Antelope Canyon. Photo: Brian Tiplady

The western USA has a wealth of natural wonders, many but not all in National Parks. Antelope Canyon is in Navajo land in Arizona, and is a slot canyon with muli-coloured sandstone strata eroded into fantastic shapees by floodwaters.

Shafer Canyon Road is the most spectactular and hair-rasing drive I know. It starts on the rim of the Islands in the Sky plateau in Canyonlands National Park, Utah,, at about 6000 feet. It’s a well-graded dirt road, but not very wide, and there are no guard rails, just a drop of hundreds of feet. It descends about 1500 feet by a series of hairpins, then calms down a bit as it levels off on the White Rim limestone. Then you dive down into Shafer Canyon itself, with spectacular rock formations, dropping another 500-600 feet to the Colorado River. This bit is quite rough going, and we really needed four-wheel drive here. Then you leave the Park and are on the Potash trail, with more signs of civilisation but still fine scenery, emerging near Moab. Photo: CC-BY-SA by User DXR on Wikimedia Commons