One hidden gem among U.S. national monuments is a treasure like no other. At the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, visitors take a deeper look into spectacular chapters of our nation’s history through the natural resources that make it what it is today.
Northern Arizona’s Vermillion Cliffs National Monument sits on the Colorado Plateau, just below the Utah border. While the name “monument” might conjure up the image of something a bit smaller, you’ll find 280,000 acres of beautiful terrain here, including cliffs, buttes, and canyons. The area was only declared as a monument in 2000, though the land itself was already government-managed.
The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, in southernmost Arizona along the border with Mexico, preserves the only setting in the USA where the organ pipe cactus grows in the wild. Named for its resemblance to organ pipes, the “Stenocereus thurberi” can grow to a height of more than twenty feet. Impressive in and of itself, it is also a stunning feature of the rugged desert landscape.
When was the last time you went to New Mexico? Well, let us rephrase that. When was the last time you had a reason to go to New Mexico? Unless you’re from there, have to travel there for work, or have friends and family there to visit, New Mexico isn’t usually on the top of travelers’ lists for destinations to travel to, right? Think again! If you weren’t already aware, New Mexico is home to the White Sands National Monument located in the northern Chihuahuan Desert.
The Midwest has a huge collection of oddities, nationally recognized landmarks, and other unique offerings you just can’t find anywhere else. Sometimes it feels like you can’t turn around without seeing something of significance in Middle America.
While everyone knows about the St. Louis Gateway Arch or Mount Rushmore, there are so many other unique historic landmarks that you can visit. Here are five historic landmarks you may not have known about that you can visit on your next Midwestern road trip.