. It is 277 miles (446 kilometers) long and up to 18 miles (30 kilometers) wide at certain points.

Hubbard Glacier

The Hubbard Glacier, found off the coast of Alaska, is the biggest tidewater glacier in North America. The National Park Service measures it at about 76 miles (122 kilometers) long, seven miles (11 kilometers) wide and 600 feet (183 meters) tall, though only some 350 feet (107 meters) are above water.

Death Valley

California’s Death Valley contains the Badwater Basin salt flats, which, at 282 feet (86 meters) below sea level, is the lowest elevation point in North America. During summer, temperatures in this scenic desert valley can rise over 120°F (48.9°C).

Avenue of the Giants

A scenic 31-mile (50-kilometer) drive down Highway 101 near Humboldt Redwoods State Park in Northern California is perhaps better known as the Avenue of the Giants, due to the number of towering Redwoods in the area.

Arches National Park

Arches National Park in Utah boasts over 2,000 distinct stone arches, crafted by nature. Red rock pinnacles and towers stand against gorgeous sunsets and star-filled skies.

Carlsbad Caverns

The Carlsbad Caverns are limestone caverns beneath the surface of the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico, formed when sulfuric acid ate through the limestone.

Old Faithful

Old Faithful is just one reason to check out Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. It is a cone geyser that erupts once about every 74 minutes, shooting water over 100 feet (30 meters) into the air.

McWay Falls

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur, California boasts incredible coastal views. Of note is McWay Falls, a waterfall that flows 80 feet (24 meters) from McWay Creek into the Pacific Ocean.

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is so named for the Joshua Tree. These unique trees dot the desert landscape, where guests come to hike, stargaze, and camp.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

There are five volcanoes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Three are considered active, and one erupts regularly, allowing guests the rare opportunity to view flowing lava.

Vasquez Rocks

Vasquez Rocks in Agua Dulce, California have made several guest appearances in various sci-fi films and TV shows for their otherworldly appearance. A long, long time ago, sandstone rocks were lifted up, forming the unusual angles you see today.

Eternal Flame Falls

Located in Chestnut Ridge Park in New York, this waterfall features a grotto behind it that emits natural gas. When lit, a fire burns behind the cascading water.

Grand Prismatic Spring

Often overshadowed by Old Faithful, Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Hot Spring is equally spectacular. It’s 370 feet (113 meters) wide and boasts brightly colored rings around a blue center due to various species of heat-seeking bacteria living in the spring.

Thor’s Well

Found in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area in Oregon, Thor’s Well is essentially a big hole in the shoreline, which may have been a sea cave before its roof collapsed. The water flows through the top and bottom in such a way that it appears to be an endless drain.

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Forests and sloping dunes butt up against Lake Michigan, offering sweeping views and multiple terrains to explore.

Delaware Water Gap

The Delaware River’s path through the Appalachian Mountains near the Pennsylvania/New Jersey state border offers a gorgeous scene flanked by lush forest.

Crater Lake

Thousands of years ago, a volcano collapsed, with rain filling the hole. The result, known as Crater Lake, is the deepest lake in the United States.

Florida Everglades

The Florida Everglades offer subtropical sawgrass marshes and mangrove forests teeming with wildlife.

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave in Kentucky is the longest discovered cave system in the world. Over 400 miles (644 kilometers) of the limestone caves have been explored, some of which are available for tours.

Hamilton Pool

Hamilton Pool Preserve, located in Texas, is tucked into a picturesque grotto. It features a 50-foot (15-meter) waterfall and plenty of plants and wildlife.

Alkali Flat Trail

The White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, as the name suggests, features pristine dunes of white gypsum sand. The Alkali Flat Trail is especially captivating for its unadulterated views.

Source: 21 Natural Wonders in the USA That Will Take Your Breath Away