Image 2 of 59
( Jason La / Los Angeles Times )
Distance: 549 miles one-way
You can barely find Horseshoe Bend from the highway. The parking lot is small and dusty. Furry caterpillars meander across the 3/4 -mile trail. But if you trudge on, what you encounter is nothing short of amazing.
Vistas from the cliff's edge offer crisp views of the Colorado River 1,000 feet below as it cuts a horseshoe shape into the land. Greenery lines the river on both sides as reddish-orange and yellow rock strata rise from the banks.
Seeing Horseshoe Bend recalled the wonder I felt gazing at the Grand Canyon for the first time. Though the latter's magnitude makes comparison difficult, I appreciated that I could take in Horseshoe Bend in one gulp.
-- Jason La
Read more: Uncovering Arizona's hidden gems