Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is arguably one of the most visually impressive and jaw dropping views in the world. This gigantic fissure in the earth's crust is one of natures true wonders. It's 1.83 km deep (1 mile), stretches for 446 km (277 miles) and ranges from 6.5 to 29km wide (4 to 18 miles). Standing at the edge of the South Rim looking down on a sheer drop that can be up to a full kilometer down is a scary and yet thrilling moment. The stunning range of colours that are visible upon each layer of exposed earth will not only excite any geologist but will amaze anyone when they realize they're looking at nearly 2 billion years of the earth's geological history. The Grand Canyon offers any adventure enthusiast a plethora of leg pounding hikes to view points that have an eerie Lord of the Rings feel as well as down to the raging Colorado river. Be well prepared for hikes by packing lots of water and adjust your pace as you are 2200 meters (7000 feet) above sea level and the air is significantly thinner if you're used to hiking at sea level. If you just want an easy stroll or drive between lookouts you can easily fill a day or more. The Grand Canyon does lack accommodation options that are reasonably priced and if you want to stay at the bottom of the canyon you must book it a year in advance. Keep in mind this is one of the most visited places in the United States, so it can get very busy in certain places, especially around Grand Canyon village, but if you take the time to hike down below the rim you can walk for hours and not see anyone. This is one of nature's most amazing creations and if you make a trip to anywhere in the Southwest USA, ensure you stop off at the Grand Canyon. It is that good.

Las Vegas
Las Vegas is one of America's most infamous and intriguing cities in the world. Whether flying or driving into Las Vegas, you can't help but be impressed by the skyline that rises up out of this barren desert valley. The city was established in 1905 and since Bugsy Siegel opened the first casino in 1946, the city has developed into an internationally renowned resort city for gambling, entertainment, shopping and a number of other illicit but technically legal activities. Although widely known as Sin City for the various forms of adult entertainment and the cities tolerance for 24 hour drinking and gambling, Las Vegas caters to people of all ages with a seemingly unlimited number of things to see and do as a family, an elderly couple or a group of young people looking for an endless party. Vegas is definitely one of those places where time seems to disappear while you walk around from place to place gazing at all the flashing lights, amazing fountains, replicated monuments from other countries and the endless streams of people. One important thing about traveling to Las Vegas is to be aware that it will be expensive -very expensive. Accommodation may seem like a bargain but that is the only place where you will save money, eating out and drinking in this city will tax your wallet and then you have gambling, concerts or comedy or circus shows. Include taxis and throw in the odd exquisite buffet and you will likely break that budget. There is so much happening in this city that it is impossible to take it all in during your first visit. Give yourself 3 days to start in Las Vegas and for most people you will need a break after that.  For those of you who don't need sleep, this is your city.  Enjoy and good luck at making it out all in one piece.

Monument Valley
Monument Valley is a unique stretch of barren land that is famous for the clusters of massive sandstone buttes and mesas that rise up off the valley floor. These huge sandstone monoliths are strangely out of place in this largely flat stretch of desert in Southern Utah; you cannot help but marvel at this geological wonder. The Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is the main area where you can view the 'Mittens', three large sandstone buttes that have the appearance of winter mittens.  You will likely recognize these from many western films. Take the time to drive down into the lower reaches of the valley, even small economy cars can handle the dirt road, and you will be rewarded with some outstanding views. This whole area is made up mainly of shrub grass and cactus but is a brilliant red throughout; this vivid red color comes from iron oxide exposed in the weathered siltstone. If you plan on hiking, you will have to hire a guide from the Tribal Park or you can just pay your $5 and drive most of the 17 mile (23km) dirt road stopping at jaw dropping lookout points. Monument Valley and the surrounding area on Hwy 163 provides some of the most iconic images of the American Southwest and you will certainly be hard pressed to put your camera down.

Muki Dugway
The Muki Dugway is an unpaved switchback road about 10km (6 miles) North of Mexican Hat on Hwy 261 in Southern Utah. The road traverses a sheer cliff that is 335 meters (1100 feet) tall and was cut out of the rock in the 1950's by a mining company to transport uranium ore. This drive is awesome with views stretching out almost endlessly below you. Once you are at the top, you can follow another dirt road to Muley Point which is a stunning viewpoint on the top of this remote Mesa that overlooks the San Juan River and the impressive sandstone buttes of Monument Valley off in the distance. This area of Southern Utah is extremely remote and also gives you the opportunity to see what is on top of these huge Mesa plateaus that are a staple in this part of the country.

Mesa Verde
Mesa Verde National Park is an extremely delicate and unique setting that features many ruins and cliff dwellings once occupied by the ancient Pueblo Native Americans. The site is located in the lower Southwestern corner of Colorado state and is set high up in the mountain cliffs and gorges about 6500 - 8000' above sea level. The majority of the cliff dwellings in this area were built or cut around 12th and 13th centuries. The most spectacular is Cliff Palace which commands a great view above one of the gorges and at one point housed around 200 people. The surrounding valleys and gorges have evidence of rock cut homes and are something you would more likely find in Turkey or the Middle East than in the Southwest USA. The remaining dwellings that are still available to visit are fragile environments and do require taking a guided tour.  This means your access is somewhat limited but still well worth your time to view evidence of the people who tried to eek out a living on this remote mountain top 800 years ago.

Lake Powell
Lake Powell is an impressive site as it defies logic and stretches to the horizon in what should be a bleak, dry and barren desert landscape. Located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Lake Powell stretches for 186 miles and has a whopping 2000 miles worth of shoreline. Whether hiking the shore or cruising the lake, you will be impressed by the spectacular rock formations of different colours, shapes and sizes. This massive lake was formed by the damming of the mighty Colorado river with the Glen Canyon dam, which is also an impressive site towering over the orange sheer cliff canyon at the end of Lake Powell below the town of Page Arizona. Take the time to either explore some amazing slot canyons and hike the local area or lounge on the water and enjoy floating on a lake -that little rose, up in the middle of a desert.