We’ve scoured the country, from New York to Oregon, to bring you some of the absolute best (and weirdest) natural wonders in the U.S. There’s a little bit of everything, from a fiery waterfall grotto to stones that appear to move all on their own. So, next time you decide to make an epic cross-country road trip, consider stopping at one of these incredibly strange natural wonders and prepare to be amazed.
Here’s an example of a man-made well that was overtaken by natural processes. This small geothermal geyser is a seriously weird, little-known tourist attraction. Originally built in 1916 as a well, Fly Geyser functioned just fine for about 50 years until geothermally-heated water started escaping to the surface, and minerals began dissolving around the spout, in quite a colorful display. To this day it continues to grow.
Be warned when staring into the intense and powerful beauty that is Thor’s Well in Cape Perpetua, you may just get sucked in if you’re not too careful. Though from afar this may look like your run-of-the-mill salt water fountain, accessing it for a good photo-op is actually very dangerous. Think Calypso-dangerous.
Imagine, if you will, a 30-ft high waterfall, cascading gently over a grotto that houses a natural gas spring. When ignited this spring creates a flame between 4 and 8 inches high. This is definitely one of the most unique waterfalls in America. Just be aware that the hike leading up to it smells a bit like rotten-egg.
Here’s a geological phenomenon that would even stump Mulder and Scully! The mysterious Sailing Stones of California’s Racetrack Playa. These stones move all on their own, along a smooth valley floor. Scientists have studied them and have varied theories as to why and how they’re able to do this. Most of the stone’s tracks develop over several years, some stones actually turn over, some rocks may move uniformly together and then alter direction. One thing’s for sure, these mysterious stones remind us that we may know a lot about the world, but we certainly don’t know everything.
This vivid wonder is America’s largest hot spring and clearly one of the most amazing natural wonders of the US. It’s rainbow coloration has attracted explorers, scientists and tourists for a couple hundred years. The intense color comes from bacteria and microbial mats that grow around the edges of the spring. The purity of the water in the middle of the pool is what accounts for it’s vibrant blue hue. Before you strip down and decide to skinny dip, keep in mind the temperature of the spring is around 160°F. So, unless you hate having skin on your body, I’d recommend a dip in Yellowstone’s safer swimming areas.
Lastly, we have the burning mountain, Montana’s Mt. Grinnell. Photographer Harry Lichtman captured this stunning image at Glacier National Park. He asserts that there was no photo-wizardry, just incredible timing. Lichtman was shooting the mountain at sunrise, and a combination of sedimentary rock and the sun’s intense glow helped to create this natural wonder.