The US state of Arizona is located in the southwestern part of the nation. The state occupies an area of 295,000 square km. About 15% of this area is under private ownership while the rest is part of public forests and parks, Native reservations, and trust lands. The state has three national parks including the internationally famed Grand Canyon National Park. The national parks of Arizona are as follows:
3. Saguaro National Park
Located in southeastern Arizona’s Pima County, the Saguaro National Park encompasses an area of about 150 square km. The national park has two separate sites, the Tucson and the Rincon Mountain districts. The park protects the flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert area. The volcanic rocks of the two parts of the park vary significantly. The Rincon mountains are taller than the Tucson mountains. The highest point in the national park has an elevation of 8,666 ft above sea-level. The park was founded on October 14, 1994. The Saguaro National Park is popular with tourists to Arizona. The park has 266 km of trails. Paved roads in different parts of the park allow sightseeing opportunities. Horseback riding and bicycling activities are also allowed on some roads and trails. The park received 964,760 visitors in 2017.
2. Petrified Forest National Park
This national park spreads across the two counties of Apache and Navajo in the northeastern part of the state. The park features massive deposits of petrified wood that gives it its name. The park’s status was upgraded from a national monument to a national park in 1962. The fee area of the park covers an area of 600 square km. The colorful and eroded badlands of the park give it an ‘out of the world’ appearance. The national park was visited by 643,274 tourists in 2016. Visitors to the park enjoy activities like photography, backpacking, hiking, and more. Over 400 species of plants grow here. Mammals like coyotes, bobcats, pronghorn, etc., are found here. A variety of reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrate species also occur here. The avifauna of the Petrified Forest National Park is also very rich and includes more than 200 species. Fossils of millions of year old trees are common here. More than 600 archeological are also found in this national park.
1. Grand Canyon National Park
This national park is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the United States. The protected area, located in the northwestern part of the state, was also inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The Grand Canyon, carved by the Colorado River, serves as the central feature of the park. The park occupies an area of 4,926.08 square km. Nearly 6 million visitors arrived at the park in 2016. The park offers surreal views of the massive and deep canyon with ages-old colorful rock layers. Only a small part of the park is visited by the public and the rest is highly rugged and remote.
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