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In southern Arizona, tucked into the dry desert, you'll find Saguaro National Park. The park is named after the largest cacti species in the world: the saguaro. In the park, these cacti tower over the desert floor in thousands. These cacti can grow up to 70 feet tall and live up to 200 years. However, on average, they grow to around 40 feet. Saguaros grow very slowly and will only grow 1-2" in their first 8 years of life. Their branches tend to appear at 50-70 years old.  The park itself is split into 2 districts. The west side has a denser population of Saguaros...

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In Northern Arizona, you'll find a 120,000+ acre park filled with petrified wood which is how the name was coined: Petrified Forest National Park. These deposits of petrified wood have been dated back as far as 225 million years ago in the late Triassic period. The petrified wood is considered a fossil and is the only one found in the area.  The presence of these fossils have made the park very popular with paleontologists since the early 1900's. The Petrified wood can appear blue, orange, red, purple, yellow, black, brown and white. These colors are created from the minerals: quartz,...

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It has long been believed that the Colorado River began carving the Grand Canyon about 6 million years ago. However, a 2012 study contained shocking evidence that the process may have begun as far back as 70 million years! While still very grand, the Grand Canyon is not the deepest canyon in the world. The Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon in Tibet plummets to a depth of 17,567 feet - making it a whole 2 miles deeper than the Grand Canyon's 6,093 feet! However, that first look at the canyon is one you'll never forget. Indeed, very grand and beautiful! When visiting...

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Happy and sad to say we've made it to the last National Park on our Utah Tour for this blog series: Arches National Park! This park is appropriately named because it has the densest concentration of natural stone arches in the world! It's most popular arch can be seen above and named "Delicate Arch."  There are over 2,000 documented arches in the park boundary! The arches range from thin cracks to spanning greater than 300 feet, like the landscape arch. The intriguing thing about this park and it's geological features are how they formed. First, the are held a specific kind of...

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In southern Utah, you'll find Canyonlands National Park, a neighbor to Arches National Park. Canyonlands preserves over 337,000 acres of colorful canyons, fins, spires, arches, buttes and mesas. The park itself is divided into three main districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles and The Maze.  Island in the Sky get it's name from the towering rocks in the middle of the canyon. The Needs is home to fine pointed spire rocks and The Maze is the carved canyon that is by far the most rugged and remote district.  The Needle District These three districts are divided by two rivers:...

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