The Top Fifty Best Places in the American West (Part 2)
by Joseph A. Sprince - Photography by Gerald B. Allen
Best Places to Visit in the West:
New Best in the West Guide
- Best Large City
For a great place to visit, obviously San Francisco. The combination of great landmarks, great culture, great ethnic neighborhoods, unique topography, and diversity puts the city in a class by itself. My favorite places include Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate Park, and of course the Golden Gate Bridge. Bring a hearty appetite because the food is great everywhere in town.
- Steve Tai: I live in San Francisco...visited Golden Gate often. The bridge...is splendid.
- Mary Lacy: Lived there and loved it!
- Marty Bloomenthal: There are other famous bridges in the world, but only the Golden Gate is the symbol of a major city.
- Jacqueline Jackson: Very interesting with lots of history, hills, great weather.
- Mary Coak: ...the city in the American West I most want to visit.
- Sheryl Ballard: A lovely reminder of my trips to San Francisco...
- Toniann Carbone: Photos really don't do justice to this beautiful city.
- Luis Fernandez: Where else can you have solitude (eg Marin Headlands), then enjoy Thai food within the hour? Second best city is Tucson, Arizona...
- Best View of the Grand Canyon
The huge views at most of the popular stops make it somewhat difficult to grasp the canyon.
Many vistas offer only a glimpse of the Colorado River. The Toroweap Overlook
provides a direct view of the river in a narrow section of the canyon. The crowning
touch is a 3,000 foot drop straight to the river off its unfenced edge! The remote overlook
is at the end of many miles of dirt roads so it's an excellent adventure to go there.
- Joy Queen: Grand Canyon is awesome. Would like to see more pull-offs for viewing.
- Shao-Ying Low: I want to visit the place soon!
- Jacqueline Jackson: I have never seen anything so vast and beautiful. We've been twice.
- R. F. Niemann: Fantastic sunrise and sunset colors and views...
- Sheryl Ballard: A fabulous photo with the way it shows the canyon's details.
- Deborah Sauer: ...the views are breathtaking, the sunsets mesmerizing.
- Paul P: Only by being there [can one appreciate] the truly remarkable beauty...
- Paul Markowski: Grand Canyon is in a class by itself. Most humbling place on earth!!
- Ron Kruse: I wish I could see every sunset there for the rest of my life.
- Toughest Four-Wheel-Drive Trail
The infamous Elephant Hill Trail is the vehicular gateway to the backcountry of Canyonlands
National Park's (Utah) Needles District. The trail must cross a slickrock ridge whose
grade approaches 40 degrees. And the ridge consists entirely of contorted rock.
A walk up the trail revealed remains of auto parts and endless fluid spills
from damaged undercarriages. It was a memorable spectacle watching a parade of
amateurs trying to make it over the top on a Memorial Day weekend.
- George: Black Bear Road from Red Mountain Pass Summit to Telluride, Colorado. DANGEROUS, but spectacular!!
- Best Short Hike
My favorite is the hike to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Utah.
The park offers some of the strangest erosional effects in canyon country.
The pliable Entrada sandstone erodes into arches, windows, bowls, fins, etc.
The short hike (one hour each way) ends at Delicate Arch, the world's most
spectacular arch in a spectacular setting. There is a huge bowl below the
arch, a huge cliff behind it, and the snow-covered LaSalle Mountains in the
background. You can also view the arch through a window along the trail as
well as some future arches being carved on the sandstone walls.
- Rusty Albertson: ...great photo.
- Joy Queen: Arches and Canyonlands have the most spectacular scenery in the world.
- Erna VanAsdale: The arches were a pleasant surprise even though it rained...
- Denise Gibbs: I hiked to Delicate Arch, lay right underneath, and watched the clouds roll by!
- Best Zoo
The San Diego Zoo is often acclaimed
as the finest zoo in the world. The zoo provides natural settings not only for
its animals but also for the visitors. Walking the many acres of lushly landscaped hills
and washes is as enjoyable as viewing the creatures. The zoo's highlight is the panda paddock.
The Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum outside of Tucson, Arizona, is a combination
zoo and museum. While not an extremely large facility, it is definitely world-class and rates a close second best.
- Steve Tai: ...have long wanted to visit San Diego. The panda is lovely...
- Lacey Cloarec: I have been here, and it's fantastic!
- V. Bridges: Memorable. It triggers a desire to help domestic and wild animals.
- Iskander Makhmudov: I was fascinated by the number of species in the Moscow (Russia) City Zoo...
- Deborah Sauer: A fantastic zoo! So many of God's wonderful creatures...
- Toniann Carbone: I love pandas, and have been following the babies' progress on the web.
- Darcia Keplin: Loved the zoo's naturalscape. The animals seemed right at home.
- Annie B: The San Diego Wild Animal Park is the BEST place to see wild animals in a natural setting. (Ed note: the Animal Park is managed by the S.D. Zoo.)
- Best Fishing
The Lee's Ferry fishery has been very kind to me
over the years. The Glen Canyon Dam has created an outstanding tailwater fishery
for rainbow trout on the Colorado River between the dam and Lee's Ferry in
northern Arizona. Catching (and releasing) 40 trout, including a five pounder,
on a summer's afternoon made me a believer.
- Best Hot Springs with a View
The lovely old, western town of Ouray, Colorado, is nestled in the rugged San Juan Range in the
state's southwestern corner. You may enjoy the Ouray Hot Springs in the town's
pool complex. You can select a cold pool, warm pool, or hot pool, then sit
back, relax, and enjoy the view of the mountains towering over the town on three sides.
- Lora Barlow: To curl up in a hot-springs with my sweetie sounds like fun...
- Annie B: The hike-in springs in the Black Canyon offer a great view of the canyon.
- Best Natural Hot Springs
The Liard River Hot Springs is in a marshy forest just off the Alaska Highway in northern British Columbia. You walk a short distance on a boardwalk, past the foraging moose, and there is a pond in the woods. Besides the boardwalk and a small dressing room, it's all natural. The bottom is slimy, and the mosquitos ferocious, but the water is hot and the exotic location is priceless.
- Lawana: ...you should visit the springs on the McKenzie River east of Springfield, Oregon!
- Lacey Cloarec: I live in Canada, and have never been there... thanks for info!
- Josh Lucas: The color of the water is so blue, it is awesome!
- Best Scenic Lake
Oregon's Crater Lake is one of the world's
most spectacular calderas. The volcanic Mount Mazama erupted with an enormous explosion
6,000 years ago. The top 4,000 feet of the mountain collapsed leaving an enormous
caldera (crater) which eventually filled with water becoming beautiful Crater Lake.
The jagged edges of the caldera tower almost 2,000 feet above the lake.
- Mary Lacy: ...especially beautiful in winter.
- Lawana: ...there's so much more to see than just the lake, which is breath-taking!
- Vickie Nielsen: ...awesome in winter. The crisp air and solitude is exhilirating...
- Iskander Makhmudov: Baikal Lake in Russia is absolutely spectacular, a "must-see"...
- Laurie Moline: ...compares favorably to Torch Lake, one of world's most beautiful.
- Luis Fernandez: Lakes in eastern Sierra Nevada ... Tenaya, Silver, Mono, Convict...
- Best Scenic Drive - Desert
The Apache Trail runs from the Phoenix suburb of Apache Junction to Roosevelt Lake, the reservoir which is the region's lifeblood. The route roughly follows the Salt River and its reservoirs, a spectacle of stark desert mountains and steep canyons. Most noteworthy is the hair-raising descent of Fish Creek Hill. President Theodore Roosevelt drove the route to attend the dedication of the dam and lake named for him. He described it as "one of the most spectacular best-worth-seeing sights of the world".
- Marina (Vladivostock, RU): I've never been to a desert, it must be spectacular.
- Darcia Keplin: A spectacular oasis in the desert. I loved the drive.
- Norman DeRose: Rode this trail once, thought it best left to donkeys rather than cars!
- Paul Markowski: Mojave Road is also a very scenic, desert road.
Best Places to Visit in the West:
New Best in the West Guide
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