1. Arizona Horseshoe Bend meander of Colorado River

The colors in this particular photo are astounding, aren’t they? There’s something pure and clean about looking at this image. This landscape, so different from most everything we see in our daily lives, hardly seems to be touched by humans. And here, too, we can see the changes that have occurred in the world over hundreds, if not thousands of years.

The Colorado River bends at this point, and it’s clear that it used to be much wider. You can see the areas that it used to fill, stretching out far beyond it’s modern banks, turning this bend into something a bit more like a very large pond or a very small lake. Will the river continue to recede and get smaller, or at some point in the future will it widen back up, regaining some of its lost ground? Only time will tell.

2. Grand Canyon and Colorado River

Here you can see two of America’s greatest natural treasures. The Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. These two go hand in hand, really, because without one, there wouldn’t be much of the other. And, visually, both of them support each other, too. There’s something about this image that makes you want to go on an adventure.

It makes you feel as though you could run out to the garage, grab your trusty canoe, and head on down the river, traveling between those astounding columns of rock and Earth. Of course, actually doing that would be a little bit more complicated, and it’s not recommended that you do, especially if you’re an amateur canoe-r, which most of us probably are.

There’s always the thought, though, and maybe someday… Hell, maybe tomorrow. After all, what’s really stopping you from getting in your car right now and heading over to the Grand Canyon?

3. Grand Canyon

Imagine the view here! Of course, as beautiful as it is, the looks aren’t all that make this point so breathtaking. Standing on the edge looking down, it can feel as though you’re a second away from falling into the massive canyon, being swallowed up forever. Or, you know, hitting the ground rather hard.

It takes quite a bit of courage to stand on the edge of this cliff and to look out over the rest of the world from that vantage point. Would you do it? If you would, you’d get a nice reward. There are few places on Earth more beautiful and filled with history than this right here.

And by standing on the edge, you not only get to absorb some of that beauty, but you also get to become part of the history of the place. So, go ahead, scoot on up.

4. Antelope Canyon

At first glance, this photo looks otherworldly, as though it were taken on Mars. But then, as the image sinks in, and you remember that people don’t get to walk around and take pictures on Mars, you’ll come to the delightful conclusion that this gorgeous, shocking image originates right here on Earth.

All across the globe are little secluded spots, sometimes celebrated, that people have fought to preserve because of the feelings those places inspire. The area around the Grand Canyon is one of these, and this picture perfectly captures the spirit that makes people want to preserve this and more of the Earth.

Where else could you suddenly feel like you’re on another world, lost but excited, on your own, exploring new territory. Sometimes it feels like everything has been seen and done before, but this place reminds you that you haven’t seen and done everything yet, so keep going.

5. Flowing Sand

Skilled photographers manage to capture many things when they take a photograph. Clearly this picture was taken by a skilled photographer. Staring at the falling sand, you get the sense that it really is moving down, almost as if the picture were animated. All the motion of the sand is captured here, you feel it moving forward, flowing down.

This image not only transports you to the place it was taken, but it makes that place feel alive, so you can get a sense of what it would really mean to be standing there, watching this sand move about, instead of just getting a sense of what this spot must look like. This image truly takes you to its location.

There’s magic in that. And there’s magic in what we’re seeing. The moving sand, swirling around on ancient rocks. This is a place that’s old, but still living and growing and changing.

6. Grand Canyon West Rim

Three thoughts go through my head as I look at this image. The first is simply: Wow. This is a beautiful picture of an incredible landscape, and it’s so great to see such a lack of human presence in a place. The second thought is: I really want to explore that area.

Walking around it, breathing its air, seeing things that perhaps no other person has ever seen, becoming part of that natural history — all would be amazing. The final thought is the least sophisticated, but I really can’t help myself… I want to push that boulder over the edge.

7. Grand Canyon Sunset

This really puts the sunset that I see every day in my town to shame. Seeing such a pure sunset, not blocked by buildings or smog, airplanes or cell towers, is a really rare experience these days. It seems like there’s always something that gets in the way.

I can only imagine what it would feel like to be all by yourself, standing at the top of one of those cliffs, overlooking the many valleys below you, taking in that pure sunset for the first time in your life. There’d be nothing else like it, that’s for sure.

8. Grand Canyon, Arizona

It’s not very often that you get to see a picture that so wonderfully captures the insane persistence of nature. At the top of such an incredible tower of sedimentary rock, there’s some green. A couple little trees, clinging to life at the edge of place that even a human would struggle to visit, much less use as a home!

Nothing can stop the force of nature. It made the rocks, originally, and it willed life to exist way up there, far removed from anything else in the area. Because it’s always pushing to survive, no matter what.

9. Beginning of Grand Canyon

Here seems like the best place for one to begin a journey down the river that runs right through the heart of the Grand Canyon. This is such a quiet space, and such a simple starting point that doesn’t seem to give away any hint of the wonders that would come to you further on down the line of your journey.

It feels good to look at a simple, peaceful spot like this and imagine that all the rest of the complexities of the Grand Canyon and its surrounding areas spring forth from this point that we’re seeing here.

10. Grand Canyon Rocks

At a glance this photograph seems to depict something that goes beyond the laws of physics. How can that giant boulder be supported by such a simple and small column of stone. It’s that simplicity in this picture that I think makes it so magical.

All we really get to see here is some rocks and sand, but that lack of complexity lets us focus in on the boulder, and it’s mysterious support, in a way that we probably wouldn’t if the picture were busy. Sometimes, without all our distractions, we can find simple things in life that baffle and amuse us.

11. The Watchtower

This is a really wonderful picture that perfectly shows how humans have come to change the shape of their landscape. Far to the left in the image it’s possible to see untouched nature, spreading out in all direction. But the right half of the picture shows a tower very obviously built from native peoples.

The stone melds in with the landscape, but the tower itself juts out and changes our perspective of the whole picture and the whole area. Still, it’s possible to imagine someone hundreds of years ago standing at the top of the tower, enjoying the view, just like us.

12. Bird Over Grand Canyon

Here is a great example of the difference between how humans and animals interact with their environment. People try to change the world, by building structures and technologies that make it easier to separate themselves from the natural world. Animals don’t.

They embrace the world around them, and in doing so, they become part of that landscape. They embrace the struggles of the natural environment, and frequently they thrive because of that. Unless some humans roll in and destroy the landscape that they’ve become a part of. So, uh… People win in the end, I guess.

13. Snow Canyon

We don’t usually associate the Grand Canyon with snow. After all, in it’s the desert right? But that’s what makes this picture so memorable, so shocking and worth seeing. As a person who comes from a place with intense winters, I’m not a fan of the snow.

The magic of seeing it fall to the Earth makes me grumble and complain, but even I’m impressed by the sight. It would be incredible to hear the crunch of your boots in the snow while knowing that you’re standing in the freaking Grand Canyon. Now, that’s an experience.

14. Colorado River

The Colorado River in this picture makes one hell of an entrance. Rarely does it look so green, or stand out so sharply from the landscape around it. After all, the river helped to shape everything else that you can see in the picture.

In most photos, the river tends to melt into the landscape of the Grand Canyon. Here, though, it commands attention, and even though it’s much smaller than it was thousands, or even hundreds, or one hundred, years ago, the Colorado River, in this image, gets all of the focus that it truly deserves.

15. Grand Canyon in Moonlight

There is so much that makes this picture great. First, the obvious. Seeing the Grand Canyon at night is incredible. It’s like you’re camping out, or living amidst the cliffs and valleys. Some of the streaks near the top of the picture look like they could be shooting stars, don’t they?

On top of that, getting such a clear of the different strata in the canyon rocks is also amazing. You can see the thousands of years of history put on display like an art exhibit that nature designed and put on display all by itself.

16. Grand Canyon

Have you ever wanted to travel to outer space? Do you have a desire to see strange foreign planets, to explore the universe around you and see things that you couldn’t possibly dream of? Well, unfortunately, you can’t. Space travel like that isn’t possible. Plus, you probably aren’t an astronaut, so that’s a bummer.

But you CAN go to the Grand Canyon, and, yes, that’s what you’re seeing in this picture. And if the land around the canyon is so alien, who knows what you might find while you’re out wandering among the rocks…

17. Arizona Sunset

There are few sights as breathtaking as this one right here. A gorgeous shot from high about the rocky landscape of Arizona, just as the sun it’s beginning it’s daily descent below the horizon. The rocks are bathed in a magical kind of light, and they work a certain kind of magic themselves.

You can see different eras of time in the sides of the cliffs here — each differently-colored section of rock comes from a different time. All are layered on each other so you can start at the bottom, the past, and work your way up into the present.

18. Colorado River

Ever wonder why ancient civilizations (and less ancient civilizations) always put their cities right next to rivers. Well, you can see the answer for yourself in this photo. The only life in the area here is springing out from the river’s shores. The nearby water provides the main ingredient for greenery and even animals.

Who knows what might be found crawling around the shore’s sand, or in those bits of green, or, possibly, floating around in the river water, enjoying the day and waiting for some food to swim by. Rivers, especially when cutting through deserts, are astounding!

19. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Sections of the desert often look like they’ve come straight from Mars, and the landscape shown in this picture is no different. There isn’t water in sight. The ground is red. The sky seems oddly colored. What if aliens are hiding out in the Grand Canyon?

It’s not a great theory, and most every human being on the planet would disagree, but come on, why not? At the very least, there’s got to be some strange animals roaming up and down and through the rocks. It’s got to take one hell of a tough creature to survive out there.

20. Sunset at the South Rim

The landscape seems to go on and on and on and on, doesn’t it? Almost like it’s an endless world for you to explore. Of course, our world is a world for you to explore, but that doesn’t mean that all of it looks like this. Unfortunately, not nearly all of it is even half this beautiful.

There’s something inviting in the muted colors and the hints of greenery that we see here. Something that makes you think that maybe it’d be possible to live out the rest of your life in the desert. But then again, could you stand it without a/c?

21. Desert View Sunset

Here’s a photo that looks like it’s come out of Egypt or possibly somewhere in the Sahara Desert — some exotic location far away that most of us will never see. But that’s an illusion. This is actually a shot of the Grand Canyon, right in the US, and frequented by tourists every single day.

The natural beauty of the world isn’t always far away, remote and nearly impossible to find, it’s all around us, right in our back yards and nothing captures that like this stunning image here, closer to home than we might imagine.

22. Grand Canyon National Park

This looks like a CG rendered shot from a movie about bigger-than-life heroes fighting on Mars, but really it’s an absolutely flooring picture from the depths of Grand Canyon national park. The muted reds and browns of the area are captured, as well as the amazing light of the sky at intermediary times.

The dust flowing around the hill in this picture is scuttled up during bouts of wind that constantly flood the desert area of the national park, meaning that this picture captures the kind of beauty that can be found frequently near the Grand Canyon.

23. Grand Canyon in Winter

Imagine a traditionally hot desert in the winter, getting cold enough at nights for the ground to be frosted, and occasionally even hold onto a thin layer of snow that might have drifted across it while the sun was hiding around.

That’s what you can see here, the great depths of the Grand Canyon framed by light snow build up, build up that manages to hold it’s ground only while it remains in the shadows that can linger for an extra-long time in the Grand Canyon. It’s a surreal but serene image of one of America’s national parks.

24. Sunrise at Mount Hayden

Mountains are usually thought of as rising up from the ground, towering over everything around them. But what if instead of being land that’s risen, mountains towered because everything else around them sunk low into the ground.

That’s the effect that you get by staring at Mount Hayden in the Grand Canyon national park. It sticks out of a red desert landscape that’s fallen deep below sea level, and the heavy wind of the desert has given it a sheer, almost grim facade. Hayden looks like a jagged tooth that’s been forced up through the desert landscape.

25. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

A poignant and powerful image with a strong foreground layer atop an out-of-focus landscape with a blistering sunset at it’s center. Here you can see a single, gnarled tree, seemingly forcing its way into life at the edge of a cliff overlooking the vast desert of Grand Canyon national park.

The tree is at once hopeful and utterly alone, and the sunset at the center of the picture’s background perfectly matches the mixed emotions of the sharply focused foreground. There’s a sort of yin and yang to this image that’s hard to find in other places.

26. Grand Canyon National Park

The photo is a balanced and relaxed image of the wonders than can be see in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. You can see the presence of some forms of life in the desert, small green trees and shrubs, that flourish along the sides of hills and mountains that aren’t always focused in the sunlight.

You can also see the great contrast between areas of light and darkness that are present but ever shifting each day in the park. This is a relaxed image, but one that manages to be simultaneously impressive and instructive for those viewing it.

27. Canyon and Sky

A somewhat disorienting image, it is nonetheless quite impressive. The boundary between land and sky is directly in the middle of the picture, but as each half is equally complex, equally interesting, and equally different, your brain will struggle to look at both simultaneously.

Both land and sky become more complicated with scenery as they recede into the background. Their simple beginnings will draw you in, and as your eyes float back into the complicated mess of each, they’ll meet that hard, well-defined border between the two right at the picture’s center. It’s a delightful effect.

28. Grand Canyon, Nevada

Desert life flourishes near sources of water, and luckily for those things that are trying their hardest to survive in the harsh desert environment of the southwestern United States, they’ve got the Colorado River on their side. This picture shows just how much life in the desert appreciates that.

The foreground is home to greenery that can only grow to be as strong as it is by relying on the river in the background of the image. This picture perfectly balances these two essentials — life and life giver. It’s a give and take that lends this picture a sense of peace.

29. Grand Canyon

Greenery, rainbows, blue sky, and thick clouds, all present in the desert. What a complicated series of things to see all in one image. This combination creates a breathtaking picture that lights up with hope and happiness.

Even better, the rainbow in the picture leaps out of a stretch of canyon, and the greenery climbs up the side of a hill in the foreground. Thick clouds recede into the background, promising some later payoff of buckets of rain that will lead to more greenery, more rainbows. It’s a self-sustaining image that capture the ebb and flow of life in the desert.

30. Grand Canyon Stars

What’s better than a starry night sky? How about one that hangs over a beautiful landscape pocked with valleys and layered with plateaus and incredible colors: Greens, grays, browns, deep reds. That’s what you get in this picture.

An unbelievable shot of the Grand Canyon stretching out into the horizon where lands melts into light purple sky dotted with brilliant white stars. The plateau most in the foreground seems like an idyllic place for someone to make a home. The whole picture gives out a sense of peace and calm while also offering absolute beauty.

31. Aerial View of Grand Canyon

This picture enhances the enormous sense of depth that one would get standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. This flyover aerial view offers a good sense of the Canyon’s size while also showing off it’s creator, the Colorado River — here looking like a massive superhighway of life.

The staggered nature of the cliffs look like the rocky surface of Mars or the moon. The editing of this picture is astounding, sharpening the image’s edges while also muting the colors, allowing the shapes of the Canyon and the River to stand out, to be the main focus of the picture.

32. Mooney Fall

A beautiful shot of water and life tucked away in the desert landscape of Grand Canyon National Park. This waterfall almost looks like a sheet of crystal that’s springing out of the rough red rock behind it. This image is full of life, all coming into existence because of the blue-white water that makes up the pictures focus.

There’s a gorgeous and strong tree in the center of the image’s background, but scattered throughout are spots of green, forcing their way up through the desert ground and into the open air around them. This picture is a hopeful one.

33. Grand Canyon in Winter

A paradox in a single image. Here we can see a layer of snow covering the top of a hill in the foreground, but everywhere else in the picture is dry, red rock and sand, all of it appearing just as warm as one would expect the Grand Canyon National park to be.

The valley in the center of the picture is large and flat, and perfectly contrasts with the green and snow scene that first greets your eyes when you take a look at the picture. This captures the incredible diversity that is the Grand Canyon.

34. Grand Canyon

This image looks like something out of a science fiction movie, and, undoubtedly, Grand Canyon National Park has been used for filming some pretty fantastic science fiction movies, but this isn’t an image of Mars taken from powerful telescopes.

The strange yellow glow that covers the land comes from how the sun filters through the air in the area, and the deep “craters” are nothing more than dips in a land that is commonly now to be constructed from rough hewn rock. A shocking and intriguing picture that captures a side of a national landmark that most people haven’t seen before.

35. Track in Gorge

When most people think of the Grand Canyon, they probably don’t imagine a picturesque fall landscape that is at once cozy and beautiful. But, parts of the Grand Canyon are exactly that! This image shows a track in the Grand Canyon that is covered with brilliant red leaves, fallen from trees that have managed to cling to life thanks to the force of the Colorado River.

The surrounding stones are overgrown with green — grasses, bushes, and some moss. Altogether this makes for an inviting scene, one that seems both familiar and foreign, just begging to be explored.

36. Grand Canyon

A serene sunset in a landscape that is entirely made up of warm colors. Just looking at this picture can raise your body temperature while also slowing your heart rate. Beneath the sunset can be seen a hole in some rock that seems to lead to a path and potentially even water.

The hidden path beckons viewers deeper into the picture, which itself seems to beg for exploration with the eyes. There are so many quiet details hidden in one image, that the initial burst of sunset eventually opens up into a much more exciting sight.

37. Colorado Canyon

Most of the Grand Canyon is dusty-colored, ancient stone, and this picture shows that. But between the two towers of stone featured in the foreground of the image, one can see a stretch of land that is covered in the greens of trees and shrubs. The image demonstrates that there’s much more to the Grand Canyon than meets the eye.

The natural landscape, and the photo of it, subverts one’s expectations and challenges their pre-made thoughts. The picture invites people to come and explore the natural landscape, to see with their own eyes what mysteries it holds.

38. Wotan’s Throne, View from North Rim

Some sections of Grand Canyon National Park break away from the desert and spring forth into green life. Wotan’s Throne is like that, and this stunning ariel shot shows the extent of the greenery in this small area.

The interplay between brown and green, shadows and light, deep valley and high peaks, creates a breathless sense of movement and action. The life of this region is captured and put on display, so that viewers can become a part of the life that exists in this subset of the Grand Canyon. Exciting and intriguing all at once.

39. Grand Canyon September Sunrise

This picture of Grand Canyon National Park puts on displays colors the likes of which are rarely seen in the Park. The sunset that is the subject of the picture makes everything around it explode in brilliant colors. The sky turns from shocking purple to serene blue, and the clouds sharpen in relief against their luminous background.

The land beneath also transforms, greens becoming deep symbols of life, and the ancient sandy browns of the desert show their age and resonate with everything else around them. There’s a whole universe in this image, and it’s a pleasure to take in.