The United States of America boast some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world. To introduce you to some of the most picturesque spots worth visiting, we’ve put together this infographic of some of the best places to stop off on during a road trip across America. We take a look at the best parks and areas of astounding natural beauty.
Niagara Falls State Park was founded in 1885 and is the oldest state park in the United States. The Falls are located on the border of Ontario, Canada, and New York, USA. They are made up of three waterfalls: the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls and the Horseshoe Falls. They were created by glacier activity over 10,000 years ago and are a source of hydropower. At the current rate of erosion, scientists predict that the Falls will be gone in around 50,000 years.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is also known as the President’s Mountain. It is located in the Black Hills in South Dakota and is carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore. The Memorial was the brainchild of Doane Robinson. Work was designed and overseen by the sculptor Gutzon Borglum. He managed the project for 14 years from 1927 to its completion in 1941. It features sculptures of the heads of four former United States presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Each president’s head is the height of a six-story building.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone was established in 1872 and was the world’s first National Park. Today it is a designated World Heritage Site and covers an area of 3,472 square miles. The park contains 290 waterfalls and more than 300 active geysers. Old Faithful is the most active geyser and erupts every hour and a half, on average. Yellowstone is home to 322 species of birds, 67 species of mammals, 16 species of fish, 6 species of reptiles and 5 species of amphibians. The park is home to wolverines, gray wolves, Canada lynx and grizzly bears. There are five park entrances, and 466 miles of road, making it the perfect place to stop off during a road trip!
Maroon Bells are two peaks located in the Elk Mountains of central Colorado. The view of the Maroon Bells is an area that has become famous due to its popularity with photographers. The two peaks, Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak are located within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area. Covering an area of more than 181,000 acres, there are more than 100 miles of hiking trails. The maroon colour of the peaks is the result of their composition. Whereas other mountains in the Rockies are composed of granite and limestone, the Maroon Bells are composed of metamorphic sedimentary mudstone.
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon is a chasm that stretches 277 miles long and 18 miles wide. The canyon was formed by the Colorado River over 3.6 million years. Erosion continues to alter its contours to this day and at its deepest point, the canyon is over a mile deep. The surrounding national park is home to 70 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 25 species of reptiles and 5 species of amphibians. The park covers an area of 1,900 square miles and is home to five Native American tribes – the Hopi, Navajo, Havasupai, Paiute and Hualapai.
Zion National Park
The word “Zion” is Hebrew for “a place of peace and relaxation”, and what better name for this national park. It was in actual fact originally named the Mukuntuweap National Monument. The name “Zion” was given to the park in 1919 in part because the National Park Service was worried that if people couldn’t pronounce the name they wouldn’t visit the park. Humans have been living in Zion Canyon for at least 8,000 years. There are abandoned cliff houses and rock art that was left behind by the Anasazi people 800 to 1,500 years ago.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park was the second national park established in the United States, in 1890. The Park is home to the largest species of trees in the world, with some sequoia trees standing at almost 100 metres high and 25 metres wide. Giant Sequoias are among the oldest living things on earth. Some trees live to be up to 3,500 years old. The trees also have fire-resistant bark, allowing them to survive forest fires. Sequoias supplement water is taken up from the roots with fog, which is taken up by air roots at heights where the root water cannot be pulled.
Every year around 3.5 million people flock to Yosemite Valley to experience the breathtaking beauty of thundering waterfalls, towering sequoia trees and majestic mountain peaks. Yosemite Valley lays on the western edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is bordered by some of the world’s most famous rock formations and mountains. Many people are attracted to the area by its many waterfalls, and the Valley is the base of North America’s longest waterfall, Yosemite Falls, which drops from 740 metres.
Big Sur is one of the most beautiful and photogenic coastlines in North America. It stretches over 90 miles along the Scenic Highway One. The area is flanked on one side by the rocky Pacific Coast and on the other by the majestic Santa Lucia Mountains. At its highest point, Big Sur’s Cone Peak ascends nearly a mile above sea level. This makes it one of the tallest coastal mountains in North America. Big Sur boasts some remarkable hiking trails and has developed an international reputation for its outstanding beauty. The best times of year to visit this beautiful coastal paradise is during spring or autumn.
North Cascades National Park
Commonly nicknamed the ‘American Alps’, North Cascades National Park is famous due to its snow-covered peaks. The Park covers an area of more than 500,000 acres and has been continually inhabited by humans for more than 10,000 years. North Cascades contains more species of plants within its boundaries than any other national park in the world. The park contains more than 300 glaciers. This is equal to one-third of the glaciers found in the lower 48 states combined. A diverse range of animals inhabit North Cascades, including black bears, grizzly bears, wolverines and Canadian lynxes.
Have we inspired you to take a trip? Check out our accommodation in the United States.