Are you thinking of heading out on one last road trip before the summer draws to a close? If you are and you’re planning to travel in the United States, here are a few of the natural wonders you may want to consider visiting.
Grand Canyon (northwestern Arizona). A perennial favorite, the canyon enables visitors to become time travelers, in a sense. The sides of the Grand Canyon’s cliffs show the layers of rock that, over millions of years, built up the Colorado Plateau where the canyon is located. So when you look at these layers, you are really looking back (traveling back?) in time. Time over a huge span of years. Geologic time.
Teton Range (western Wyoming). Not far from Yellowstone Park, the Tetons rise dramatically from the valley floor and are a site of stunning natural beauty. The Tetons are some of the “youngest” mountains in North America—they began forming only about 10 million years ago. Even so, the rocks they are made of are some of the oldest on Earth. The core rocks of the Tetons were formed some 3 billion years ago.
Niagara Falls (part of the United States-Canadian border, about halfway between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario). The scenic Niagara Falls has been a popular tourist site since the 1800’s. At the falls, the Niagara River plunges about 170 feet (50 meters) into a steep, canyonlike gorge. Several steamers that share the name Maid of the Mist will take you close to the churning waters at the base of the roaring falls.
Mammoth Cave (central Kentucky). Ready for some spelunking? Then Mammoth Cave may be the perfect destination for you. Living up to its name—mammoth—and holding a world of narrow tunnels and giant halls, this enormous cave forms part of a system that snakes under Earth for over 400 miles (640 kilometers).
You can learn more about these and other natural wonders around the globe in World Book’s Natural Marvels. This 8-volume series helps kids in grades 5 to 8 learn about some of Earth’s most fascinating landforms.
Image Credit: © Howard Sandler, Shutterstock