Things to See on the Way to the Grand Canyon

Things to See on the Way to the Grand Canyon
Those who consider outdoor attractions to be the finest kind of attraction on a vacation should consider what is within driving distance from Arizona on their way to the Grand Canyon. In addition to the mighty Grand Canyon, this region of the country is home to other almost equally spectacular works of art from nature.

Meteor Crater

Scientists estimate that sometime around 20,000 B.C. an object was hurtling through space at around 33,000 miles per hour. That object crashed into the ancient landscape of Arizona and created what looks like something you would find on the moon. In fact, astronauts Apollo astronauts training to walk on the moon came to Meteor Crater in the 1960s. This hole in the earth is so big that the entire Washington Monument could fit inside it.

Meteor Crater Enterprises, Inc.
Interstate 40, Exit 233
Winslow, AZ 86047


Montezuma Castle

Montezuma Castle is not a conventional castle. Rather than having a moat and drawbridge, this amazing piece of architecture was carved directly into a cliff above the Verde Valley. Originally thought to have been the handiwork of the Aztecs, it turns out to be a 12th-century construction of the Sinagua Indians. As you observe this mansion built into the side of a canyon, keep in mind that it is almost entirely the way it was when it was inhabited by its original residents a millennia ago.

Monument Valley

The vast painted vistas of Monument Valley provided the stunning backdrop to many of John Ford's greatest western films of the 1930s and 1940s. The buttes and mesas of rusty red rock glow as if on fire during sunrises and sunsets, but any hour you find yourself in this otherworldly expanse of land that stretches 40 miles by 60 miles you will be amazed. A long time ago Monument Valley was the sandstone floor of a huge inland sea and the buttes that now tower into the sky were formed by the erosion of water and wind.

Monument Valley Tours
4099 North Old Highway 40
Park City, UT 84060
(800) 724-7767

Kitt Peak National Observatory

The 20 white domes rise into the southwestern sky like something from another planet, but they are really there to keep an eye on what is happening throughout the rest of the universe. Guided tours are offered daily except for certain holidays. The Nightly Observing Program was expanded to a second dome in 2002 because the experience has proven so popular. Reservations are recommended up to a month ahead of time.

To get to Kitt Peak National Observatory take State Route 86 approximately 54 miles from Tucson, AZ toward Ajo, AZ. Turn left on State Route 386 to Kitt Peak National Observatory. Travel 10 miles then turn left at the picnic area sign near the top of the mountain.
(520) 318-8726


Article Written By Timothy Sexton

Timothy Sexton is an award-winning author who started writing in 1994. He has written on topics ranging from politics and golf to nutrition and travel, and his work appears online for, Disaboom and MOJO, among others. He has also done work for "Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Florida.

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