Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Texas
The American Southwest is a vast land where John Wayne meets Georgia O’Keeffe and seemingly alien landscapes meet our country’s most foundational cultures. New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Texas are home to an abundance of National Parks, protected land, varied terrain, and noteworthy experiences – all sitting here in our American backyard, waiting to be explored. Expect red rock canyons, big starry nights, wild west vibes, and the opportunity for cultural interaction with our Native people.
Arizona is home to one of our country’s most iconic natural wonders, the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is truly remarkable, with a magnitude so great that it’s impossible not to feel humbled while standing on its edge. Explore by hiking, white water rafting, and more – intertwined with a visit to Sedona for a touch of quirky small town life. Traveling to the states’ northeast, we enter the borders of Navajo Nation, the largest reservation in the country (about the size of West Virginia), presenting an opportunity to learn of a culture so important to our American history.
Utah might just take the cake for most unique landscapes. Its five National Parks will surely leave you thinking “are we still on planet Earth?”. Explore the hoodoos (almost stalagmite in formation) of Bryce Canyon, the balanced rocks and eroded “gateways” of Arches, the canyons and valleys of Zion, and the endless red rock expanse of Canyonlands or the lesser-visited Capitol Reef. Additionally, there are many protected reserves and national monuments, such as Escalante, home to stunning examples of slot canyons, smooth to the touch.
New Mexico is a league of it’s own – almost like visiting a different country altogether. It is home to vast, scenic stretches of land, from the oddity of White Sands National Monument, to snow-capped mountains near Taos, to the stunning diversity of plains, mountain, and river in private reserves like Vermejo Park Ranch. Imagine these landscapes intermingled with quirky towns, Spanish flavors and adobe architecture, and a real influence from Native American culture. Santa Fe, the oldest US capitol, offers excellent dining, an iconic open air opera house, and inviting small city atmosphere while situated at the southern slopes of the Rockies. The active traveler will adore Taos for it’s multitude of activities – including hiking, fishing, and hot air ballooning over / white water rafting in the Rio Grande. Visit the Taos Pueblo, the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. For a different look into American Indian history, set out to Bandlier National Monument, home to several thousand ancestral Pueblo dwellings.
Texas, the Lone Star State, is home to cowboy culture and country music. The Rio Grande runs along the bottom of Texas, dividing USA and Mexico, leaving lush shoreline in its path. Big Bend National Park, named for the bend of the Rio Grande on its southern border, is worth exploring, boasting canyons, rivers and mountains, as well as impressive animal and bird life. For those with the time, we love Marfa, a remote and sprawling desert town offering art galleries, the mysterious Marfa Lights, and stunning sunsets.