The Southwest States of USA are - as far as Bugbog is concerned - Arizona, California,
Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah. Some people consider Oklahoma to be a part of the Southwest, some think Texas is purely South US, and some think that California is on an entirely different planet.
Many of the country's most interesting cities sit in this corner
of USA, while bizarre and mind-boggling national parks bubble up
all around offering the best geological wow factors in America.
The region is culturally diverse representing
everything from wild west cowboys through laid-back Latinos to Mormon conservatives and hippy-dippy
new age spiritualists and both outdoor and indoor activities on offer are equally diverse and outstanding
catering to almost everyone.
Crime time can be easily avoided - it's not
as prevalent as Hollywood suggests - but some driving in fast, heavy
traffic on big roads with poor signs cannot.
This part of the west coast is the hippest,
most interesting state in the country. It's got a surf coast, superb, dynamic
cities - some of them very attractive - good wine, sunshine,
neo-hippies, freaks, geeks, spectacular deserts and magnificent mountains. More California
With the Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, Sonoran Desert and Slot Canyons Arizona puts the wild in west but also displays a new-age angle in affluent Sedona, arguably America's most off-the-wall town. More Arizona
An interesting palette of Mexican, Indian
and bohemian influences, with some of America's best ancient sites and monuments yet parts are very much in the nuclear
age. More New Mexico
Big on Mormon and Native American culture
but the main interest to the Utah visitor is the outdoor recreational
possibilities, particularly hiking and biking in the staggeringly
beautiful national parks (see below) plus white powder snow in
winter and white water in summer. Salt
hosted the 2002 winter Olympics so facilities
in the area are spanking new for the snow seeking tourist. There
are several world class ski resorts within an hour or two drive
from the city, which has an international airport.
This state means Rocky Mountains and sensational skiing to many but like the other south-west US states Colorado also embraces some wonderful national parks and monuments such as Rocky Mountain NP (for lakes, waterfalls and incredible shrinking glaciers), Mesa Verde (including Anasazi ancient cliff dwellings), Great Sand Dunes, Gunnison's Black Canyon, San Juan Mountains (historic towns, mines, canyons) and Arapaho NRA (five picturesque lakes).
Gambling and extravagant night lights spring to mind when Nevada is mentioned but there is wild life outside Reno and Las
Vegas, just check out nearby Red Rock Canyon or even the Great Basin National Park where stunning views include a glacier on Wheeler Peak.
Nevada's Black Rock Desert in late August is temporary home to the
totally wild and awesome Burning
Circle' SW USA National Parks:
Canyon National Park (Utah)*** a
gorgeous amphitheatre of wiggly, melting, red and white rocks, with
stunning walks above and below the rim and good campgrounds.
Canyon National Park (Utah)*** towering,
fortress rocks in a deep canyon cut by the Virgin river. While the
Grand Canyon experience is mostly looking down, Zion is mostly looking
up to varicoloured monoliths. Walks are well-marked and interesting
while camping is convenient.
Reef National Park (Utah)** yet another colourful, rocky region
with excellent hiking, plus a historic Mormon town.
town (Utah)** a lively, young gateway town to Canyonlands and Arches National
Parks, as well as massive Sand Flats Recreation Area, with all the
rental kit and activity organisation necessary.
National Park (Utah)** another huge and
scenic wilderness area with buttes and canyons, great rafting, biking,
4WD, ATV and hiking possibilities.
National Park (Utah)*** incredible sandstone
arches and wacky rock shapes in dramatic settings. Great hiking but no biking. Busy but enough space for that not to
be a problem. Limited camping.
Valley Navajo Tribal Park (Utah/Arizona)** some wonderful
buttes that will trigger fond western memories. Hiking and biking.
The high elevation Colorado Plateau portion
of the Great Basin Desert in southern Utah stretches down into north
eastern Arizona and is a superb space for outdoor activities.
More cacti per sq ft then any other,
and wobbly trees too, in Joshua
Tree National Park (California).
of the Mojave is this massive desert which covers almost all of
the state, criss-crossed by a handful of highways.
51* the truth can apparently be found here. The infamous Area 51 and
Hangar 18 within are well off official limits but star gazing in
the area can get a little strange - UFO's are commonly sighted.
The residents of nearby Rachel are happy to tell you about it and
take your money for souvenirs.
Hiking: Yellowstone, Sequoia, King's
Canyon, Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks, Mojave National
Preserve and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California; Capitol
Reef, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands and Arches National Parks
in Utah; the Pacific Crest Trail
Tree for small stuff, Yosemite for big climbs, Sequoia and King's
Canyon National Parks in California; Moab in Utah; San Francisco
Mountains, Santa Catalina Mountains, and Monument Valley in Arizona;
Red Rocks in Nevada.
Mountaineering:Sierra Nevada Mountains
in California; Wasatch Mountains.
Mountain biking: Slickrock
in Sand Flats Recreation Area (Moab) is the best bike trail in the
country. Also Mammoth Mountain, Marin County.
water rafting and kayaking: Moab is
a great base for white water activities.
Skiing and Snowboarding: Kaibab National Forest and Cocinino National Forest in Arizona.
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