32 AMAZING Locations to Go to within the Southwest USA (2023)


The Southwest USA is an space of maximum magnificence. From jagged peaks to uncommon hoodoo formations, there are some distinctive locations to go within the Southwest. The Southwest USA is a big space encompassing Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and elements of California and Colorado.

It’s an epic place to discover that’s nicely price just a few months of an American road trip you probably have time!

Get A US Parks Cross To Go to A few of These Southwest USA landmarks

Mountain climbing in Bryce Canyon / Southwest USA

To enter many of those Southwest landmarks, you will need to buy a Parks Cross. Cross costs fluctuate by vacation spot, however generally, they’re comparable as follows:

  • 1-7 Day Car Entrance: $35.00
  • 1-7 Day Motorbike Entrance: $20.00
  • 1-7 Day Particular person Entrance (foot or bicycle): $20.00
  • The payment consists of limitless use of the free shuttle bus that runs from late Could by means of early October.

In case you are visiting a number of Southwest USA vacationer sights, buying an America the Beautiful Pass for $80 for the 12 months is finest, which grants you entry to all registered parks. At simply $80 for a 12 months, it’s fairly a steal, and also you gained’t have to fret about stopping at park gates to pay!

Finest Locations to go to within the Southwest USA

1. Canyonlands Nationwide Park, Utah

Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands Nationwide Park / Finest Locations within the Southwest USA

With placing desert landscapes formed by the mighty Colorado River, Canyonlands National Park in Southeastern Utah is the largest nationwide park within the state and the one to not miss if you wish to get off the overwhelmed path.

Among the most notable sights within the park embody the Island within the Sky Mesa, The Needles, The Maze Canyons, Mesa Arch, Grand View Level Overlook, and Druid Arch. Historic Native American rock work could be seen in Horseshoe Canyon. Mountain climbing, stargazing, mountain climbing and whitewater rafting in Cataract Canyon are some common actions within the park. 

2. Monument Valley, Utah

Monument Valley, Utah

Not many locations on the earth are extra photogenic than Monument Valley in Southeast Utah. This sprawling, distant space is a part of the Navajo Indian Nation and options sandstone rock constructions, a few of that are 1,000 ft tall.

The drive by means of this scenic park is 17 miles, however some areas off the overwhelmed path can solely be accessed with a guided tour. 

3. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon, Arizona

At 277 miles lengthy, 18 miles broad, and with depths of greater than a mile, The Grand Canyon in Arizona is likely one of the most iconic pure sights on earth. Apart from many out of doors actions, together with climbing and rafting, there are various different sights in Grand Canyon National Park, together with Havasu Falls, Mather Level, Yavapai Commentary Station, and Desert View Watchtower.

The Grand Canyon Railway is a practice that takes guests on a scenic experience to the South Rim, and Grand Canyon Village is the place you’ll discover outlets and inns. 

4. Capitol Reef Nationwide Park, Utah

Capital Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park is situated within the desert of South-central Utah in an space famend for its gorgeous landscapes of purple rock formations, sandstone domes, canyons, and ridges.  Inside this park, which is 60 miles lengthy, you’ll discover many sights, together with Chimney Rock Pillar, Hickman Bridge Arch, Capitol Reef, and Cathedral Valley.

There are additionally many climbing trails, together with Frying Pan Path and Grand Wash.  Notom-Bullfrog Street and Cathedral Street are two of probably the most scenic driving routes within the park. 

5. Joshua Tree Nationwide Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Positioned in Southern California on the sting of each the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert, Joshua Tree National Park is extra than simply Joshua Timber, though they’re fairly the sight to behold.

As you discover this park, you’ll see a various panorama stuffed with unimaginable rock formations and plenty of common sights, together with Cranium Rock, Cholla Cactus Backyard, Keys View, Barker Dam, and Ryan Mountain.

Climbing and birdwatching are common actions within the park, and a scarcity of sunshine air pollution makes it probably the greatest locations within the area to look at the celebs. Among the climbing trails within the park embody Hidden Valley Nature Path and Misplaced Palms Oasis Path. 

6. Badwater Basin, California

Badwater Basin
Badwater Basin / Finest Locations within the Southwest USA

Badwater Basin is likely one of the most intriguing locations in america. This basin, situated in Loss of life Valley Nationwide Park in California, can be the bottom level within the nation, at 282 ft under sea degree. 

After heavy rains, water fills the basin, and when the water recedes, it leaves salt flats behind.  These salt flats have been created over millennia to kind the distinctive landscapes you see immediately.  

7. Montezuma Fortress Nationwide Monument, Arizona

Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona
Having fun with Montezuma Fortress within the Southwest USA

Relating to well-preserved historical buildings in america, few are as well-preserved as Montezuma Castle. This unimaginable constructing is situated about 90 ft up a limestone cliff in Camp Verde, Arizona. It ought to be a cease on any Arizona road trip!

At the moment, guests will not be permitted to enter the constructing on account of security considerations, however you’ll be able to view the outside through a brief path that results in the bottom of the cliff the place it and a number of other different historical constructions are situated.

A museum and customer middle are on-site, the place you’ll be able to study in regards to the Sinagua individuals who constructed these historical constructions and see many artifacts, together with stone instruments and gemstone ornaments. 

8. White Sands Nationwide Park, New Mexico

White Sands National Park, New Mexico

White Sands National Park is a strikingly lovely place within the Tularosa Basin in Southern New Mexico and probably the greatest locations to go to within the Southwest USA. The principle characteristic of the 145.762-acre park is the white sand dunes shaped from gypsum. 

This unimaginable dune subject is the largest on the earth and could be considered alongside the eight-mile Dunes Drive. A number of climbing trails within the park embody Dune Life Nature Path and Playa Path.  Different sights within the park embody the Interdune Boardwalk, Lake Lucero, White Sands Nationwide Park Customer Middle, and Holloman Lake. 

If you happen to’re in search of one of many best places to travel in the US in January (or every other winter mont), White Sands is a good alternative!

9. Raft the Colorado River

things to do in page, arizona
Alongside the Colorado River

For a lot of avid rafters, rafting down the Colorado River is a must-do. It’s an expertise you’ll always remember, and few locations on earth ship an equally thrilling expertise on the water.

From calm waters to raging rapids, the place you launch from and the way far you go will rely in your rafting expertise.  Touring down the river, you’ll see the Grand Canyon and its gorgeous surroundings from a novel angle. 

10. Taos Pueblo, New Mexico

Located in New Mexico, Taos Pueblo a is historic city that’s among the many oldest, repeatedly inhabited communities in america. The city was constructed about 1,000 years in the past and featured conventional adobe constructions.

Among the prime sights within the city embody Harwood Museum of Artwork, Equipment Carson Residence and Museum, Couse-Sharp Historic Website, Wilder Nightingale Advantageous Artwork, Millicent Rogers Museum, the Taos Artwork Museum, and the Downtown Historic District. Right this moment, the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Website. 

11. The Wave, Arizona

The Wave, Arizona

The creation of the rock formation in Arizona referred to as The Wave began greater than 190 million years in the past.  Right this moment, this fascinating sandstone formation within the Vermilion Cliffs Nationwide Monument is likely one of the most photographed within the area.

To get the very best view of The Wave, hike alongside the six-mile return path that passes by means of an attractive wilderness space. 

12. Valley of Fireplace, Nevada

Valley of Fire

The Valley of Fire State Park is understood for its gorgeous surroundings that appears like one thing from one other planet! The park covers 46,000 acres in Nevada and options purple sandstone constructions that look on fireplace when the solar hits them excellent.

As you discover this park, you’ll see many sights, together with Native American petroglyphs, Misplaced Metropolis Museum, Elephant Rock, and climbing trails comparable to Fireplace Wave, Rainbow Vista, White Domes Path, and Canyon Path. If you happen to choose to benefit from the surroundings from the highway, Mouse’s Tank Street and White Domes Street are two of the very best scenic drives within the park. 

13. Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

Goblin Valley State Park

Positioned within the San Rafael Desert in Utah, the distant location of Goblin Valley State Park is well worth the detour to see a novel and engaging panorama that includes 1000’s of mushroom-shaped hoodoos, a few of that are a number of meters excessive. Mountain climbing is a well-liked exercise on this park; climbing alongside the numerous trails is one of the simplest ways to benefit from the picturesque panorama. 

Carmel Canyon Path, Entrada Canyon Path, and Little Wild Horse Canyon & Bell Canyon Path are simply among the trails within the space.  Different notable sights embody Crack Canyon, Wild Horse Butte, and Mollys Fortress. 

14. Backyard of the Gods, Colorado

Garden of the Gods

Whether or not you’re into climbing, wildlife viewing, pictures, or simply admiring gorgeous landscapes, there’s one thing for everybody within the Backyard of the Gods in Colorado Springs.

The principle characteristic of this 1,300-acre park is the contrasting surroundings the place the plains meet the mountains and the massive sandstone formations.  Different common actions within the park embody mountain climbing and horseback using.  Irrespective of the way you discover the realm, you’re prone to spot some wildlife, together with deer, bighorn sheep, fox, and over 100 species of birds. 

15. Carlsbad Caverns Nationwide Park, New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is residence to greater than 100 caves within the Guadalupe Mountains of the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico. The highest attraction within the park is the Carlsbad Cavern which options an enormous limestone chamber known as the Large Room. 

This chamber is the largest in North America and is 4,000 ft lengthy and 255 ft excessive, so it definitely lives as much as its title. Discover Rattlesnake Springs, the place you’ll see a wide range of reptiles and birds, or take a drive alongside Walnut Canyon Desert Loop and benefit from the gorgeous vistas.

Take a hike alongside Juniper Ridge Path or go to a variety of different common sights, together with Slaughter Canyon Cave, Bat Flight Amphitheater, and Carlsbad Cavern Nationwide Park Customer Middle.     

16. Bandelier Nationwide Monument, New Mexico

Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument is a 33,000-acre wilderness space identified for its placing pure options comparable to mesas, canyons, and waterfalls. It’s located within the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico and options varied wildlife habitats.

One of the simplest ways to discover the realm is by climbing alongside the paths, together with Essential Loop Path, Frey Path, Alcove Home Path, Falls Path, and Frijolito Loop Path. One other fascinating characteristic of the park is the Ancestral Pueblo constructions relationship way back to 1150.

17. Albuquerque’s Scorching Air Balloons, New Mexico

Albuquerque's Hot Air Balloons

Whereas many locations worldwide have circumstances adequate for decent air balloon rides, Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the highest sizzling air ballooning vacation spot. The town’s climate circumstances and temperatures are excellent typically. 

Throughout a sizzling air balloon journey over Albuquerque, you’ll see town and surrounding landscapes from above and revel in an journey of a lifetime!  Some native corporations providing these adventures embody Rainbow Ryders Inc, Above and Past, Enchanted Winds Scorching Air Balloon Firm, 4 Corners Balloon Rides, and World Balloon. 

18. Mono Lake, California

Mono Lake

There are many locations in Mono County to take a refreshing dip on a sizzling day, however no dip is sort of as distinctive because the one you’ll have in Mono Lake! The water on this lake is so salty that you simply’ll be capable to float leisurely with out worrying about sinking to the underside.

Some older people declare swimming on this lake will remedy all that ails you. True or not, you’ll really feel relaxed and refreshed after a dip. Surrounding the lake are limestone formations known as Tufa Towers. 

19. Mesa Verde Nationwide Park, Colorado

Mesa Verde National Park

In Southwest Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park is likely one of the most intriguing locations within the state. The well-preserved Ancestral Pueblo cliff dwellings are probably the most intriguing.

Cliff Palace, Balcony Home, Spruce Tree Home, Lengthy Home, Sq. Tower Home, and Step Home are some cliff dwellings you’ll see as you discover the park. Care to take a hike to see some extra surroundings and historical petroglyphs?

Attempt Petroglyph Level Path or Mesa Prime Loop. The Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum is the place you’ll see reveals showcasing Native American tradition.

20. Saguaro Nationwide Park, Arizona

Saguaro National Park, Arizona
Among the many Saguaros / Finest Locations to Go to within the Southwest USA

Head to the fantastic Arizona metropolis of Tucson to see some epically massive Saguaros. Saguaro National Park flanks town to the East and West. Though you’ll be able to see the saguaros elsewhere within the American Southwest, the park is likely one of the finest locations in Arizona to seek out the famed icon of the Southwest, the saguaro.

So what’s a saguaro? The saguaro is an enormous cactus that may attain heights of as much as 50 ft tall, they usually dominate the panorama within the nationwide park! It’s a major spot to reconnect with nature and discover an fascinating biome with distinctive natural world.

There are just a few climbing paths, however driving across the park is likely one of the finest issues to do! Head right here for sundown to get some epic photographs.

21. Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

Bonneville Salt Flats

The Booneville Salt Flats in Northwestern Utah characteristic massive salt flats 12 miles lengthy and maintain 147 tons of salt.  Whereas exploring and photographing these flats are the most well-liked actions on this park, there are different fascinating sights to take a look at, together with Hazard Cave State Park Heritage Space and Lamus Peak. 

22. Useless Horse Level State Park, Utah

21. Dead Horse Point State Park

If you happen to’re in search of someplace with loads of scenic views, look no additional than Useless Horse Level State Park in Utah. This 5,362-acre desert park options a number of scenic overlooks, together with the Colorado River Overlook, Rim Overlook, Meander Overlook, and the long-lasting Thelma and Louise Level. It’s simply probably the greatest locations to go to within the Southwest USA and ought to be on everybody’s journey radar.

There are a number of climbing trails with fabulous views as nicely. A customer middle, espresso store, and picnic areas are additionally on-site, and when you want to keep within the space in a single day, there are two campgrounds and a yurt space. 

23. Nice Salt Lake, Utah

Great Salt Lake

If you happen to’re searching for a spot to take a refreshing dip as you discover the gorgeous state of Utah, head to Antelope Island State Park, the place you’ll discover the very best entry level to the Nice Salt Lake and its sandy seashores.

That is the place you’ll additionally discover showers and different amenities. The lake space is residence to many different sights, together with Lagoon Amusement Park, Spiral Jetty, Bear River Migratory Chook Refuge, and Cherry Hill.

Did I point out this physique of water, often known as America’s Useless Sea, is the largest saltwater lake within the Western Hemisphere? It’s a giant lake in a giant space with many issues to see and do. 

24. Grand Staircase Escalante Nationwide Monument, Utah


It’s probably the most distant land within the nation, and that’s simply one of many issues that makes the 1,880,469-acre Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Southern Utah such a captivating place.

Among the finest climbing trails within the state are on this park space, and these trails spotlight the spectacular surroundings of this rugged and various panorama, together with desert and forest areas.

25. Crimson Rock Canyon Nationwide Conservation Space, Nevada

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Located within the Mojave Desert in Nevada, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a well-liked vacation spot for guests desirous to see gorgeous landscapes and take part in varied out of doors actions.

The world is generally identified for the tall purple sandstone formations, however as you discover the park, you’ll see varied different sights, together with Native American Petroglyphs, Keystone Thrust Fault, Ice Field Canyon, Crimson Rock Canyon Customer Middle, and La Madre Mountains Wilderness.

The park’s 13-mile Scenic Drive is an effective way to see a lot of the panorama, however you may as well go on a climbing journey on one of many many trails, together with Moenkopi Loop, Calico Hills, Turtlehead Peak, and La Madre Springs Loop.

26. Web page, Arizona

page arizona
Sundown in Web page

Web page, Arizona, is a small metropolis of simply 8000 folks in Coconino County close to the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. It’s lower than 10 miles away from the Utah/Arizona border. Web page was based in 1957 when the Glen Canyon Dam was constructed, and the employees wanted close by neighborhood housing.

Now Web page serves as a vacationer vacation spot in Arizona and is most well-known for its entry to Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon in Navajo Nation, and the long-lasting Horseshoe Bend. We suggest staying just a few days within the space to see all of the fun things to do in Page and consuming at Birdhouse – one of many best Page restaurants!

27. Sedona, Arizona

Mountain climbing in lovely Sedona

Sedona is an attractive Arizona desert city virtually smack dab in the midst of the state, simply 120 miles north of Phoenix. It’s one of the common locations to go to in Arizona and has folks touring from across the nation to face in awe of its magnificence. It’s truly a dream destination!

Sedona is nestled completely amidst gorgeous Crimson Rocks. The city is known for its arts scene with practically 100 artwork galleries. There are spectacular festivals all year long, together with the Sedona Jazz Pageant and Sedona Arts Pageant.

There’s something for everybody in Sedona: improbable climbing alternatives, mountain biking experiences, off-road jeep excursions, a fantastic procuring scene, and wonderful restaurants. We spent three fantastic days in Sedona and left wishing for one more week – it’s that attractive and simply probably the greatest locations to go to within the American Southwest and one of the charming small towns in the USA.

28. Zion Nationwide Park, Utah

angels landing
Mountain climbing Angels Touchdown

Zion is Utah’s oldest Nationwide Park, relationship again to 1919 and is well one of many coolest places to visit in the US. It’s most identified for its central characteristic, a big canyon reduce by the Virgin River over thousands and thousands of years. Now guests benefit from the Zion hikes from the valley backside and stare in amazement on the sheer purple sandstone canyon partitions. They’re believed to be the tallest on the earth.

I’m sure that the park can impress nearly anybody with its scale and surroundings. Zion has naturally elevated in recognition over time as extra guests sing its praises. The overwhelming majority will go to the central canyon across the Virgin River. Nonetheless, that isn’t all that includes the 146,600 acres of Zion Nationwide Park.

Zion has some unimaginable trails, together with the well-known Angels Landing hike, which is usually described because the scariest hike within the US. The Narrows can be an iconic hike that guests journey worldwide to expertise.

29. Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Mountain climbing in Bryce

Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park is likely one of the world’s best pure wonders, and climbing right here is likely one of the finest issues to do within the American Southwest. Inside its 35,000-acre grounds, you’ll be able to uncover a spectacular collection of multicolored amphitheaters, arches, and sandstone partitions.

You’ll end up face-to-face with probably the most closely concentrated variety of hoodoos. There are treks for any talent degree, and you may even make the most of the free shuttle service within the park. 

The colourful striations vary from shiny oranges to deep reds and delicate pinks, ensuing from oxidized minerals, together with limestone, iron, and manganese. Bryce Canyon is well one in all North America’s most mystical and magical nationwide parks, with some amazing hikes among the hoodoos.

30. Arches Nationwide Park, Utah

Arches National Park, Utah
Standing Underneath Delicate Arch

Arches Nationwide Park is an enchanted wonderland of purple rock formations close to Moab, Utah. It boasts the world’s largest assortment of pure arches creating grandeur you gained’t discover wherever else.

Exploring this otherworldly panorama is a fascinating expertise, and there are such a lot of things to do in Arches National Park. The Arches Scenic Drive is nineteen miles lengthy and travels by means of the whole lot of the spectacular Arches Nationwide Park from Freeway 191 to the Satan Backyard Trailhead. 

Alongside the way in which, you will get out and hike to many arches. Our private favourite is the Delicate Arch.

31. Moab, Utah

Moab, Utah

Moab is a captivating small town in Utah and the gateway to Arches Nationwide Park and Canyonlands. This Southwest US city is located within the purple rock nation on the Colorado River and makes a fantastic base for all journey actions within the Southwest.

Mountaineering, climbing, rafting, mountain biking, and sky diving can be found right here. If you happen to’re not into journey sports activities, don’t fear. Moab has loads of charming boutique outlets to take pleasure in in addition to some wonderful eating places.

32. Havasupai Falls, Arizona

Havasupai Hike Waterfall

The northern elements of Arizona characteristic among the most breathtakingly lovely surroundings the state has to supply. The entire space is likely one of the finest locations to go to within the Southwest USA. Havasupai Falls are near the Grand Canyon because the crow flies, although it’s a little bit of a trek. 

The Havasupai, or Havasu Falls, are situated in Havasu Canyon. The land belongs to the Havasupai Native American tribe, and getting a allow to hike right here is extremely troublesome. Nonetheless, contemplate your self extraordinarily fortunate and in for an journey when you get one.

Havasu Falls are one of many 5 most important waterfalls and the realm’s star. It’s a shiny blue coloration that may take your breath away. It’s an oasis of types on this lovely and barren panorama. If you wish to embark on probably the most lovely hike in Arizona, this should be in your bucket listing.

what states are within the southwest USA?

southwest usa

The 4 most important Southwest USA states are usually regarded as Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. The area is drier and hotter than many different states and this space expands to Southern California, Nevada, and Western Texas.

Among the most important cities within the Southwest USA embody Phoenix, Las Vegas, El Paso, Albuquerque, and Tucson.

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