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
Top 10 Landmarks in U.S. National Parks
Distinctive, prominent, and instantly recognizable, these natural wonders are worth the trip.