Naturally yours

Hug the world’s largest tree, take in majestic waterfalls and explore otherworldly canyons at these spectacular destinations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Text: ALEJANDRO JOFRÉ  @Rebobinars
       

 

UST-DEATHVALLEY

phOTO: getty images

Death Valley National Park, United States

The hottest park in the United States is open year round, but rangers offer guided tours only during the cooler months, from November to April, when the daytime temperature settles at a pleasant 70°F. Between July and August, the heat can reach an overwhelming 122°F. At the hidden oasis called Devil’s Hole, the water splashes when there are earthquakes in places as far as Japan and Chile. In the dry lakebed called Racetrack Playa, you can see the mysterious “sailing stones.” Death Valley is accessible by car or bus from Las Vegas or Los Angeles; remember to bring plenty of water to keep hydrated.

Admission: US$10 for 7 days
Vehicles: US$20 for 7 days
www.nps.gov/deva

 


 

MICHIGAN - Small lake in the Hiawatha National Forest.. Image shot 10/2008. Exact date unknown.

phOTO: alamy

Hiawatha National Forest, United States

Located in Michigan on the border with Canada and spanning nearly 900,000 acres, this huge protected area is filled with flora and fauna, rivers and waterfalls. Also known as the Great Lakes National Forest, Hiawatha’s beaches are home to bald eagles, wolves and lynxes. Visitors enjoy trekking and biking as well as snowshoeing in the winter. Keep in mind that most of the attractions remain open between May and October, when the temperatures are most welcoming.

Admission: US$12
www.fs.usda.gov/hiawatha

 


 

Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2014

phOTO: getty images

Cenote Ik Kil, México

Lost between the ruins of Chichén Itza and the Mayan Riviera, the Ik Kil Cenote is a subterranean cavern with a natural well where visitors can take a dip beneath the Mexican jungle in the Yucatán Province. The Maya believed that these pools led to the netherworld. Seen from above, the enormous mouth (nearly 200 feet in diameter and 85 feet deep) is striking for its beauty, surrounded by jungle trees. It’s best to visit when the sun is at its highest, and be sure you don’t use body cream, sunblock or bug repellent that could contaminate the delicate waters.

Admission: US$6

 


 

Go Find Your National Park

phOTO: getty images

Sequoia National Park, United States

Visiting this park is like exploring a world on different scale, a land of giants where human beings seem insignificant. Accessible only on foot or horseback, the sequoias seem to touch the sky, measuring up to 275 feet tall. That’s the height of the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree in the world (though it’s not the tallest). The high season is between July and August. You’ll find fewer people from September to November, when it may start to snow at any moment.

Admission: US$10 for 7 days
Vehicles: US$20 for 7 days
www.nps.gov/seki

 


 

Views Of Grand Canyon National Park As Tourism Rises

phOTO: getty images

Grand Canyon National Park, United States

Located in northwest Arizona, this majestic location certainly inspires strong emotions: the stunning Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and reaches depths of more than a mile (6,093 feet). The complex rock formations are simply hypnotic. Although a helicopter tour is the best way to admire the immensity of the canyon, lookout points, rafting trips down the Colorado River, trekking excursions, horseback rides and even train trips are quality alternatives to visit this otherworldly locale.

Admission: US$15
Vehicles: US$30
www.nps.gov/grca

 


 

Exploring Canada's Banff National Park

phOTO: getty images

Banff National Park, Canada

Heaven for those who love outdoor walks, panoramic photo opportunities, biking, climbing, skiing, fishing and, above all, peace and quiet. Set against snow-capped mountains and tucked among dense forests, sights like the emerald waters of Peyto Lake and vast meadows invite visitors to immerse themselves in this breath-taking natural wonder, populated by grizzly bears, moose, wolves and pristine lakes. July is the park’s warmest month, with an average temperature of 72°F, while in January the thermometer drops to around 5°F.

Admission US$10
www.pc.gc.ca

 


 

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phOTO: getty images

Niagara Falls, Canada

For half a mile along the Canadian and U.S. border, the waters of Niagara Falls thunder down in an impressive natural wonder. The spectacle doesn’t owe so much to the height of the falls (187 feet) but rather the sheer amount of water (nearly 85,000 cubic feet per second). The Canadian side offers the best views, and the aptly named Rainbow Bridge connects the two nations. The falls create rainbows that dazzle visitors in the summer, when the average temperature hovers around 86°F. It’s also the perfect time for a voyage aboard the Maid of the Mist, a boat tour that first launched in 1846. In the winter, the cold turns the mist into a white cape that covers the surrounding trees and buildings, making the area a true winter wonderland.

Free Admission
www.niagarafallstourism.com

 


 

High Diving World Championship

phOTO: getty images

Cañón del Sumidero, México

The waters of the Río Grijalva River stretch for nearly 19 miles between limestone walls more than a half a mile high in a narrow and winding canyon in the Mexican state of Chiapas. An icon of the country’s most verdant region, the canyon can be explored by boat, which allows visitors to appreciate its many residents: birds, fish and crocodiles. The view from the top is also impressive. Another option is to trek through the canyon, stopping at each of its five lookouts. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot spider monkeys, wild boar or badgers.

Admission: US$12
www.turismochiapas.gob.mx

 


 

Woman Canoeing In Portable Canoe On Turquoise Lake At Lake Clark National Park, Southcentral Alaska, Summer

phOTO: corbis

Lake Clark National Park and Reserve, United States

Located in southern Alaska and accessible only by hydroplane or light aircraft, this place is an amazing mix of three mountain chains, two active volcanoes, a wooded coast and numerous turquoise lakes. The home of grizzly bears and whistling swans is known as “the essence of Alaska” because it contains so many of the region’s best characteristics. Lake Clark is one of the best-kept secrets in the United States: with just 5,000 visitors every year, this is one of the least-visited parks in the country but also one of the most spectacular.

Free Admission
www.nps.gov/lacl

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