Special Report

Natural Wonders So Awesome It’s Hard to Believe They Exist

Source: lucentius / Getty Images

11. The Matterhorn
> Location: Switzerland

This iconic peak that lies on the border of Switzerland and Italy is 14,692 feet high and perhaps the most famous mountain in the Alps. Hundreds of mountaineers have met their deaths attempting to scale the steep summit.

Source: Ajith Kumar / Getty Images

12. Grand Prismatic Spring
> Location: Wyoming

The largest hot spring in Yellowstone, the Grand Prismatic Spring is a rainbow of concentric colors, thanks to bacteria that inhabit the different temperature zones of the spring’s water, which is too hot to sustain life in the center, but gradually cools as it nears the edges of the pool.

Source: lena_serditova / Getty Images

13. Ha Long Bay
> Location: Vietnam

Ha Long Bay is a turquoise gem studded with over 1,600 small limestone islets, many of them topped with rainforest growth, some of them hollow with caves to explore, and some even containing lakes of their own.

Source: lightpix / Getty Images

14. El Capitan
> Location: California

El Capitan is an iconic peak in Yosemite National Park, and one of the largest exposed pieces of granite in the world. It is a popular rock-climbing destination, and the site of a world-famous free-climb where in 2017 climber Alex Honnold scaled the 3,000 foot rock face without using ropes or other safety equipment.

Source: cokada / Getty Images

15. Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
> Location: Brazil

This National Park on the Atlantic Coast of Brazil is comprised of wind-sculpted white sand dunes that form deep, clear, blue lagoons in the rainy season. The ephemeral lagoons dry up after a few months, but while they exist, they are home to many insects, and wolffish that spend the dry season burrowed deep under the sand.

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