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    17 Ridonkulously Beautiful Places In Arizona You've Gotta See To Believe

    So much to see and do in just one state!

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    1. Saguaro National Park

    a field of giant cactus in a desert landscape at sunset
    Denistangneyjr / Getty Images

    Saguaro National Park, near Tucson, is home to the country's largest cacti. This is where you can come to get one of those iconic photos standing next to a cactus five times your height. Your best bet is to meander along one of the park's many hiking trails to get a look at the cacti up close. There are some great campgrounds here too, if you want to stay and enjoy a little longer.

    2. The Wave

    a person standing in an orange and brown rock formation that looks like a giant wave
    Kojihirano / Getty Images

    This is a seriously amazing sandstone rock formation in the north of the state, right on the border with Utah. Over millions of years, flowing water created this wave in the rocks which almost looks like an optical illusion. You have to get a permit to make the hike out to The Wave, and only 20 are given away daily to help protect the delicate formation.

    3. Grand Canyon

    dusk light shines over a giant rocky canyon with a river at the bottom
    Masterlu / Getty Images

    Obviously the Grand Canyon is going to be on this list. It's amazing; it's spectacular — though no words can really do it justice. You could just visit for the day and walk around the rim, or strap your boots on and tackle the strenuous multi-day rim to rim hike. Either way, we guarantee that a visit to the Grand Canyon will leave you speechless.

    4. Camelback Mountain

    the view from the top of a rocky mountain, over the suburban area of a city
    Jeremy Janus / Getty Images

    If you're in Phoenix and you want to do some climbing, you can't miss out on Camelback Mountain. There are two challenging trails to the top — one is longer and steadier, while the other is steep and rocky. The peak has epic 360-degree views of all of Phoenix and beyond. Be sure to set off well before sunset, because the mountain is closed from dusk 'til dawn.

    5. Sedona vortexes

    earthy rock formations reflected in a glass-like natural pool of water
    Twildlife / Getty Images

    There are a lot of great things to see and do in Sedona, but a huge drawcard is the Sedona vortexes. The area has long been considered a place of natural power, and the vortexes are thought to be sites where healing energy gathers. Whether they believe in it or not, many people say they feel inspired and recharged after visiting. There are four main spots where the power is said to be the strongest — one of most popular is at Cathedral Rock, which is also a great hiking spot.

    6. West Fork Trail

    a rocky stream surrounded by canyons and trees
    Dougberry / Getty Images

    If you think that Arizona is all arid desert and rocky landscapes, think again. The West Fork Trail, just north of Sedona, is a lush walk along a riverbed. Eventually the trail ends at a natural pool, though many adventurous hikers like to wade downstream even further through the canyon where it's remote and peaceful.

    7. Coal Mine Canyon

    a huge canyon made of white and red rocks, with unique formations
    Kongxinzhu / Getty Images

    This area, in the northeast of the state, is the definition of remote. It's a long drive from most of Arizona's other attractions, but it draws in a lot of photographers because of the beautiful landscape. The canyon itself is long and deep, filled with spires and hoodoos, and has red and white colored rocks around the rim. The land is part of the Navajo Nation, so you can't enter the canyon itself without a guide and permit.

    8. Horseshoe Bend

    an aerial view of a river that naturally makes a U-turn, carving a horseshoe shape into a deep canyon
    Tini31 / Getty Images

    You've probably seen hundreds of photos of Horseshoe Bend before — and for good reason! This is the spot where the Colorado River does a dramatic hairpin turn, making for an absolutely stunning view from the top of the cliff. It's a short 1.5-mile round trip out to the bend from the parking lot, or you can get on the water and float around the bend in a raft.

    9. Havasupai Falls

    a waterfall flowing over red cliffs into a bright blue pool
    Skiserge1 / Getty Images

    These falls are actually within Grand Canyon National Park in the Havasupai Indian Reservation. Not far from the village of Supai, where the Havasupai tribe has lived for over 1,000 years, you can only get there via a 10-mile hike (or helicopter ride!), but there's a campground where you can spend the night — if you can get a reservation. The water that flows through the falls is an amazing bright blue color and a great way to cool off after a hot day in the canyon.

    10. Antelope Canyon

    an underground canyon with vibrant colored walls and light shining through a crack in the roof
    Left_coast_photographer / Getty Images

    An Instagram-favorite location, this is a canyon beneath the ground that you descend into. Light filters in, illuminating the red and orange sandstone and making it golden hour all day long. Because it's located on Navajo land, you can only enter the canyon on a guided tour. It's a sacred site, so it's important to be respectful when visiting this natural wonder.

    11. Lake Powell

    a kayak paddle in the water, a narrow river surrounded by sandstone cliffs
    Krblokhin / Getty Images

    Everyone loves to visit Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, but while you're in the area it's worth also making a pit stop at Lake Powell. This manmade lake, right on the Utah border, is a hotspot for all kinds of water sports. You can actually kayak or paddle board right into the back end of Antelope Canyon and take a walk through the undulating red rocks.

    12. Sonoran Desert National Monument

    tall cacti in a scrubby desert field at sunset
    Davelmorgan / Getty Images

    The Sonoran Desert National Monument in south-central Arizona is a great place to get a feel for the massive desert, which stretches into California and Mexico. The hikes and scenic drives wind through the amazing landscape of cactus plains and rocky mountains. It doesn't have as many attractions or facilities as other tourist areas in the region, as the monument serves more to protect indigenous sites and the native habitat.

    13. Monument Valley Tribal Park

    a vast flat desert plain with giant rock formations emerging from the ground
    Grandriver / Getty Images

    If you've seen Forrest Gump, you know Monument Valley. Located right on the border with Arizona, many people drive here just to take the iconic photo of the landscape — then leave. But it's worth spending at least half a day exploring the area. You can do tours with Navajo guides who will take you down into the valley, past all the magical sandstone formations, to places that you can't visit on your own.

    14. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

    a huge cactus with multiple arms shooting straight up surrounded by wildflowers in the desert
    Tonda / Getty Images

    Haven't seen enough cacti on your trip through Arizona? Next stop: Organ Pipe National Monument! This section of the Sonoran Desert is an International Biosphere Reserve, meaning it's absolutely packed with diverse plant and animal life. Take a scenic drive or hike through the park to really get in touch with nature and experience it for yourself.

    15. Petrified Forest National Park

    a close-up look at a piece of fossilized wood that looks like a colorful rock
    Tristanbnz / Getty Images

    This park in the northeast of the state is named for its large deposits of fossilized wood that look as though they've been turned to stone. There are short and long trails through the park — both will get you up close to the massive wood mounds that are like nothing you've seen before. If you're adventurous, take a hike into the Petrified Forest National Wilderness Area, which is scarcely visited and truly phenomenal.

    16. Meteor Crater

    bird's-eye view of a giant crater with rippled edges in the ground
    Dominic Jeanmaire / Getty Images

    Did you know there's a giant meteor crater in the middle of the Arizona? Located just off the interstate, it's the most well-preserved meteor impact site in the world. It's over 500 feet deep and 1 mile wide, and it was made about 50,000 years ago. The visitor centre has a bunch of awesome information for lovers of space and science, and there are trails you can follow around the rim.

    17. Coconino National Forest

    Looking down into a lush green mountain valley filled with trees and rolling hills stretching out into the distance
    Baiterek Media / Getty Images

    This is one of the most diverse national forests in all of the US and a great place to come camping for a weekend away. There's so much going on in one small area — red rocky desert landscape, lush pine forest, and alpine tundra. There are lakes and rivers for swimming and fishing, and even an ancient archaeological site. You can hike or take a scenic drive through the forest, then set up camp or rent a cabin overnight.

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