12 Best National Parks and Monuments in Arizona (with Map & Photos)

Residence to a lot of America’s most famous and recognizable landscapes, Arizona boasts not solely the majestic Monument Valley and cavernous Canyon de Chelly however the iconic Grand Canyon too. Set within the southwest of the States, its pleasant desert surroundings is a deal with to discover, with stunning buttes, rugged canyons, and breathtaking mountains wherever you go.

Whereas Arizona’s nationwide parks and monuments defend a plethora of astounding surroundings and nature, in addition they protect a lot of archaeological websites and settlements left behind by the Ancestral Puebloans. As 1 / 4 of the state is made up of Indian reservations, their wealthy Native American historical past, tradition, and heritage continues to be on present right this moment. With so many attention-grabbing historic sights to take a look at, and a wealth of unimaginable outside actions to be loved, Arizona actually is likely one of the finest and most breathtaking states to go to.

Map of Nationwide Parks in Arizona

12. Chiricahua Nationwide Monument

Chiricahua National Monumentdreamstime/© Rck953

Set proper within the southeast nook of the state is the fascinating Chiricahua Nationwide Monument, house to a few of Arizona’s most arresting and awe-inspiring landscapes. As soon as known as ‘The Land of Standing-Up Rocks’ by native Apaches, it boasts gorgeous stone spires and breathtaking balanced rocks.

Formed and sculpted over the millennia by the wind and rain, its gorgeous hoodoos make for a spellbinding sight and seemingly stretch away perpetually. Among the many sensational stone columns, guests can discover many unbelievable options, with distinguished pinnacles and pure bridges mendacity beside balancing boulders and rugged volcanic rocks.

As soon as utilized by the Chiricahua Apaches as a protected haven, the monument’s mesmerising mountains and landscapes now entice hikers and photographers. With some great wildlife additionally on present and a few nice tenting and stargazing available, Chiricahua Nationwide Monument is properly price testing in case you have the possibility.

11. Vermilion Cliffs Nationwide Monument

Vermilion Cliffs National Monumentdreamstime/© Jimmy Lopes

Positioned simply to the south of the state line with Utah, Vermilion Cliffs Nationwide Monument lies in a really scenic, secluded setting. Residence to spectacular surroundings, it’s positive to thrill nature lovers and outside fanatics alike and could be discovered not removed from the Grand Canyon.

Established within the 12 months 2000 by President Invoice Clinton, the nationwide monument is dominated and outlined by the colourful cliffs after which it’s named. Whereas the big escarpments definitely look spectacular, the park’s stunning buttes and putting slot-canyons make for simply as superb a sight.

As well as, there are lots of fascinating prehistoric petroglyphs to be spied amongst its swirling sandstone-colored surroundings, in addition to the stays of some age-old Native American pueblos.

10. Saguaro Nationwide Park

Saguaro National Parkdreamstime/© Luckyphotographer

Made up of two picturesque elements that lie both facet of the town of Tucson, Saguaro is likely one of the most accessible and engaging nationwide parks in Arizona. Named after the enormous cacti that dot its pleasant desert landscapes, the park provides an iconic picture of the American Southwest.

Based again in 1933 by President Herbert Hoover, it protects swathes of the Sonoran Desert, with the Tucson and Rincon mountain ranges additionally operating by way of it. Coating its sweeping valleys are forests of spiny saguaro that tower as much as 15 meters in peak; they make for a particular sight with their prickly pears and blooming buds.

Meandering about its dazzling and dramatic landscapes are a lot of terrific trails to hike, cycle, or horseback trip alongside, with some tremendous scenic drives on supply amongst its cacti-dotted confines.

9. Sundown Crater Volcano Nationwide Monument

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monumentdreamstime/© Fotoluminate

Centered across the crumbling cinder cone after which it’s named, Sundown Crater Volcano Nationwide Monument lies in north-central Arizona, not removed from Flagstaff. Shaped round a thousand years in the past throughout an explosive eruption, it’s now a really peaceable and nice place to go to.

Rising above the foothills and lava fields that encompass it, Sundown Crater is the youngest of a string of volcanoes that make up the San Francisco Peaks. Thought-about to be extinct, its barren and blackish slopes have been protected ever since 1930, when President Herbert Hoover deigned it a nationwide monument.

These days, guests can hike across the beautiful lava flows and forests mendacity at its foot. Entry to its summit is banned as a result of intensive erosion that was inadvertently attributable to hikers.

8. Meteor Crater Pure Landmark

Meteor Crater Natural Landmarkdreamstime/© Walter Arce

Set simply 60 kilometers to the east of Flagstaff is the large and majestic Meteor Crater Pure Landmark. Billed because the ‘best-preserved meteorite crater on Earth,’ it’s now a preferred attraction, with sightseeing excursions, a discovery centre, and 4D expertise room all on supply.

Stretching over 1,200 meters in diameter and reaching a depth of 170 meters, the fascinating crater definitely makes for a formidable sight. Shaped round 50,000 years in the past by a mighty meteorite, its rugged rim towers above the arid plains of the Arizona desert that lie round it.

Moreover having fun with the unbelievable panoramas of the crater whereas taking a tour alongside the highest of it, guests can find out about area and the Photo voltaic System by way of the invention middle’s interactive displays. As well as, there’s a fascinating movie to observe on the meteorite influence, and an thrilling immersion trip to expertise.

7. Petrified Forest Nationwide Park

Petrified Forest National Parkdreamstime/© MNStudio

Residence to an astounding array of surroundings, landscapes and nature, Petrified Forest Nationwide Park could be present in japanese Arizona, not removed from the New Mexico border. Famed for its unbelievable fossils, it has glorious climbing for guests to get pleasure from, in addition to biking, horseback driving, and tenting.

Based in 1906, the park preserves the outstanding stays of the traditional timber and logs after which it’s named. Courting again a scarcely plausible 225 million years, the kaleidoscopic colours of the petrified timber are bewitchingly stunning, significantly after they shimmer within the solar.

Whereas they’re the park’s standout sight, there are additionally the beguiling badlands, house to unimaginable archaeological websites and fairly petroglyphs. On the Painted Desert Customer Middle and Rainbow Forest Museum, guests can be taught concerning the space’s attention-grabbing historical past, geology, and nature.

6. Montezuma Fort Nationwide Monument

Montezuma Castle National Monumentdreamstime/© Kaye Oberstar

Positioned slightly below an hour’s drive to the south of Flagstaff, Montezuma Fort Nationwide Monument is house to one of the crucial spectacular and necessary archaeological websites within the States. Mistakenly named after the well-known Aztec emperor by early European explorers, the well-preserved pueblo is now a highly regarded vacationer attraction.

Set within the facet of a sheer cliff, the five-story construction has lengthy been protected against the weather by its nature alcove setting that appears out over Beaver Creek. Made out of stone-and-mortar masonry, it showcases the Sinagua folks’s beautiful engineering abilities and ingenuity.

Whereas entry to the ruins is prohibited to guard its delicate options, guests can be taught all concerning the pre-Columbian web site at its magnificent museum. On high of this, some fabulous images could be snapped of the fascinating fort nestled away in its cliffside.

5. Wupatki Nationwide Monument

Wupatki National Monumentdreamstime/© Sally Scott

Located subsequent to Sundown Crater, the wondrous Wupatki Nationwide Monument lies in north-central Arizona, not removed from Flagstaff. An interesting place, it boasts a staggering array of archaeological websites and centuries-old settlements constructed by the Historic Pueblo Individuals.

Whereas Wupatki has been inhabited since round 500 AD, the eruption of Sundown Crater led to a inhabitants increase as its volcanic ash enriched the encompassing soils. By 1225, nevertheless, the location was deserted, with nearly 2,700 constructions and the stays of radiant pink rock dwellings left behind.

Of those, the multi-story Wupatki Pueblo is probably the most spectacular, with over 100 rooms and a ball court docket on present. Guests can take a brief and scenic self-guided tour across the web site, stopping off at different settlements akin to Citadel, Lomaki, and Nalakihu as they go.

4. Walnut Canyon Nationwide Monument

Walnut Canyon National Monumentdreamstime/© Gillian Hardy

One other of Arizona’s astounding archaeological websites is Walnut Canyon Nationwide Monument, which could be discovered simply to the east of Flagstaff. Set within the facet of the steep canyon is a sensational Sinagua settlement, with 25 unimaginable cliff dwellings for guests to take a look at.

Believed to have been constructed between 1100 and 1250 AD, the vary of rooms lie beneath limestone ledges, nestled deep inside the canyon. A stunning looping path winds down the cliff face, passing the dwellings because it descends.

Within the nationwide monument’s museum, guests can be taught extra about pre-Columbian tradition and the Sinagua folks themselves. Moreover all of the historical past on present, there’s additionally the canyon and its verdant forest to discover.

3. Canyon de Chelly Nationwide Monument

Canyon de Chelly National Monumentdreamstime/© Bennymarty

Set completely inside the boundaries of the Navajo Nation, Canyon de Chelly Nationwide Monument lies within the northeast of Arizona, not removed from the New Mexico border. Inhabited for over 5,000 years, the cavernous canyon is house to a lot of prehistoric petroglyphs and age-old edifices constructed by the Ancestral Puebloans.

Hidden among the many steep partitions of the canyon are numerous crumbling cliff dwellings, with the great White Home Destroy probably the most spectacular. Whereas there’s a variety of historic historical past on present, within the 1800s, the canyon was tragically the location of quite a few massacres of Native People by the Spanish and US Armies, with the notorious Lengthy Stroll starting right here.

Moreover taking a guided tour and studying all concerning the Navajo’s historical past, tradition, and heritage, friends can head as much as its rim and bask within the stunning views of the canyon beneath.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Parkdreamstime/© Konoplytska

One among America’s most iconic pictures and points of interest is the majestic Monument Valley, which is about completely inside the Navajo Nation Reservation. Straddling the Arizona-Utah state line, its dramatic desert landscapes are immediately recognizable; they’ve appeared in numerous movies and TV exhibits.

Recognized to the Navajo because the ‘Valley Between the Rocks,’ its breathtaking buttes and large mesas rise above the desert of the Colorado Plateau. Whereas their radiant pink and fiery orange hues look a deal with, their putting silhouettes are simply as gorgeous when seen towards the sensible blue skies round them.

One the States’ must-see sights, Monument Valley’s breathtaking sandstone buttes will take you again in time to the times of cowboys and Indians and the previous American West.

1. Grand Canyon Nationwide Park

#1 of National Parks In Arizonadreamstime/© Helena Bilkova

Famed around the globe for its measurement, scale, and splendor, the Grand Canyon boasts among the most spectacular surroundings on Earth. Protected and preserved as a nationwide park, it sprawls over an enormous swathe of northwestern Arizona, attracting thousands and thousands of holiday makers yearly.

Shaped over billions of years, its dazzling dimensions nearly defy description as you method its rugged rim and see the cavernous canyon seemingly stretch away endlessly earlier than you. Eroded over the aeons by the Colorado River, it reaches a depth of over 1,800 meters, with colourful cliffs, awe-inspiring landscapes, and phenomenal views wherever you look.

Moreover basking in its magnificence and exploring its extraordinary trails, the nationwide park additionally has a terrific Geology Museum and terrific Path of Time exhibition the place you may be taught all concerning the canyon’s beautiful layered landscapes. Extensively thought of to be one of many Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is the spotlight of many individuals’s go to to Arizona.

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