18 beautiful natural rock formations around the world

We can thank Mother Nature for creating such beautiful and spectacular rock formations. Here is a little tour of the globe to better take a look!

Ha Long Bay in Vietnam is one of the most beautiful natural rock formations in the world.

Ha Long Bay — Vietnam

Located in the north of Vietnam, Ha Long Bay which is more than 1500 square kilometers is made up of about 3,000 islands! These natural wonders offer an extraordinary spectacle with a wide variety of animals, living in the forests and tropical waters of the region. No wonder this place has inspired legends about dragons and pirates!

The Enchanted Rock in Texas is one of the most beautiful natural rock formations in the world.

State Natural Area: Enchanted Rock State Natural Area — Texas

Located 18 miles north of Fredericksburg in wine country, ‘Enchanted Rock’ is a United States National Natural Landmark. There have been more than 400 archaeological sites in this area and traces of human life found there date back more than 12,000 years!

The pink granite dome is a must! To soak up all the beauty of this landscape, many visitors take the opportunity to go climbing or hiking along the trails.

Take the opportunity to take one of these 6 spectacular hikes in the United States.

Antelope Canyon in Arizona is one of the most beautiful natural rock formations in the world.

Antelope Canyon — Arizona

Wind and water erosion over time shaped the characteristic sandstone of Antelope Canyon, now a cleft in Navajo land.

It is divided into two parts: Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. The Navajo have different names for the two parts: the upper part is called Tsé’bighanilí (“The place where the water flows”) while the lower part is called Hazdistazí (“Spiral rock arches”).

The 'Old Man' of Storr in Scotland is one of the most beautiful natural rock formations in the world.

Storr’s “Old Man” — Scotland

Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with famous cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow. On the Isle of Skye is the ‘Old Man’ of Storr, a unique rock structure that makes it one of the most famous landscapes in the world.

According to Atlas Obscura , “The Storr – which refers to the outcrops that make up and surround the rock – is a title derived from the Norse word ‘Great Man’.”

Chocolate Hills in the Philippines is one of the most beautiful natural rock formations in the world.

Chocolate Hills (“chocolate hills”) — Philippines

Located on the island of Bohol in the Philippines, these “chocolate hills” are mostly symmetrical conical mounds of limestone covered in grass during the rainy season and then brown during the dry season…hence their delightful name! In total, there are more than 1,200 individual hills, but experts aren’t sure exactly how they were formed. One thing is certain: this is a sight to behold!

The Valley of the Moon in Argentina is one of the most beautiful natural rock formations in the world.

Valley of the Moon — Argentina

As its name suggests, this terrain looks suspiciously like the surface of the moon! According to the BBC , this million-year-old area contains “undisturbed features dating back 250 to 200 million years. Fossils of some of the oldest dinosaurs, fish, amphibians, reptiles and more than 100 species of plants have been found there as well as huge petrified tree trunks.

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The Marble Caves in Chile are among the most beautiful natural rock formations in the world.

The Marble Caves — Chile

The Cuevas de Mármol , or Marble Caves are only accessible by boat, but the adventure is worth it! According to Atlas Obscura , the cave was “formed by over 6000 years of waves crashing against calcium carbonate, the smooth, swirling blues of the cavern walls reflect the azure waters of the lake, which change in intensity and shade, depending on water level and time of year.

Nevada's Valley of Fire State Park is one of the most beautiful natural rock formations in the world.

Valley of Fire State Park — Nevada

With more than 100 square miles of red Aztec sandstone, Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada is a stunning area with – according to the Nevada State Parks website – “ ancient petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back over 2,000 years.”

Shilin Stone Forest in China is one of the most beautiful natural rock formations in the world.

Shilin Stone Forest — China

This forest is made up of nearly 300 km of rock formations, which have existed for 270 million years. These limestone formations were shaped by water and wind. The stone forest includes caves, ponds, an underground river and even smaller stone forests.

According to Atlas Obscura , “Two of the smaller individual Stone Forests – Naigu Stone Forest and Suogeyi Village – are part of the South China Karst, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You won’t be surprised to learn that one of the best places and tourist attractions in Canada is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tokangawhā (Split Apple Rock) is one of the most beautiful natural rock formations across the world.

Tokangawhā / Split Apple Rock (“split apple rock”) — New Zealand

Made of granite, Split Apple Rock is located near the Abel Tasman National Park. It is New Zealand‘s smallest national park, about 50m from the shore and is around 120 million years old. Tokangawhā is the Maori word for this rock, which means “split rock”. Tokangawhā became the official name alongside Split Apple Rock (“split apple rock”) in 2014.

Rock formation: the balanced rock has held in balance for several million years.

Balanced Rock — Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado

You are probably wondering: “but, how is this possible?”. Well, this formation of 700 tons all in red sandstone has been held in balance for 2 or 3 million years. But its origins go back even further.

It began to form over 290 million years ago as sandstone from a large rocky section called the Fountain Formation was deposited in the Ancestral Rockies (other Rockies that existed at the time) . Geologist and professor emeritus at the Colorado School of Mines, Thomas Grose, explains that this formation “has been carved over millennia by glaciers, rivers, wind and rain.”

Since then, erosion has continued, leaving visitors and geologists perplexed as to when the whole thing will collapse .

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Rock formation: Reed Flute-Guilin Cave is incredibly beautiful.

Cave Reed Flute — Guilin, Guangxi, Chine

The Reed Flute winery, so named because of the reeds (reeds) that grow at its entrance, has quite a history, according to the Atlas Obscura website . Writings on the wall dating in particular from 792 can be found there, and the place served as a refuge during the Second World War.

One of the best qualities of the place is the breathtaking beauty of the rock formations that stretch from floor to ceiling. Created by the incessant work of water which has sculpted shapes in the smooth limestone rock over the centuries, the stalactites, stalagmites and giant columns are today illuminated by neon lights, to the delight of visitors.

Rock formation: don't miss Hoodoos in Turkey.

Hoodoos — Göreme National Park, Turkey

Göreme National Park in Cappadocia, Turkey is home to hundreds of peaks, called hoodoos (fairy chimneys) that took shape millions of years ago, following a volcanic eruption that rained down a significant amount of ash over the area. This ash, once hardened, became tuff, a porous rock, which was then covered with basalt.

Over time, the softer tuff has eroded while the more resistant one is still there, which explains the mushroom-shaped “caps” found on each pillar.

If these places intrigue you, you will also like the most mysterious monuments in the world.

Rock Formation: Svartifoss is a 39 foot waterfall in Iceland.

Svartifoss — Parc national Vatnajökull, Iceland

There’s more to see than the glorious 39-foot drop when visiting Svartifoss, Iceland. It’s the rock face in the background that makes the view so magical. As the centuries passed and the lava flows cooled, hexagonal black crystals began to form behind the fall.

The only downside? It is impossible to go swimming there, because of the sharp rocks there.

Rock formation made of sand: The Wave.

The Wave — Kanab, Utah

The winds of the Jurassic period have to be thanked for the aesthetic beauty of the northern portion of Coyote Buttes. This sandstone rock formation is made of dune sand blown in multiple directions.

Over the centuries, the sand has cemented itself, leaving linear traces. According to utah.com , “The drainage water that carved out the two main falls dried up a long time ago, leaving wind as the primary tool of erosion.”

Don’t make one of those common geography mistakes again!

Rock Formation: Hoodoos in Utah holds the most "hoodoos" in the world.

Hoodoos — Parc national Bryce Canyon, Utah

If the hoodoos of Turkey remain very impressive, those of Bryce Canyon National Park, in Utah, deserve the prize of the greatest number of “fairy chimneys” on the planet, according to the National Park Service.

These rock formations, which range from 5 to 150 feet high, have existed there for 30 to 40 million years. At that time, they began to form in an ancient lake in western Utah and it was deposits of minerals that colored them. Unfortunately, the fairies will eventually have to find other chimneys to live in, as these hoodoos lose two to four feet per century due to erosion from acid rain and freeze-thaw, among other things.

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Rock formation not to be missed: The Organ Pipes.

The Organ Pipes — Parc national Organ Pipes, Australie

It’s no surprise that the formations found in the aptly named Organ Pipes National Park look just like organ pipes. In fact, the place is referred to as an “outer cathedral”. Over a million years ago, lava from Mount Holden flowed down to the plain that would become the permanent home of the Organ Pipes.

The cooling of the lava and the cracks thus created left behind the magnificent 229-foot basalt columns that can be admired today.

Rock formation not to be missed: The Great Tsingy.

The Great Tsingy — Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar

It is not without reason that the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is a UNESCO nature reserve. Over 200 million years ago, a seabed of limestone rock rose to the surface, creating the plateau that is now the national park. Over millennia, heavy rains have created this natural masterpiece.

This “Vertical Limestone Cathedral,” some of whose peaks are 328 feet tall, is one of nature’s most intriguing wonders. The word “tsingy” means “walking on tiptoe”, which is explained by the presence of limestone needles strewn on the ground.

Rock formation not to be missed: Wave Rock.

Wave Rock — Hyden, Western Australia

Sculpted by climate and water erosion, the rock formation of Wave Rock is 360 feet long and 49 feet high. During the rainy months, the water springs that trickle down the rock dissolve the minerals, which adds to the unique color of the formation. It also has some of Australia’s oldest crystals. In the 1960s, some were dated to around 2700 years ago.

Must-see rock formation: Giant's Causeway.S-

Giant’s Causeway — Bushmills, Northern Ireland

Legend has it that this Irish causeway was used by giants traveling to Scotland by sea, and it’s easy to see why one imagines such a thing. This giant’s causeway is made up of 40,000 basalt columns rising out of the ocean. This World Heritage site looks like a sidewalk due to lava cooling 50 to 60 million years ago.

Photos : Getty images

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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