Landscapes in the USA are incredibly diverse, ranging from huge desert plains and arid landscapes to jaw-dropping fjords and turquoise glaciers. There are a whole host of vast and strange places to be explored, as well as otherworldly environments and natural wonders to be discovered. Some will transport you to a different time, while others are likely to make you question what planet you’re on. Expect towering mountains, immense canyons, granite cliffs and giant trees. Whether you like the sound of marsh-lined forest paths by the coast or prefer the thought of erupting hot springs in national parks, there are so many striking sights to be seen. Sounds like it’s time for an adventure in America, doesn’t it? Keep reading to learn more about our list of the most impressive landscapes in the USA.
- A Palette of Colour in Yellowstone
- Gaze Out Across the Grand Canyon
- Explore the Everglades
- Experience the Kenai Fjords
- Make Memories at Mount Rushmore
Talk about natural beauty. Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park covers an area of 3,468 square miles and is largely located in the northwest corner of Wyoming. The landscape is mainly the product of intense volcanic activity and the underground plumbing system gives energy to the thousands of hot springs, mud pots, terraces, and geysers that can be found here. This UNESCO site is incredibly rich in geologic history and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, such as elk, bears and bison (the oldest and largest herd in the USA). Don’t forget your camera as there are plenty of photo opportunities to be had when you look out across rolling hillsides and grasslands, subalpine valleys and rainbow pools. The main highlights have to be the constantly-erupting Old Faithful Geyser and the Grand Prismatic Spring – the third-largest hot spring in the world. They’re not for swimming in though. If you do fancy a dip, there are just two designated areas in the park: Boiling River and Firehole River (don’t be put off by the names).
We couldn’t create a list of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the USA without mentioning the Grand Canyon now, could we? It’s one of the finest examples of arid-land erosion out there and consequently one of the most studied geologic landscapes in the world. The size of this canyon is immense and hard to imagine if you haven’t seen it before. It averages ten miles across and a mile deep along its 277-mile length and is home to lots of rare and protected plant and animal species. There’s a lot of land to cover and it’s unlikely you’ll do it all in one trip! If you’re tight on time, we suggest heading to the South Rim as there are lots of viewpoints, services, and even hotels in this part. Alternatively, if you’re good with heights or just particularly brave, head to the West Rim. Here, you’ll find The Grand Canyon Skywalk – a horseshoe-shaped bridge with a glass bottom.
If exploring 1.5 million acres of wetlands is on your bucket list, then the Everglades are a must-do when sampling the lovely landscapes in the USA. Located on the southern tip of Florida, this subtropical marsh region is up to 50 miles wide and less than one foot deep. The National Park was established in 1947 and is best known for its mangroves, sawgrass prairies and freshwater slough (drawing its water from Lake Okeechobee). It’s an important natural habitat for a variety of species, including the manatee, the American crocodile and the Florida Panther, so it’s worth taking your binoculars along for the ride. Want to get in on the action? Try kayaking or canoeing along miles of water trails, cycling through the pinelands, or fishing for snappers, sea trout or bluegills.
Ever had a selfie with an American president before? Head to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota and you can get four. Completed in 1941, it’s home to the 60ft-high faces of U.S. presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. It’s one of the most iconic landmarks in the USA and attracts more than two million visitors each year. There’s more to this area than just giant granite sculptures, though. From the scented ponderosa pine trees in the forests to the calcite crystals and dripstone formations in the caves of the Black Hills, there’s so much natural beauty to discover and admire.
Turns out you don’t need to imagine what the Ice Age looked like – you can just go to Kenai Fjords. It’s another National Park, this time in Alaska, that covers an impressive 669,984 acres. Its crowning feature is the Harding Icefield, the source of nearly 40 glaciers, where there’s an unforgettable walking trail for visitors to follow. It’ll take around six to eight hours to complete, but it’s one of the most rewarding and unique experiences in nature that you’re like to have. The rugged coastline combined with the glaciers, storm surges, tides and currents work together to create a pretty dynamic landscape that is constantly changing. But it’s not just a coastal environment. Because it receives up to 150 inches of precipitation every year, it’s considered to be part of a temperate rainforest. And there are 13 named mountains here too so it’s unlikely you’ll have ever seen somewhere like it before. Oh, and both brown and black bears call this place home, so keep your eyes peeled.