Straddling the international border between Canada and New York, three waterfalls make up the magnificent Niagara Falls. With over 168,000 cubic feet of water flow, the Niagara Falls have the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the United States. The 165-feet vertical drop of the waterfalls is an amazing sight to see. The thunderous natural wonder is the product of the Wisconsin glaciation that occurred around 10,000 years ago, which also created the Great Lakes and the Niagara River. Not only a visual treasure, the Niagara Falls is also a source of hydropower, producing huge amounts of electricity.
The Northern Lights are formed by a collision between electrically charged particles from the sun sliding into the Earth’s atmosphere, forming the eerily gorgeous green lights known as the Aurora Borealis. Aboriginal people believe the lights to be spirits of the dead passing on to the heavens with the whistling noise of the occurrence being the voices of those spirits. Although it does look supernatural, these wondrous strokes of paint in the night sky are breathtaking. Take a trip to Alaska or northwestern parts of Canada to enjoy this phenomenon.
Back in 1943, the Paricutin volcano swelled and gushed from the cornfield of local farmer Dionisio Pulido, attracting immediate attention from news reporters and scientists. Fire and lava from the Paricutin volcano buried two villages, but in 1952, the volcano eruptions finally came to a halt. It reached an elevation of 9,210 feet and became one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World in 1997. Now, you can visit one of the youngest volcanoes on Earth, as the beast remains dormant. The crater of the volcano stretches 200 meters across and intrepid souls can climb the cone and walk around the perimeter of the once fire-spewing monster.
REDWOOD NATIONAL PARK
Visit the Redwood National Park and encounter the giants of our planet. Walking through the park, nature gives you a hint at just how immense our planet is, dwarfing all of life’s little problems in a serene manner. Take a look at the park’s 1,500-year old Big Tree, which is an enormous 350 feet tall with a circumference of 68 feet. You can even go to a galaxy far away right in California’s famous park by visiting the Star Wars Tree, a section of the park that was transformed into the Moon of Endor where Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia chased stormtroopers on lightning-quick landspeeders.
Spanning a massive ten countries total, the Sahara Desert is the third largest desert in the world. The United States can fit inside the 9,200,000 square kilometer desert and still have a few thousand square miles of wiggle room. Over a thousand species of plants grow in this epic desert and some areas contain 400-foot tall dunes. The marvelous desert is also home to the toughest marathon ever. The Marathon De Sables is an annual run in southern Morocco held in April, costing $4,500 per runner. For adventurers who want a challenge, the 150-mile marathon is run over seven days and participants must carry all of their supplies.
Follow the Zambezi River and you’ll run into the largest waterfall in the world. Forming a border between Zamia and Zimbabwe, the Victoria Falls spills over 500 million cubic meters of water per minute, forming a massive curtain of falling water that plummets into a gorge more than 100 meters below. Make your way to the Knife-Edge Bridge and absorb the panoramic view of this ferocious waterfall nicknamed “the smoke that thunders.” And, you guessed it, the Victoria Falls qualifies to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
ZHANGJIAJIE NATIONAL FOREST PARK
A cinematic hideaway, the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is the inspiration for James Cameron’s Avatar. One of the pillars, originally named the Southern Sky Column, was renamed ‘Avatar Hallelujah Mountain.’ Its pilar-like formations were created by years of physical erosion and now stand tall, as if they’re the homes of mythical creatures. From the view on the ‘First Bridge under Heaven,’ the mystical floating rocks will make you feel like you’re in an alternate universe, especially when the park is littered with clouds. There are 243 peaks of quartzite-sandstone formations at this natural wonder in China.