Everyone can agree that the USA has some of the most amazing natural landmarks in the world. From the sweltering deserts to the towering redwood forests, the sheer variety of nature in the country means that it’s difficult to experience all that it has to offer. However, once you’ve seen the heavyweights of the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls, where do you go next? What are the hidden natural gems of the country that are often overlooked? Here are compiled just a few from the many wonders the US has to offer:
The Mammoth Cave System
The name really does say everything here, as the Mammoth Cave System in Kentucky (hosted within the Mammoth Cave National Park) is the largest known cave system in the world today. It includes more than 390km of cave passage systems, and its labyrinthine nature means more and more routes are being discovered every day. The Mammoth Cave system is one of the last places on Earth this can be said of. However, there are multiple tours of the known parts of the system which include spelunking, meaning you can get truly hands-on in your experience.
The Appalachian Trail
While millions walk this mountainous trail every year, fewer and fewer decide on the “thru-hiker” experience of attempting the entire walk in a single trek. However, for those looking for an extended and intimate look at America’s natural landscape, there’s little better. Winding its way from the Southern Terminus Point at Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, the trail offers various breath-taking views with campsites conveniently dotted along the way. The state of Georgia itself is often overlooked for its natural beauty, featuring many gorges, springs and canyons, so it is little wonder people are straying from the cities and taking up houses and apartments in LaGrange and smaller, more rural cities at the edges of the state.
Crater Lake is a truly awe-inspiring sight, a huge crystal-clear lake formed within a dormant and collapsed volcano. However, it is not often mentioned alongside other falls, lakes and swimming holes in the country. The lake is located in Oregon, and its water is famed for its color and clarity, owing to the fact that it has no rivers or other bodies of water streaming from it.
The Arches National Park boasts the highest density of naturally-formed stone arches in the world, as well as a plethora of other fascinating rock formations such as the “Balanced Rock.” This is what one thinks of when the idea of the quintessential American desert is called to mind, and indeed some of the Arches have been featured in films like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Hiking and camping is popular in the region, while there are guided tours available to get the most out of your experience there. Furthermore, there is more to behold when the sun sets, as astronomy is also very popular due to the clarity of the night sky and stars in the National Park.