Top 10 Wonders of the West

Experience the hottest, lowest, driest and certainly the most beautiful places in the West.

You Might Also Like

Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Come face to face with 2 billion years of history. It took millions of years for the rushing tides of the Colorado River to cut through prehistoric rock, creating the Grand Canyon. Here, at Horseshoe Bend, the Colorado River makes a sweeping U-turn. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Chaco Culture

Chaco Culture

For 4 centuries, the land we now know as New Mexico was home to an ancient Native American people, the Pueblos. In time, the Pueblos migrated from the area, leaving behind Chaco Canyon -- a testament to the culture that once thrived amid massive sandstone structures like this. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Monticello

Monticello

Just as he helped shape a new country, Thomas Jefferson dreamed of reviving ancient Roman architecture. Over 4 decades, Jefferson designed and built Monticello. Today, Jefferson's Virginia estate endures as a top neoclassical interpretation of a villa rustica (Roman country house). 960 1280

southern foodways alliance, flickr  

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

For a time, the Statue of Liberty was just a bunch of pieces packed away in crates, a gift from France. Then newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer spearheaded a nationwide campaign to raise funds to assemble it. Some 120,000 Americans contributed, putting Lady Liberty on her pedestal. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park

When sea levels rose after the Ice Age, a rich natural wonderland was born: a subtropical wilderness home to freshwater marshes, pine rocklands, seagrass, birds, reptiles … all part of an intricate ecosystem whose future many preservationists now fear is uncertain. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains

There’s a reason it’s the most-visited US park. Stretching from Tennessee into North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains remain relatively untouched … with more than 3,500 plant species and dozens of endangered animals in parkland that holds nearly as many trees as in all of Europe. 960 1280

Getty  

Kluane National Park

Kluane National Park

Some of the world’s longest, most impressive glaciers can be found within Kluane National Park. It’s part of a trio of national parks, straddling the border between Canada and Alaska. Mountains, lakes, glaciers and valleys all await -- including Quill Creek, on the Canadian side, which flows from the St. Elias Mountains. 960 1280

Getty  

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

The spectacular sight of geysers spewing water and steam into the air only happens in a few places on Earth. The main stage for many is Yellowstone National Park -- it contains the world’s largest concentration of geysers. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

See the Earth take shape before your eyes. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to 2 of the world’s most active volcanoes. A continual flow of lava kneads the park's ground into an amazing kaleidoscope of shapes and colors. 960 1280

Getty  

La Fortaleza at San Juan

La Fortaleza at San Juan

In the 1600s, everyone wanted a piece San Juan. So Roman Emperor Charles V ordered the building of La Fortaleza (The Fortress) to defend its harbor. Today, it’s home to Puerto Rico’s governor, making it the world’s oldest executive mansion. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

Mountains, glaciers, pristine rivers -- they're all here. As the longest undeveloped coast in the contiguous US, this geological wonder in Washington State has many star attractions -- including Ruby Beach, with its foggy shoreline. 960 1280

Getty  

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park

Descend into a prehistoric world of natural caves and underground passageways in … Kentucky. Yes, the Bluegrass State is home to the world’s most extensive cave system, shaped over 100 million years. 960 1280

Getty  

Independence Hall

Independence Hall

In this building, American history took shape … and found a voice. Both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall -- cementing it as the birthplace of the United States of America. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

What happens when glaciers erode? Yosemite National Park tells one story through cliffs, domes and 5 of the world’s highest waterfalls -- all part of the distinctive natural beauty that emerged through repeated glacier movements over millions of years. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Pueblo de Taos

Pueblo de Taos

This Pueblo Indian residential complex isn’t just history. About 150 people -- descendants of Native Americans who’ve called this area home for 1,000 years -- live within these sun-dried, mud-brick buildings in a stretch of valley in northern New Mexico. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Some of the world's best-preserved cliff dwellings are found here. For 900 years, southwest Colorado was home to Pueblo Indians. Within tiered cliffs, they built sandstone dwellings -- including Cliff Palace. Its 150 rooms suggest this was a grand place of communal gathering. 960 1280

Getty  

Waterton Glacier International Peace Park

Waterton Glacier International Peace Park

In 1932, Canada and Montana created the world’s first “international peace park” -- the union of Waterton Lakes National Park and Glacier National Park. Explore the area’s diverse geography, from prairies to mountains. Maybe even check into the Prince of Wales Hotel, overlooking the Canadian town of Waterton. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Redwood National and State Parks

Redwood National and State Parks

There are trees, and then there are trees. California is home to some of the tallest -- and oldest -- ones in the world. The redwoods stretch back 160 million years, when they populated many moist, temperate regions of the world, but now mainly find a home on the West Coast. 960 1280

ilya_ktsn, flickr  

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Some 750 feet below ground, New Mexico's Carlsbad Cavern awaits. Distinguished by huge chambers, the cave includes decorative rock formations, from columns to stalactites. 960 1280

Getty  

Papahānaumokuākea

Papahānaumokuākea

This is where life begins and the spirit returns. So says native Hawaiian lore about this stretch of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Spanning 1,200 nautical miles, its coral reef colonies showcase 7,000 marine mammals, sea turtles, bird, invertebrates and fish -- making it the largest conservation area under the US flag. 960 1280

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service-Pacific, flickr  

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Before the Pilgrims, there were the Cahokia, an ancient, pre-Columbian people who made their home in what is now Illinois. Some 20,000 of them settled in a place called Cahokia Mounds -- a city that, in 1250 A.D., was the largest north of Mexico. 960 1280

Getty  

The Alamo
The Alamo

The Alamo

Remembered as a symbol of heroic struggle against impossible odds, the Alamo draws millions of visitors each year. But unbeknownst to many, this hallowed ground may also be the site of a secret fortune. 960 1280

Jeremy Woodhouse  

Arizona’s Grand Canyon

Arizona’s Grand Canyon

The 1.2 million acres of Arizona’s Grand Canyon offer a spectacular array of geological wonders, enthralling visitors and enticing those with a taste for adventure. 960 1280

  

Grand Canyon Newlyweds Disappear

Grand Canyon Newlyweds Disappear

In the early 20th century, a daring pair of newlyweds set off on a trip down the canyon’s Colorado River that they hoped would earn them a place in the history books. And while they eventually became famous, it was not for the reasons they expected. 960 1280

  

Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House

San Jose, CA, is home to a sprawling Victorian-era mansion spread over 6 acres and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 fireplaces and 6 kitchens, the Winchester Mystery House belonged to a woman who believed spirits were trying to kill her. 960 1280

Barry King/WireImage  

Ellis Island

Ellis Island

Resting on a 27-acre island just over a mile off the tip of Lower Manhattan is the former gateway for newcomers to New York City. Ellis Island’s grand inspection station – completed in 1900 – welcomed 5,000 immigrants a day for half a century. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, Vermont

By the outbreak of World War II, Ellis Island was used solely as a detention station, from which enemy aliens and spies were deported. In an unlucky twist of fate, the Von Trapps, a much-loved singing family from Austria, were once held captive there. They were eventually released and settled down on a dairy farm in Stowe, VT. 960 1280

  

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Deep inside California’s Death Valley National Park lies a dried-out lakebed called the Racetrack Playa. Here, a mysterious set of stones have been making a silent journey across the desert, unaided by human hands. Scientists have been baffled by the phenomenon for generations, unable to explain its strange behavior. 960 1280

Dennis Flaherty  

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is 333,000 acres of craters, scalded desert and rainforests. Mauna Loa holds the distinction of being the world’s most massive volcano -- at 30 miles long and 60 miles wide, it takes up half the island and is larger than Mount Everest. 960 1280

  

Mauna Loa

Mauna Loa

For centuries, Mauna Loa’s eruptions have been frequent, but one in particular was extremely dangerous for residents. On Nov. 21, 1935, Mauna Loa erupted, and 2 weeks later lava began oozing towards the town of Hilo at an alarming rate. The town was miraculously spared when a naval officer came up with a strange plan. 960 1280

  


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.