8 Most Exciting Canyons to Explore in the US

Few things in this world can be both described by a thousand adjectives and render you speechless like the canyons that Mother Nature has carved for us to enjoy.  And whether it’s a day trip or a week-long getaway, you absolutely must put the following canyons in your “To-Visit” list.

1. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

Black Canyon gets its’ name partially because the sunlight fails to reach the ground in its’ most narrow sections. At its’ deepest, this canyon reaches 2,722 feet from the ground to the rim. Unfortunately, there are no trails that venture into the canyon but tenacious scramblers have definitely given it a shot.

2. Queens Garden, Bryce Canyon, Utah

Queens Garden features “hoodoos” which are the sandstone spires that tower above you.  Hikes around this area will provide you with plenty of photo ops as well as a new appreciation of your ability to make your way out of these amazing natural mazes.

3.  Fall Canyon, Death Valley, California

California’s Death Valley is a park of canyons begging to be explored.  Most trails can be easily accessed but some require the help of 4×4 vehicles (these trails are known as Jeep roads).  So hop in your Jeep and make your way down to the canyon floor.

4.Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is probably the most famous canyon in the US and for good reason.  This canyon is so massive that it really puts everything in perspective as you feel miniscule looking at it from every which angle.  This canyon can be explored by land, water, and air.  Grand Canyon helicopter flights are available year round and give you a bird’s eye perspective of the canyon that could really be a once-in-a-lifetime memory maker.

5. Cathedral Wash, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona

Cathedral Wash gives the more inexperienced hiker the sense of adventure that comes from a more extreme sport such as canyoneering (climbing rappelling, and sometimes squeezing through slots) without the technical knowledge.  If you take on this canyon though, be prepared for some fun rock scrambling throughout most of the trails.

6. Colorado National Monument, Colorado

Look in an ecology history textbook and you are sure to find a photo of Colorado National Monument.  The tall gorges and peaks have been naturally formed over 1.7 billion years and we are now lucky enough to see and enjoy the fruits of Mother Nature’s labor.

7. Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park, Utah

Though it might seem deceiving, Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park is a hike for the extremely brave.  It starts out innocently enough as you walk leisurely across the river and across relatively flat ground.  Soon though, the hike begins its’ elevation rise in the form of Walter’s Wiggles, the 21 steep zigzagging switchbacks.  When you’re past Walter’s Wiggles you have one more leg of the hike to go and it is the most dangerous part. Hikers need to hold on to the chains that are bolted to the cliff to avoid spiraling down the extremely steep and extremely high drop offs.  This hike is NOT for those with fear of heights!

8.  Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Antelope Canyon is the most visited and most photographed slot canyon in the American Southwest and for good reason!  Upon entering the canyon, every step you take is like seeing a masterpiece being painted right in front of you.  The Navajo Tribe made this the Navajo Tribal Park and it is accessible by permit only since 1997.  But if you get the opportunity to go, prepare yourself to be in one of the most amazing slot canyons in the world.