Travel in the USA is all about ‘big’. America’s big cities, big highways and big cars are just some of the man-made attractions the country has to offer, but Mother Nature has also provided something of her own for those travelling around the country with Grand American Adventures: big views.
In fact, the vistas in the USA are so enormous that you might well struggle to take them all in. Here’s a list of five of the country’s finest views, where you’ll want to set up your camera and tripod, whip out your binoculars and prepare for your jaw to hit the ground.
1. Hopi Point, the Grand Canyon, Arizona
The vista of all vistas, the sheer scale of Grand Canyon is mind boggling. 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and one mile deep, you’ll certainly need your widest angle lens to capture this natural wonder.
As well as its enormous bulk, the Grand Canyon also impresses with the incredible array of colours cast by the striated rock through which the mighty Colorado River flows. This is particularly true at sunset, when the whole scene comes alive in a haze of purples, reds and oranges. Hopi Point is regarded as the best place to enjoy it.
2. Zion Canyon from Angels Landing, Zion National Park, Utah
Zion might be one of the USA’s lesser-known parks, but it is no less spectacular than Yosemite or Yellowstone.
Hike to the top of the 1,500ft Angels Landing for a truly sensational view straight down the Zion Canyon, whose tree-lined valley floor is flanked by precipitous orange cliffs that stretch away into the distance.
3. Mount McKinley from Wonder Lake, Alaska
One of the most spectacular alpine views in the world can be enjoyed in Alaska’s Denali National Park.
From the northern shores of the aptly named Wonder Lake, gaze across the deep blue expanse of water towards the enormous snow-capped bulk of North America’s highest peak, Mount McKinley. Just imagine how good the view from the top is!
4. Monument Valley Loop Drive, Utah
If you get a strange sense of déjà vu as you’re watching the sun set over the mighty sandstone buttes of Monument Valley, fear not because there’s a reason for this landscape’s familiarity.
Thanks to director John Ford, Monument Valley “has come to define what decades of moviegoers think of when they imagine the American West”, according to movie critic Keith Phipps.
But no matter how many films you’ve watched, you have to see it for yourself, and driving the 17-mile loop through the park is the best way to do it.
5. Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park, California
Much like Ford’s influence on Monument Valley, the work of the black-and-white landscape photographer Ansel Adams has inspired numerous visits to Yosemite.
If you’re hoping to recreate one of Adams’ famous shots, head to Tunnel View at the east end of the Wawona Tunnel along the Wawona Road (Highway 41), where you can get an incredible view of two of the park’s icons: El Capitan and Half Dome.
The sight of these two enormous rock formations standing prominently above the tree-lined valley is as American a vista as you could wish for. And although you might struggle to match Adams, with scenery this good it’s hard to take a bad photograph. Many tourists who are visiting San Francisco book city tours that often include expeditions to Yosemite National Park, California.