One of the most popular things to see in Arizona is, well, something that isn’t there. Each year, five million tourists stand in awe at the edge of the Grand Canyon, where 277 miles of rock have been eroded away by the Colorado River over several million years. The resulting abyss has been proclaimed one of the seven wonders of the world, affording spectacular vistas of colorful, rippled rock formations, some up to 2000 million years old. Of course, one of the best things to do at the Grand Canyon is to take a mule trip to the very bottom, which takes 2-days and includes an overnight stay at Phantom Ranch.
Though it took millennia to create the Grand Canyon, some of Arizona’s natural wonders were built in an instant. 50,000 years ago, a meteor crashed into turf at 26,000 mph, leaving a 2.4 mile chasm behind. Named Meteor Crater, it can be viewed on hikes or from an air-conditioned viewing center. To get the best view of Arizona’s diverse landscape, head to Coconino National Forest, where the terrain includes everything from Ponderosa pine forests, to alpine tundra, to the area’s famous red rocks.
Arizona’s cities offer a different sort of view: a glimpse into what life was like in the past. The Mission San Xavier del Bac, illustrates the influence Spain had on the area in the eighteenth century, while the numbered graves at Tombstone’s legendary Boothill Graveyard narrate the lives and deaths of the land’s first cowboys and pioneers. In Tucson, fans of Little House on the Prairie or Bonanza can walk in the footsteps of their favorite characters at the Old Tucson film studio, which served as the setting for many famous westerns and continues the theatrical tradition with daily gunfights and can-can shows.