<p>Angels don’t need windows, but if they ever wanted to frame a great view, they might choose the North Rim’s Cape Royal (above) and its noble companion parapet in Arizona. Thrust far above the immense luminous space of the canyon, this natural arch overlooks the big bend where the canyon turns west, carving ever deeper into the heart of the Kaibab Plateau. No viewpoint offers a better perspective on the contrast between the dizzying verticality of the gorge and the horizontal rock layers through which it was carved. Red-and-yellow cliffs march across bays and escarpments for mile after astounding mile. The southern horizon is the South Rim, nine miles away and almost a thousand feet lower. Adding to its appeal, the North Rim is forested, wildflower strewn, and pleasantly cooler in summer than the South Rim. Cape Royal is a prime spot to watch cloud formations sail across the void, but beware of thunderstorms. Angels may be a matter for faith, but lightning strikes are a high-voltage reality at this most exposed geologic extremity.</p> <p>From the National Geographic book <a href="http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/ngs/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=6200734&amp;code=NG25051"><i>The 10 Best of Everything—National Parks</i></a></p>

1. Cape Royal and Angels Window in Grand Canyon

Angels don’t need windows, but if they ever wanted to frame a great view, they might choose the North Rim’s Cape Royal (above) and its noble companion parapet in Arizona. Thrust far above the immense luminous space of the canyon, this natural arch overlooks the big bend where the canyon turns west, carving ever deeper into the heart of the Kaibab Plateau. No viewpoint offers a better perspective on the contrast between the dizzying verticality of the gorge and the horizontal rock layers through which it was carved. Red-and-yellow cliffs march across bays and escarpments for mile after astounding mile. The southern horizon is the South Rim, nine miles away and almost a thousand feet lower. Adding to its appeal, the North Rim is forested, wildflower strewn, and pleasantly cooler in summer than the South Rim. Cape Royal is a prime spot to watch cloud formations sail across the void, but beware of thunderstorms. Angels may be a matter for faith, but lightning strikes are a high-voltage reality at this most exposed geologic extremity.

From the National Geographic book The 10 Best of Everything—National Parks

Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic

Top 10 Landmarks in U.S. National Parks

Distinctive, prominent, and instantly recognizable, these natural wonders are worth the trip.

Read This Next

Black homeownership thrives in this NYC neighborhood
COVID-19 is now the deadliest pandemic in U.S. history
Influx of Haitian migrants overwhelms Texas border authorities

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet