When you think of the natural wonders of North America, images of the majestic Niagara Falls, the epic Grand Canyon and the beautiful Rocky Mountains probably spring to your mind. After all, they are some of the most iconic landmarks that make this vast continent a popular destination. But what about those lesser-known canyons and equally amazing waterfalls that you might not have heard of, but you most definitely should see? Never fear, we’re on hand to show you the way…
1. Helmcken Falls
British Columbia’s Wells Gray Provincial Park is home to 39 waterfalls and by far the most stunning of these has to be Helmcken Falls. The fourth highest waterfall in the whole of Canada is the reason this park even exists and its natural beauty will no doubt leave you breathless.
2. Triple Divide Peak
The view from this summit in Montana is stunning and offers unprecedented views of Glacier National Park. This National Park has abundance of wildlife and spectacular scenery, but, what makes this place even more special is the rare hydrologic feature that takes place here. From the summit of the aptly named Triple Divide Peak, water flows into the Atlantic, the Pacific Ocean, and the Arctic (via Hudson’s Bay), this is truly a spectacle not to be missed.
3. Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon is far less renowned than the very popular Grand Canyon, but that doesn’t mean it is any less impressive, and in fact it’s technically not even a canyon. Located in the state of Utah within Bryce Canyon National Park, it is actually an area that boasts some very unique and interesting geological features in the form of giant natural amphitheatres and structures more commonly known as ‘hoodoos’. The real spectacle is watching the sunset bounce off the red hoodoos, giving the illusion of a soft glow.
4. Rialto Beach
Situated on the edge of Washington State’s Olympic National Park, Rialto Beach offers some of the best views of the Pacific Coast. At the mercy of the elements, this wild and rugged coastline is a photographer’s dream, lined with giant drift logs and small eroded islands just off the shoreline, it has a dramatic end-of-the-world feel to it. Keep an eye out for the small rock pools that are dotted across the beach and are home to unique purple and orange star fish.
5. Icefields Parkway
You will no doubt have heard of the Rocky Mountain Range, but the Icefields Parkway is one of the most spectacular journeys in the world and it takes you right through the heart of the Rockies between Banff and Jasper National Park in Alberta. As you make your way through this majestic wilderness you will be in awe of what surrounds you, from pristine mountain lakes, to ancient glaciers and sweeping valleys.
6. Acadia National Park
The west coast boasts some of the most famous and beautiful national parks in the world, but over on the east, is Acadia National Park. Acadia is New England’s only national park and it is a stunning mix of rocky coastlines and towering mountains. New England’s autumn foliage is legendary and a visit here in the autumn will leave you breathless. Watch the leaves turn from green and gold to crimson and orange, otherwise known as ‘leaf peeping’!
7. Lake Crescent
If it’s natural beauty you’re after, then this is the place for you. Situated in the heart of the Olympic National Park, this exceptionally blue lake is simply stunning. With beautiful trails aplenty and lots of activities to keep you busy including kayaking, boating and fishing, this picturesque lake will surely leave you wanting to come back, time and time again.
8. Kenai Fjords National Park
The crowning glory of this spectacular region in Alaska is the Harding Icefield, where many people choose to hike. You will be amazed everywhere you look from the ancient glaciers and breathtaking scenery and the abundance of wildlife, you will start to think you have stepped into the ice age. With specialised tours departing daily, you will have the opportunity to spot orca and humpback whales in their natural habitat, along with an array of unique sea faring birds soaring right above you.
9. Grand Prismatic Spring
The largest hot spring in the United States, this really is a geographical phenomenon not to be missed. Located in the Midway Geyser Basin within Yellowstone National Park, also home to the geyser ‘Old Faithful’, this area is a hot bed of bacterial activity which is what creates the spring’s unique and spectacular colours. With a wooden walkway close to the Grand Prismatic Spring, people who visit this area can get up close for a great opportunity to take some amazing photographs.
10. Redwood National Park
As you wander underneath the canopy of these towering ancient redwoods you will feel truly humbled at their monumental size. They may not be the biggest or the oldest, but they are definitely the tallest, some of them even reach the same height as a 30 storey building. These epic trees are unique to the northern coast of California and elk and other unique wildlife can often be found wandering in their shadows.
Thanks to our buddies at Grand American Adventures for this awesome round up of sweet nature. If you want to know more about the Grand American Adventure tours that visit these locations (and many more beautiful places across North America!) check out their tour pages.