A sea of swirling stone  

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.

© Dennis Frates/Alamy

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