Most Famous Canyons in the USA

Mountains, giant trees, volcanoes, waterfalls, subtropical wetlands, geysers, hot springs...America's landscape is a true work of nature!

The United States really boasts its fair share of natural attractions, though, none are more spectacular than the canyons. There are a huge number of canyons found across the nation, though the following ones are some of the most famous canyons in the USA. In no particular order, they are as follows:

Paria River Canyon, Utah/Arizona

Paria Canyon is perhaps the most striking canyon you will ever encounter in the western region of the United States. Paria Canyon is located right in the heart of the Colorado Plateau region (between southern Utah and Arizona) and it’s most famously known for its sculpted rock walls marked with vibrant bands of earthly colors.

Paria Canyon is a popular spot for hikers and offers one of the best slot canyons hiking experiences in the world. As you walk through the narrow canyons you get to walk in knee deep water, photograph ancient Petroglyphs and see spectacular sandstone formations such as the famous “Wave” formation in Coyote Buttes.

Hells Canyon, Oregon/Idaho

Boasting the deepest river canyon in North America, Hells Canyon is certainly one of the most famous canyons in the USA. The Snake River flows beautifully through Hells Canyon and boating tour companies offer a nice opportunity for tourists to see Hells Canyon’s awesome black rock formations and ancient Petroglyphs from a boat's perspective.

The thrilling rapids of the Snake River and huge wilderness areas are also a reason Hells Canyon is such a popular destination for whitewater rafting trips, wildlife viewing and hiking.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas

Palo Duro Canyon’s claim to fame is being the second largest canyon in the US, after the Grand Canyon of course! Palo Duro Canyon is over 50 miles long and 700 feet deep, and offers great hiking opportunities for all experience levels.
Most Famous Canyons in the USA

Saying this, hiking, biking and horseback riding aren’t the only things Palo Duro is known for. The Canyon is famously known for hosting the Texas Show at the Pioneer Amphitheater inside Palo Duro Canyon.

Royal Gorge Canyon, Colorado

The Royal Gorge may not be on most people's radar but it is famous for being one of the deepest and narrows canyons in Colorado. The Arkansas River flows through the Royal Gorge Canyon hence its nickname - Grand Canyon of the Arkansas.

Whitewater rafting is seriously popular at the Royal Gorge and so it’s rock climbing, base jumping and bungee jumping from the Royal Gorge Bridge, which boasts the highest jump platform in the world.

Another reason for the Royal Gorge being one of the most famous canyons in the USA is because of the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, which runs along the canyon offering amazing views from its open-air carriage.

Red River Gorge, Kentucky

The Red River Gorge is located within the Daniel Boone National Forest and it’s one of Kentucky’s proudest natural attractions. The Red River Gorge’s striking rock formations and sandstone cliffs are nothing short of spectacular and the pristine scenery is second to none.

The Red River Gorge area is also a popular destination for motorcycle adventures. The ride down the Red River Gorge scenic byway offers stunning views of cliffs, wildlife, historic sites and stone arches such as Natural Bridge, which you can climb to by riding the sky lift (chairlift) located at Natural Bridge State Resort Park.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Spectacular, iconic, unforgettable, impressive, vast…those are just some of the words used to describe the Grand Canyon, though words can’t fully describe the beauty and majesty of the Grand Canyon! The Grand Canyon is the largest canyon in the world and it never fails to amaze you even when visiting for the second time.

Sure enough, the Grand Canyon is one of the most famous canyons in the USA and it’s one of those places everyone should add on their bucket list of places to see with their own eyes. For the best experience ever, be sure you visit the Grand Canyon at sunrise/sunset and during the off season to avoid the huge crowds.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Antelope Canyon is, by far, one of the most beautiful canyons in the USA and also one of the most eerie places to visit on earth! Antelope Canyon is found near Page (not far from the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area) and it’s like no other slot canyon you’ll come across in the United States.

Paria Canyon in Utah shares similarities to Antelope Canyon but nothing (even the Grand Canyon) really compares to Antelope Canyon’s mysterious ambiance. When the sun rays enter the canyon they reflect off the red sandstone walls producing a truly ghostly-like light spectacle!

The best time to experience Antelope Canyon’s light beams is during the summer months (around mid day) when the sun is highest, though during the winter you can also get nice photos.

Kings Canyon, California

Kings Canyon is located within one of the most beautiful national parks in the United States –Kings Canyon National Park. Kings Canyon is one of the most famous canyons in the USA because of its gorge, which is the deepest in the country. As you drive down the twisty roads of the canyon, you get marvelous views of the imposing cliffs.

Kings Canyon is also surrounded by unspoiled backcountry areas, which are a dream for wilderness hiking, camping and wildlife spotting.