Discover the ultimate American Roadtrip

Into the <strong>Valleys</strong>

Into the Valleys

Arizona - Oregon

Explore the greatest natural wonders of the western states with our fantastic US road trip. We’ve chosen the best valleys in the country to form the heart of this driving tour, so you’ll visit the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Death Valley, plus lesser-known landscapes that are equally extraordinary. Between Arizona and Oregon, there’s a chance to see the amazing volcanic Crater Lake and the weird rock formations of Bryce Canyon too.

Into the Valleys

Stop 1: Grand Canyon 1/12

Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is a fitting start to this amazing tour of American landscapes, as this is one of the greatest and most spectacular valleys in the world. The famous canyon stretches 277 miles along the Colorado River, is up to 18 miles wide and up to a mile deep. Join the awe-struck visitors gazing at the sensational views along the twists of the canyon from look-out points on both the North and South Rim. And don’t miss the spine-tingling Grand Canyon Skywalk – a glass viewing platform 2,000ft above the river.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm

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Into the Valleys

Stop 2: Bryce Canyon National Park 2/12

Bryce Canyon National Park

‘Forests’ of orange stone pillars create a series of surreal amphitheatres along Bryce Canyon. Thousands of these rock pinnacles huddle around the landscape and are the result of unusual erosion. The pillars, known as ‘hoodoos’, create an exotic landscape that’s as memorable for summer hiking or biking tours as it is for cross-country skiing or sleigh rides in winter. Local experts say that the best time to visit it is any time of year - as long as you catch the rocks under the warm light of a sunrise or sunset.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

https://www.nps.gov/brca/index.htm

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Into the Valleys

Stop 3: Zion National Park 3/12

Zion National Park

Discover a world of sheer cliffs, deep canyons and high jagged mountains in the remote south-west corner of Utah. See powerful natural panoramas from a series of memorable driving routes through the heart of the national park or stop to hike some of America’s best trails. Zion is loved by serious wildlife spotters, walkers and climbers, but even the least energetic visitors can find plenty of family-friendly campsites and easy beginners’ courses in outdoor activities.

Zion National Park, Utah

https://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm

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Into the Valleys

Stop 4: Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area 4/12

Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area

In Utah’s dry scrubland that borders the neighbouring states of Arizona and Nevada, visitors can discover this vast specially-protected area. There’s one road, Highway 91, and one waterway, the Virgin River. Apart from that, it’s a large tract of wild country that’s perfect for exploring the American outback. While wandering, watch out for rare desert tortoises and bighorn sheep among the Joshua trees, juniper and blackbrush bushes.

Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area, Utah

http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/st__george/blm_special_areas/national_landscape/national_conservation/beaver_dam_wash_national.html

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Into the Valleys

Stop 5: Valley of Fire State Park 5/12

Valley of Fire State Park

Deep in the Mojave Desert, Nevada’s oldest and biggest state park is still one of its natural highlights. Drive right across the park on the ‘Valley of Fire Road’ and prepare to be amazed by red rock formations of weird and wonderful shapes, like delicate arches or striped ‘beehives’. Explore further to find prehistoric rock art, spectacular geological sights, rare wildlife and the locations of many films, including Star Trek, Transformers and The Professionals.

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

http://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire-state-park/

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Into the Valleys

Stop 6: Red Rock Canyon 6/12

Red Rock Canyon

Just 17 miles from the glittering lights of the Las Vegas Strip, find yourself in another world: a protected desert area of huge red sandstone peaks and cliffs. From the 13-mile, one-way scenic road through the National Conservation Area, it’s easy to see rock walls 3,000ft high, and distinctive Mojave Desert plants. It’s a popular spot for outdoor activities like climbing, hiking and biking, but don’t miss the interesting visitor centre and book shop.

Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/lvfo/blm_programs/blm_special_areas/red_rock_nca.html

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Into the Valleys

Stop 7: Death Valley National Park 7/12

Death Valley National Park

Eastern California’s famous valley is the lowest, hottest and driest place in the US. These extremes make it a must-visit sight for any adventurous travellers. Among the 3,000 square miles of national park, highlights include Badwater Basin, which is 282ft below sea level, and Furnace Creek, which holds the world record for the highest air temperature: 57°C. Look out for the Mesquite Flat’s 100ft sand dunes, Mosaic Canyon’s twisting striped marble walls and the wooden boardwalk through the strange ponds and weeds of Salt Creek.

Death Valley National Park, California

https://www.nps.gov/deva/index.htm

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Into the Valleys

Stop 8: Yosemite National Park 8/12

Yosemite National Park

Spread around one of the world’s most scenic valleys, the thousand square miles of Yosemite National Park offer a fabulous collection of mountains, waterfalls, giant sequoia forests, ancient bristlecone pines, sparkling clear lakes and high ice glaciers. The scenic highlights include the Yosemite Valley outlook known as Tunnel View, the sheer El Capitan cliff-face and the jagged Cathedral Peak. And try to spot the highest point at the heart of the park, the 13,120ft, snow-capped Mount Lyell.

Yosemite National Park, California

https://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm

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Into the Valleys

Stop 9: Fly Geyser 9/12

Fly Geyser

On the edge of the Black Rock Desert, discover this alien-looking geological phenomenon pumping out a fountain of scalding hot water spurting up from deep underground. From the road, visitors are able to see the geyser that was created accidentally by drilling down and hitting a geothermal water supply. The oddly-shaped mineral deposit lumps around its spout are brightly coloured red and green by algae. And look out for other smaller geysers in the same area that are growing and spreading.

Off of County Rd 34, north of Gerlach, NV 89412

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/fly-ranch-geyser

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Into the Valleys

Stop 10: Crater Lake Natural Park 10/12

Crater Lake Natural Park

Visit America’s deepest lake in the flooded crater of an enormous collapsed volcano. From the Rim Drive road Crater Lake looks as dramatic as it sounds, with steep wooded cliffs surrounding a vast circle of water with the remains of the former volcano cone poking up as an island in the middle. Thanks to a total absence of pollution, the water here is said to be some of the purest in the world.

Crater Lake Natural Park, Oregon

https://www.nps.gov/crla/index.htm

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Into the Valleys

Stop 11: Cape Perpetua (Thor’s Well) 11/12

Cape Perpetua (Thor’s Well)

It’s not a valley, but Cape Perpetua is a fantastic geographic area that is definitely worth a detour. It’s a heavily forested headland that extends into the Pacific from the Oregon shore along Route 101. The Cape rises more than 800ft from the sea giving distant views in all directions and the shore itself is full of features, like ‘Thor’s Well’, a seawater fountain caused by the tide and rock faults, and the ‘Devil’s Churn’, a violent stretch of water caused by a huge crack in the rocks.

Cape Perpetua (Thor’s Well), Oregon

http://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/grants-getaways/cape-perpetua-scenic-area/

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Into the Valleys

Stop 12: Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center 12/12

Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center

We end the tour at another world’s best… but this time it’s not a landscape, it’s the best place in the world to see sloths. It may be an unlikely location for rainforest creatures but this centre in Oregon has the world’s largest population of captive sloths, who famously hang upside down to rest. Take a tour of the centre to get close to these loveable slow-moving primates. There are no cages or bars, so many visitors can hold or even feed the sloths.

74320 Larson Road, Rainier, Oregon 97048

http://www.chasing-tail.com/

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