The western part of the USA is full of natural outdoorsy things to do and see and while many destinations are well-known, hardly anyone has taken the time to see any of them.  If you haven’t seen the incredible sights of the west, now is the time to pack your bags, make your flight and hotel arrangements, and take off for the trip of a lifetime.

Extraordinary Things to See When Exploring Nature and the Great Outdoors of the Western USA

The Rocky Mountains

Spring view of winding Fall River Road towering in background, Rocky Mountain National Park,.
Spring view of winding Fall River Road towering in the background, Rocky Mountain National Park.

In the heart of Colorado lies the stunning Rocky Mountains, although you can also find these majestic peaks all the way from Canada down to New Mexico.  History is everywhere in these mountains, as are bison, elk, and grizzly bears.  There are so many ways to explore these peaks, so use your imagination in between stops in major cities and local breweries.

Grand Canyon

Sunrise, Grand Canyon
Sunrise, Grand Canyon

You can choose to explore the Grand Canyon at either the South Rim or the Northern Rim, and while you may want to see both, the time of the year that you visit may derail your plans.  The North Rim is only open during the summer months, while the South Rim is open all year round.  Over at the South Rim, you can wander around the Visitor Center, walk through the Museum and the Historic Home, and walk along either the Rim Trail or Hermit Road.

Lake Tahoe

The beautiful crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe
The beautiful crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is gorgeous at any time of the year and while you will swim during the summer, the ski slopes will be calling your name when the snow is swirling down from the sky.  The shoreline is more than seventy miles around and you can experience the ambiance around every turn.  A quick trip to Reno for a little gambling is possible, as long as you can tear yourself away from the beauty of the water.

Mount Rainier

Wildflowers at Mount Rainier
Wildflowers at Mount Rainier

The iconic mountain within the state of Washington is Mount Rainier and while it is an active volcano, it is covered in ice from glaciers.  That ice slowly melts and adds water to five nearby rivers.  As you are climbing up this mountain, or simply admiring it from the ground, you will notice that there are meadows filled with colorful wildflowers.  It is only possible to drive along the roads of this mountain from the end of May until the early parts of October, due to the inclement weather for the rest of the year.  The rest of the time, you can go hiking, but you can also fish, camp, and go sledding when there is snow on the ground.

These are only four of the extraordinary things to see when you are exploring the western USA, but they will get you started on a journey that will take you to some of the most incredible parts of that side of the country.