American Southwest

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The dry, sunswept American Southwest stretches from the western border of Texas to Barstow, California (about 950 miles along I-40), extending south to the Mexican border and as far north as Grand Junction, Colorado. Geographically, the region is defined by rugged hill country and arid deserts. Since the ‘60s the population in this region has doubled, and continues to rise 13 percent annually, making it the fastest growing area in the U.S.

American Southwest Cities and Regions

Sedona

This small Arizona town – a hodgepodge of artists, mystics, outdoorsmen, and well-off retirees – draws some four million visitors annually. Sedona is equally popular for its inspiring red-rock landscape and proximity to the Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest as it is for resorts, eclectic shops, fine dining, and spiritual enrichment. See Our Sedona Travel Guide

Grand Canyon

Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, this awe-inspiring national park is visited annually by more than five-million people. Gouged by the Colorado River more than six-million years ago, the 275-mile-long Grand Canyon is over a mile deep in places. Native Americans have called this area home for thousands of years. Head to the Hopi and Mohave points on the South Rim for the best views. See Our Grand Canyon Travel Guide

 

 

Santa Fe

Enchanting, 400-year-old Santa Fe, with its narrow streets and quaint adobe structures, is considered the heart and soul of New Mexico. Home to some 250 art galleries, not to mention a lively downtown district, the city offers one of the best blends of dining, shopping, art, culture, and history in the United States. See Our Santa Fe Travel Guide

Taos

Backed by majestic mountains and fronted by high-mesa desert, tiny Taos (rhymes with "blouse") is one of the Southwest's most popular year-round destinations. In addition to outdoor pursuits like skiing, hiking, and rock climbing, visitors can tour a 1,000-year-old pueblo, peruse contemporary art in adobe-clad galleries, and savor authentic New Mexican cuisine (green or red chile, anyone?). See Our Taos Travel Guide

 

Phoenix & Scottsdale

Like its namesake – the mythological bird that rises from its own ashes – the Greater Phoenix area has risen from a Wild West cow town into one of America’s most popular spa, golf, and shopping destinations. The proof? Over 13 million people vacation here annually. See Our Phoenix Travel Guide

 

Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks

These two parks, which together comprise over 275 square acres in southwestern Utah, are located 50 miles apart. Both are known for their ethereal natural scenery. Hike through the craggy sandstone spires (or “hoodoos”) of Bryce Canon and witness stunning waterfalls in Zion National Park, Utah’s most visited national park.

Moab, Arches, and Canyonlands

Situated in eastern Utah, the town of Moab draws avid outdoorsy sorts year-round, especially mountain-bikers, four-wheelers, and rafters, who come for the exhilarating trails and rivers. Nearby, two national parks – Canyonlands and Arches – offer a slice of meditative desert solitude, as well as bizarre red-rock formations, delicate arches, and colorful vistas.

Albuquerque

New Mexico’s largest city distinguishes itself as “The Ballooning Capital,” because of its annual International Balloon Fiesta, when hundreds of colorful hot air balloons fill the October sky. Check out its 18th-century old town, museums, and the world’s longest aerial tram, which makes the 2.7-mile trip up Sandia Mountain (the top is perfect for views of city lights and sunsets).

Flagstaff

This former railroad town is located at an elevation of 7,000 feet on a mountain of the same name. Its wide selection of accommodations makes it a great base for exploring nearby attractions like the Grand Canyon, the national monuments of Wutpatki, Walnut Canyon, and Sunset Crater Volcano, sections of historic Route 66, and even winter sports like skiing and snowshoeing.

Durango and Mesa Verde

Durango and Mesa Verde National Park, which lie about 30 miles apart, are the two biggest attractions in southwestern Colorado. Although Durango is known for its lively, café-filled downtown, the town’s main claim to fame is the vintage Durango Silverton Railroad, a narrow gauge railroad from 1880 that makes a vertigo-inducing, 3,300-foot climb up the mountain from Durango to Silverton. Mesa Verde National Park is dotted with 600 ancestral Pueblo cliff dwellings, some of which date as far back as 600 AD.

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