Arizona’s unusual climate and unique geology have resulted in stunning landscapes and natural features. Rich cultural roots and science have also brought fixtures to the state, that could easily be credited to aliens if we didn’t already know better. Gaze upon the wonder of Arizona’s most “out of this world” sites.
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Antelope Canyon (Nearby Hotels)
A part of Navajo Tribal Park since 1997, this slot style canyon consists of two major orange, smooth rock crevices, “The Crack” and “The Corkscrew.” Beams of light force through openings, creating a heavenly glow. You must travel with a licensed tour group, meaning you cannot venture into Antelope solo. Descending down the steep, metal stairs can be slightly difficult, and monsoon rains can bring flooding—these reasons are partially why a guide is required.
Montezuma Castle (Nearby Hotels)
Montezuma Castle is now a National Monument, carved into the rock of an Arizona cliff. The “castle” actually served as a “high rise apartment” as early as 700 AD. Built by the Sinagua, a pre-Colombian culture, the incredible structure was excavated in the late 1800s. Now highly protected, visitors can still peer from the ground, wondering how on earth Montezuma was built.
Meteor Crater (Nearby Hotels)
Literally, this one is unworldly because it was creating by a space meteor! The massive hole stretches over 3,900 feet of Arizona desert soil—a distinctive 148 foot rim lines the impact zone. At 560 feet deep, it’s an overwhelming geological feature. Thankfully, Arizona’s dry climate is preserving the rare piece of space history.
Biosphere 2 (Nearby Hotels)
Biosphere 2 is an Earth science center in Oracle with educates about the earth through the University of Arizona. Originally, it was built to research human space colonization, so naturally it looks like any galactic dwelling in the movies, with bulbous white domes, stark white coverings and other unusual shapes. Seven biomes were creates to mimic natural earth habitat, such as rainforests and oceans. Pretty far out stuff—you can see it yourself via a guided tour!
The Painted Desert (Nearby Hotels)
Much of The Painted Desert is within the Petrified Forest of Arizona, named for its perfectly contrasting layers of colored rock. Different types of stone and geological processes formed the vivid walls, which contain easily hikable trails. Be sure a permit is not required for your specific trek.
Emerald Cove (Nearby Hotels)
Along the Colorado River is a gem colored Arizona nook, Emerald Cove. Kayaking tours depart from Willow Beach and guide adventurists through the inlet’s jagged caves, and mesmerizing waters. Stop for a snack or photos, while taking it all in.
Window Rock (Nearby Hotels)
As if it were some portion of an alien space ship, Window Rock faces toward the open sky, while being the inspiration for its surrounding town’s name. It’s a bold artistic feature crafted by our beautiful earth.
Chocolate Falls (Nearby Hotels)
Grand Falls, aka “Chocolate Falls”, belong in Willy Wonka’s factory. However, given they are technically taller than Niagra, we’ll assume they just didn’t fit. Who knew a massive rush of muddy water could be simply majestic? And kind of tasty looking!
Horseshoe Bend (Nearby Hotels)
Within Glen Canyon, this turquoise portion of river winds nearly circularly around a chunk of red bedrock. If you’re staying in the town of Page, you’ll only travel four miles to get to this part of the beautiful Colorado River.
The Grand Canyon (Nearby Hotels)
“Grand”fathered into nearly every Arizona roundup article is, of course, The Grand Canyon. Rushing waters of the Colorado River caused severe erosion overtime, but we’re pretty happy about it. Vast variations of plants and animal species dwell within the mile deep, visually astonishing crevice. Definitely a bucket lister.