The Grand Circle of America’s Southwest

by on June 11, 2010

mesa arch

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park

For those that like the great wide open of America’s southwest, and the amazing red rock scenery that has been sculpted over millions of years, there’s the Grand Circle. This area of the southwest includes some of the best National Parks in the United States. Some of them, you might be familiar with, like Arches National Park and the Grand Canyon. Others, like Goblin Valley and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, are less visited marvels of nature. A road trip through this area of the southwest will take at least a week, two weeks if you decide to spend more time at each destination.

Here are some of the National Parks located in the “Grand Circle.” Starting at the

Grand Canyon

It’s one of the most famous places in the world, and it’s been millions of years in the making. A trip around the Grand Circle doesn’t revolve around the Grand Canyon, but it does have links to it in the form of the Colorado River. Many of the destinations on the Grand Circle have been formed by the Colorado River and its tributaries. A road trip to the Grand Canyon is a popular choice, but just one cog in many stops on the Grand Circle tour. For more information on the Grand Canyon, visit the above link.

Sunset Crater National Monument

Home to one of the youngest cinder cones on the planet, Sunset Crater in Arizona is a desolate look at volcanism, and reminder of how everchanging our planet is.

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde, located in Colorado near the Four Corners region, contains petroglyphs and long abandoned cliff dwellings of the Native American Puebloans that once inhabited this region. Cliff Palace, the major structure that is partially intact on this location, provides a window into the past of the Four Corners region and the Native American people.

Learn more about the Grand Circle region through these recommended links:

Bryce Canyon | Arches National Park | Zion
The Grand Canyon | Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Canyonlands National Park | Capitol Reef National Park
Mesa Verde National Park | Petrified Forest National Park
Chaco Culture Historic Park | Great Basin National Park | Monument Valley
Canyon de Chelly | Cedar Breaks National Monument | Havasu Falls
Grand Staircase-Escalante | Antelope Canyon | Valley of the Gods | Window Rock
Coral Pink Sand Dunes | Goblin Valley | Sunset Crater | Glen Canyon

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