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15 Unbelievable Places You Probably Never Knew Existed in the USA

Picture of Luke Abrahams
Social Content Editor
Updated: 3 July 2018
America is a country of road trips, hiking trails and great open skies, where over four million miles of highways crisscross vast deserts, mammoth mountain peaks, great valleys, and plains that roll off into the horizon. And let’s not forget about the food, (oh the food!) the beaches, the cities, and Hollywood. It’s hard to imagine so much of the U.S. is still waiting to be discovered!

The Great American Experience is all about discovering the unknown, the beautiful, and the surreal, which is why we thought we’d put together this list of places you probably never knew existed in this cultural behemoth. From Alaska to Hawaii, New York To New Mexico, add these unknown wonders to your 2017 bucket list immediately.

1. Skagit Valley Tulip Fields, Washington

© RuthChoi / Shutterstock
© RuthChoi / Shutterstock
© RuthChoi / Shutterstock
© RuthChoi / Shutterstock

Hundreds of thousands of visitors come to the tulip fields between April 1–30 to see these gorgeous flowers bloom in Washington State.

2. Haiku Stairs of Oahu, Hawaii

© Cade Dickinson / Shutterstock
© Cade Dickinson / Shutterstock
© Gclay / Shutterstock
© Gclay / Shutterstock

The so-called “Stairway to Heaven” is a steep hiking trail that is, contrary to popular belief, actually closed to the public. But many people still continue to climb it despite the “No Trespassing” signs—#forthegram.

3. Watkins Glen State Park, New York

© Eduard Moldoveanu / Shutterstock
Rainbow Falls Bridge | © Eduard Moldoveanu / Shutterstock
© Mandritoiu / Shutterstock
© Mandritoiu / Shutterstock

Forget Niagara Falls. Nestled in the Finger Lakes region of New York State lies a fantasy-like world called Rainbow Falls. As you can see, it’s just like Narnia.

4. Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska

© Troutnut / Shutterstock
Grizzly bear, Denali National Park | © Troutnut / Shutterstock
© Gail Johnson / Shutterstock
The park’s Alaska Range mountains include the awesome Denali | © Gail Johnson / Shutterstock

Denali National Park and Preserve encompasses a staggering six million acres of Alaska’s epic wilderness. Its crown jewel is the 20,310 ft. (704m)-high Denali, North America’s tallest mountain peak. The park is home to all sorts of indigenous wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou, and Dall sheep.

5. Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, Colorado

Lorcel / Shutterstock
Lorcel / Shutterstock | © Lorcel / Shutterstock
© Mavrick / Shutterstock
© Mavrick / Shutterstock

This stunning slice of Mother Nature is located deep in the Elk Mountains of Central Colorado. Home to over 100 miles of walking and hiking trails, the closest city in reach of this otherworldly wilderness is Aspen. Oh, and the entire area spans over 181,000 acres (73,248ha)—mouth drop.

6. Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming

© Suzi Pratt / Shutterstock
© Suzi Pratt / Shutterstock
© Lorcel / Shutterstock
© Lorcel / Shutterstock

This natural pool of rainbow-like colors is the largest hot spring in the U.S. and the third largest in the world.

7. Zion National Park, Utah

© VithFoto / Shutterstock
© VithFoto / Shutterstock
© Asif Islam / Shutterstock
© Asif Islam / Shutterstock

Just outside Springdale, Utah, this incredible 146,000-acre (59,084ha) park attracts nature junkies from all over the globe. Most popular site? The 15 mile (24.1km) -long by a half-mile (86.4m) deep Zion Canyon.

8. Mendenhall Glacier Caves, Alaska

© Serhat Akin / Shutterstock
© Serhat Akin / Shutterstock
© Lewis Liu / Shutterstock
© Lewis Liu / Shutterstock

This place was created Insta-ready. Juneau’s glittering Mendenhall Valley is a 12-mile (19.3km) glacier that hides some very surreal ice caves. Follow the West Glacier trail for a chance to see the whimsical ice clouds for yourself.

9. Thor’s Well, Oregon

© Jared Ropelato / Shutterstock
© Jared Ropelato / Shutterstock
© Chris Mullins / Shutterstock
© Chris Mullins / Shutterstock

Sorry guys, you won’t find Chris Hemsworth here. Travel along Cape Perpetua and you’ll stumble on Thor’s Well, a saltwater fountain thing of beauty, which is driven by the power of the ocean tide. Best time to see it in action? An hour before high tide to an hour after high tide.

10. Antelope Canyon, Arizona

© Inga Locmele / Shutterstock
© Inga Locmele / Shutterstock
© Edwin Verin / Shutterstock
© Edwin Verin / Shutterstock

This brilliant slot canyon is split into two different sections, commonly referred to as “The Crack” and “The Corkscrew.” The natural canvas of color is just magnificent. One for the Snapchat?

11. Oneonta Gorge, Oregon

© Kan Khampanya / Shutterstock
© Kan Khampanya / Shutterstock
© Panpilas L / Shutterstock
© Panpilas L / Shutterstock

The Oneonta Gorge is home to a very unique set of aquatic and woodland plants—some of which you won’t find anywhere else in the U.S. As you can see, the ferns and moss make the walls look like something out of a page of Thumbelina’s book.

12. Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

© Doug Meek / Shutterstock
© Doug Meek / Shutterstock
© Galyna Andrushko / Shutterstock
© Galyna Andrushko / Shutterstock

There’s a total of 119 known caves, formed entirely from limestone and sulfuric acid, awaiting discovery in this rocky New Mexico paradise.

13. Bryce Canyon, Utah

© Ronnybas / Shutterstock
© Ronnybas / Shutterstock
© Dibrova / Shutterstock
© Dibrova / Shutterstock

This alien-looking collection of large natural amphitheaters is famous for its hoodoos (tall, thin spires of rock) and geological structures formed by frosty weather and stream erosion.

14. Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina–Tennessee

©Dave Allen Photography / Shutterstock
©Dave Allen Photography / Shutterstock
© Dean Fikar / Shutterstock
© Dean Fikar / Shutterstock

A subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, the Smokies are a massive mountain range crisscrossing the North Carolina–Tennessee border. With nine million-plus visitors per year, it’s the U.S.’s most visited national park.

15. Nā Pali Coast State Park, Hawaii

© CSNafzger / Shutterstock
© CSNafzger / Shutterstock
© Mohamed Selim / Shutterstock
© Mohamed Selim / Shutterstock

The Na Pali Coast is probably the only U.S. National Park that’s inaccessible by car. There’s good news, however, as the best way to see it is by helicopter!

Love finding new places? Check out these 16 amazing places you probably never knew existed in the UK!