'The Wave' sandstone formation with pools of water in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
© Dennis Frates/Alam
A sea of swirling stone
By showing you this coveted sight, we're saving you a bit of an ordeal. For a close-up view like this of 'The Wave,' a whorled sandstone formation in the northern Arizona wilderness, you'd have to navigate a rugged and mostly trail-free route with a permit in your pocket (only a small number are available, offered via a daily lottery). But that's just one day hike of many in the expansive Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, which encompasses almost 300,000 acres of Arizona and Utah canyonland.