The sheer size of the United States means it has a wealth of diverse geography and that means epic landscapes and natural wonders. Every state has fabulous places to visit courtesy of Mother Nature. It might be a vast meteor crater, a spouting volcano, an arch of layered rocks or the world’s oldest life forms. Here are some of the very best and most amazing natural wonders of the United States:
1. Colorado Great Sand Dunes
Standing on the top of the Star Dune, it’s hard to believe you’re still in the US. Rolling desert spreads out for 30sq miles in all directions, like a sea of sand. At dawn, as the first rays break over the Sangre de Cristos Mountains, the dunes are flushed pink; at sunset they turn golden, long geometric shadows snaking across the land like a Mondrian painting.
They’re formed from the remains of an ancient dried-out lake. Sand is swept up from the vast San Luis Valley by the wind and pushed against the base of the mountains. When storms rage, the wind races back in the opposite direction, lifting the dunes higher. Grain by grain, over thousands of years, these desert mountains were born.
Getting to the top is hard, but getting down is easy: strap on a sandboard or sledge (available to rent nearby) and scream all the way down. Alternatively, hike just a couple miles into the dunes, pitch a tent and enjoy the silence and stars of your own private desert oasis.