America is filled to the brim with amazing natural phenomena and landscapes. Pristine lakes, sublime mountain ranges, exploding volcanoes, and epic-sized glaciers all call America home and are available for everyone to see, usually only at the price of a road trip or national park entrance fee. Here are ten of the top awe-inspiring natural wonders you can only see in America to put on your next travel bucket list.
10 The Everglades, Florida
The importance of this natural wonder can be seen in the various labels it holds - it is a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, and a Wetland of International Importance.
A web of swamps, forests, rivers, and prairies and home to countless species, the Everglades provides an incredible glimpse into just how amazing nature can be. Visitors can spend days hiking, biking, and kayaking through this amazing wilderness to soak it all in (just watch out for the alligators).
9 Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
The highest sand dunes in America, the Great Sand Dunes of Colorado will inspire awe in any visitor. Star Dune, the highest in the park at 750 feet (229 meters) tall, is a truly sublime sight. The dunes are a great place to go camping, hiking, and sand sledding. They have also called the attention of photographers searching for a clear night sky as the uninterrupted darkness above the dunes provides perfect conditions for clear star-gazing.
8 Death Valley, California and Nevada
Despite the uninviting name and almost-constant state of drought that the valley finds itself in, Death Valley is actually home to a great variety of wildlife and plants. Its barren landscape looks like that of another planet, so it comes as no surprise that the filmmakers of Star Wars chose it as their location for Tatooine in Episodes IV and VI. However, the desert is occasionally covered in wildflowers after the occasional rainstorm, and small oases filled with fish can even be found in this inhospitable location.
7 Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Multnomah Falls is generally acknowledged as the tallest year-round waterfall in the US, meaning visitors can see the amazing, 611-foot-tall (186-meter-tall) waterfall any time of the year. Lazy tourists can glimpse the top half of the waterfall from the highway, but it's highly recommended to complete the five-minute walk from the parking lot to be able to take in all the cascading gloriousness of the falls.
For those with an adventurous heart (and strong legs), there's a trail that winds up to the top of the waterfall and offers an amazing view of the landscape below.
6 Arches National Park, Utah
The unique, expansive collection of over 2000 natural sandstone arches (the largest such collection in the world) in Arches National Park is unlike anything else on Earth. Hiking through the park, visitors may feel like they're walking further and further into a dream world each time they pass under an arch.
The history of how the arches came to exist is long and complicated, but the park, originally a dry seabed, was created through a series of folding, rising, falling, and eroding over 65 million years, leaving the magnificent sights visitors can see today.
5 Crater Lake, Oregon
Crater Lake was originally the peak of a massive volcano that collapsed after an eruption, leaving the deepest lake in America and a truly awe-inspiring natural landmark. On a calm, clear day, the pristine waters perfectly reflect the snow, jagged cliffs, and original forest of the surrounding crater, mirroring the landscape and offering visitors a magnificent look into the wonders of nature.
4 The Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is one of the most famous and most visited landmarks of America, and its fame is no surprise. Over 250 miles (400 kilometers) long and up to 18 miles (19 kilometers) wide, the sheer size of the canyon is enough to put it on any list of natural wonders.
The South Rim is the most common for visitors and is open all year, but the North Rim (a full 1000 feet higher than the South Rim) offers more peaceful viewing opportunities as it receives only a fraction of the tourists. Whichever rim visitors decide to check out, they'll never fail to find awe-inspiring views of precipitous cliffs, astounding rock formations, and the powerful Colorado River that runs through the bottom of the canyon.
3 Redwood Forest, California
The Redwood Forest is another piece of the US that feels as though it was cut from another planet (there is yet another Star Wars reference here as it was the location chosen for Endor in Episode VI). Housing some of the tallest trees in the world, the forest extends through a large portion of California, and there are several state and national parks where visitors can explore these massive trees, some of them so big a car can drive through the base. Standing next to these trees helps visitors understand just how small they are in comparison to the awe-inspiring natural wonders of America.
2 Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai'i
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park includes the two summits of the Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, two of the most active volcanoes in the world.
These natural wonders are also some of the most extreme as they're in an almost constant state of activity, hardly ever ceasing to throw boiling, red fountains of lava into the sky and sea. Mauna Loa is actually more than 27,000 feet (8230 meters) taller than Mount Everest if you count the part hidden by the ocean, making this volcano one of the most impressive sights in America and the world.
1 Mendenhall Glacier & Ice Caves, Alaska
The Mendenhall Glacier, a 12-mile-long (19-kilometer-long), awe-inspiring sight in itself, has been put at risk due to climate change. However, the rapid melting of the glacier's ice has surprisingly resulted in a natural wonder by creating the Mendenhall Ice Caves, a series of twisted, dream-like tunnels that wind through the glacier. Unlike many of the other natural wonders on this list, the Mendenhall Ice Caves may only be available to visit for one or two more generations (the glacier has receded about two miles since 1958), so visitors should put this on their list as soon as possible.