56 of the Most Colorful Natural Wonders in the World

What’s a natural wonder? It’s generally considered to be a natural phenomenon or geographical region that offers an otherworldly beauty. While you may hear talk of the seven natural wonders of the world, the truth is that there are far more stunningly beautiful phenomena for you to discover!

Here’s our list of the world’s most colorful natural wonders:

1. Aurora Borealis

Phenomenal Aurora Borealis colors over a lake.
  • Type: Light phenomenon
  • Location: Primarily in northern latitudes
  • Size: No set size
  • Age: Uncertain, although cave paintings suggest they were observed over 30,000 years ago
  • Colorful feature: Auroras can appear in a range of colors, including red, green, blue, pink, and yellow.

This famous phenomenon, also known as the “northern lights,” happens when solar wind (a rush of charged particles from the atmosphere of the sun) interferes with the magnetosphere (a collection of particles within Earth’s magnetic field). Its otherworldly glow can be seen in a whole range of colors, although green seems to be one of the most common.

2. Mount Everest

Mount Everest range at sunrise.
  • Type: Mountain
  • Location: On the border between China and Nepal
  • Size: 29,031 ft elevation
  • Age: About 500 million years old
  • Colorful feature: Mount Everest stands out among the rest of the Himalayan mountains. Thanks to its snow-covered surface, this mountain’s most colorful feature is its brilliant white coloring. It contrasts beautifully with the darkness of the rock once the snow begins to melt.

As the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest may well be the world’s most famous mountain. It was first successfully climbed by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. Since then, it has become a prime climbing destination for experienced mountaineers. Everest poses significant hazards, and hundreds of climbers have died during the ascent. In many cases, their bodies have remained on the mountain.

3. Sahara Desert

Beautiful sand dunes in the Sahara desert.
  • Type: Desert
  • Location: Northern Africa
  • Size: 3,600,000 square miles
  • Age: Uncertain, but it is estimated to be about 7 million years old
  • Colorful feature: The Sahara Desert largely consists of reddish sand dunes that have been beautifully sculpted by wind. Some regions of the desert include hardy green shrubs, and the South Sahara Desert includes sparse woodlands.

You might not think of deserts as being colorful. But the vast Sahara Desert includes several different ecoregions including sand dunes, volcanic highlands, shrublands, and woodlands. There are also a few oasis lakes. The Sahara is also dotted with countless colorful animals including lizards, birds, goats, camels, foxes, cheetahs, gazelles, and snakes.

4. Great Blue Hole

Blue Hole Belize and Light House Reef.
  • Type: Sinkhole
  • Location: Belize
  • Size: 1,043 ft across and 407 ft deep
  • Age: Formation began 153,000 years ago
  • Colorful feature: This beautiful sinkhole looks like a deep blue circle surrounded by paler blue water when viewed from above. It’s also surrounded by a ring of green, dry land.

The Great Blue Hole is well-known in its own right, but it’s also part of a more extensive wonder: the relatively small Lighthouse Reef. Scientists believe it began to form as a cave and was then flooded as the sea level rose higher. Today, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site called the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System.

5. Ha Long Bay

Aerial view of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.
  • Type: Bay
  • Location: Quảng Ninh Province, Vietnam
  • Size: About 600 square miles
  • Age: Formation began about 500 million years ago
  • Colorful feature: This bay has beautiful blue-green water dotted with hundreds of green islets. The still water will often reflect both the islets and the sky.

This dreamy bay is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name “Ha Long” means “descending dragon,” and it has its roots in Vietnamese mythology. According to legend, the gods sent a family of dragons to help the Vietnamese people defend against invaders. The dragons spit out jewels that turned into the islets. The islets then formed a massive rock wall to stop the invaders.

6. Giant’s Causeway

Red and deep grey basalt columns of Giant's Causeway.
  • Type: Volcanic rock formation
  • Location: County Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • Size: Up to 39 feet high
  • Age: Formation began 50 to 60 million years ago
  • Colorful feature: The basalt columns of Giant’s Causeway are red to deep grey. They are surrounded by green grass or moss and reach out to the blue sea.

Giant’s Causeway looks a bit like a large sculpture. It’s made of interlocking basalt columns that appeared after an ancient volcanic eruption. Many of the basalt columns are hexagonal. Today, it is one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, and you can visit it without paying a fee.

7. Great Barrier Reef

Tropical fish swimming in the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Type: Coral reef system
  • Location: The Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, Australia
  • Size: About 133,000 square miles
  • Age: Scientists estimate that it is 500,000 years old
  • Colorful feature: The Great Barrier Reef is home to many colorful corals and colorful fish. You can see nearly every bright color imaginable, including sunny yellow, fiery orange, and deep blue.

The Great Barrier Reef is more correctly described as an aggregate of nearly 3,000 separate reefs. It is so large that it can be seen from outer space! This reef has fascinated people since ancient times. Today, tourism to the reef generates $3 billion Australian dollars per year. But even for those who can’t go in person, it’s possible to get a realistic virtual tour: Google now offers an underwater 3D view.

8. Mount Kilimanjaro

Panoramic night scenery of Mount Kilimanjaro.
  • Type: Volcano
  • Location: Tanzania
  • Size: 19,341 ft elevation
  • Age: Scientists estimate that it is about 3 million years old
  • Colorful feature: This standalone dormant volcano is primarily dark in color with snowy peaks. Since it isn’t part of a mountain range, it is surrounded by cloud forests and green foothills.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the world’s tallest free-standing mountain. Though it is considered to be a single mountain, Kilimanjaro actually has three separate cones. Two are unable to erupt again, but the remaining dormant cone may erupt in the future. Thanks to its size, Kilimanjaro is home to many different climate zones, including alpine desert, rainforest, moorland, arctic, and bushland. 

9. Cano Cristales

The rainbow river in Colombia.
  • Type: River
  • Location: Meta, Colombia
  • Size: Over 62 miles long
  • Age: Uncertain, although the surrounding rocks formed about 1.2 billion years ago
  • Colorful feature: This river is commonly called the “river of five colors” or “liquid rainbow.” The bright red color often observed in the river comes from various aquatic plants. But the riverbed itself also includes black, blue, green, and yellow.

This exquisite river is one of those natural wonders that almost doesn’t look real. If you want to see this “rainbow river” in its full glory, make sure you visit between June and July. This is when the river “blooms.” It takes some planning to visit; local law requires a tour guide to lead you to it, and only 200 tourists are allowed to visit Cano Cristales per day.

10. Table Mountain

Panoramic view of Cape Town, Table Mountain and Lions Head in South Africa.
  • Type: Mountain
  • Location: Cape Town, South Africa
  • Size: 3,563 ft elevation
  • Age: Over 600,000,000 years old
  • Colorful feature: Table Mountain has some of the most diverse flora and fauna in the world. You can find over 1,400 species of flowers, and the mountain is surrounded by blue streams and green valleys.

Table Mountain is South Africa’s most famous landmark. And at about 600,000,000 years old, it is one of the world’s oldest mountains. It makes for a scenic photo backdrop, but it’s worth exploring in its own right, too. Table Mountain is home to thousands of plant species, but it is also home to many types of animals, including penguins!

11. Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon in the Navajo Reservation near Page, Arizona.
  • Type: Canyon
  • Location: Arizona
  • Size: Upper canyon is about 660 feet long; lower canyon is about 1335 feet long
  • Age: Uncertain
  • Colorful feature: The smooth sandstone edges of this canyon are striated with various colors of reddish sandstone. They contrast beautifully with the bright blue sky.

This stunning, sculpture-like canyon was formed by flooding and gradual erosion of Navajo sandstone. Its smooth, flowing edges make it stand out from other canyons, and when the sun shines through it, it looks especially surreal. You can view it as a tourist, but it takes some planning; it’s accessible by guided tour only. Though it looks beautiful in photographs, the very wide exposure range in the canyon (caused by reflecting light) makes it a challenge to photograph.

12. Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss is a massive, beautiful waterfall in Iceland.
  • Type: Waterfall
  • Location: South Region, Iceland
  • Size: About 197 feet tall
  • Age: Uncertain
  • Colorful feature: The thundering cascade of this waterfall is white, but it is surrounded by lush greenery. It looks especially beautiful alongside the colors of sunrise and sunset.

This massive, beautiful waterfall is an attraction partially because visitors can walk behind it. Because it’s such a popular attraction, some people in Iceland proposed building a visitor’s center nearby. The center has been the subject of major controversy, as some think that it would mar the natural beauty of the landscape.

13. Zhangye National Geopark

Amazing scenery of Rainbow mountain and blue sky background.
  • Type: Hills
  • Location: Linze County and Sunan County, China
  • Size: 124 square miles
  • Age: Formation began over 24 million years ago
  • Colorful feature: These beautiful hills are a striated rainbow of sandstone and mineral deposits; they appear to be striped with broad bands of red, white, green, and yellow.

This stunning collection of colorful hills has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though it is a draw for many international visitors to China, it is also a popular site for tourists within China. Over time, erosion has shaped some of these hills into pillars, ravines, and towers.

14. Lake Hillier

Beach at Pink Lake next to Gregory in West Australia.
  • Type: Saline lake
  • Location: Western Australia
  • Size: About 2,000 feet long and 820 feet wide
  • Age: Uncertain; first discovered in 1802
  • Colorful feature: This strange salt lake is naturally an intense, vibrant pink color. Nobody knows exactly why the lake is so pink, but scientists believe the color comes from a particular kind of microalgae.

Much like the Dead Sea, Lake Hillier has an extremely high salt content. Though it is technically safe to swim in, swimming is only allowed with prior approval from a government agency. The lake is in a very remote area, so most tourists only see it from an aerial plane.

15. Candy Cane Mountains

Red-pink and white striped area of exposed rock Candyland forest.
  • Type: Shale mountains
  • Location: Khizi and Siyazan Districts, Azerbaijan
  • Size: Around 1,253 feet in elevation
  • Age: Formation began as far back as 145 million years ago
  • Colorful feature: As the name suggests, these relatively small mountains appear to be striped with red and white mineral deposits.

The Candy Cane Mountains are technically part of the Greater Caucasus range of mountains. Their name came from Mark Elliott, a writer of a travel guide to Azerbaijan. Though they aren’t necessarily a major travel destination, the Candy Cane Mountains are a fascinating site for anyone who happens to be visiting Azerbaijan or surrounding areas.

16. Victoria Falls

Birdseye view of Victoria Falls.
  • Type: Waterfall
  • Location: Southern Africa
  • Size: 5,604 feet wide and 354 feet high
  • Age: Formation began about 200 million years ago
  • Colorful feature: When viewed from above, the top of this waterfall is a flat, shiny deep blue. The falls themselves appear white. Green foliage surrounds the waterfall, and the wide river at the top of the falls is dotted with small green islands.

Victoria Falls is a massive waterfall. It is not classified as the tallest or widest in the world. But with its combination of height and width, it is considered to be the largest waterfall on Earth. For the sake of comparison, this waterfall is more than twice the height of Niagara Falls.

17. Richat Structure

The Richat Structure from Landsat satellite.
  • Type: Geographical dome
  • Location: Mauritania, Northwestern Africa
  • Size: 25 miles in diameter
  • Age: Formation began about 104 million years ago
  • Colorful feature: The eroded circle of the Richat Structure appears to be swirled with darker and lighter lines of earth.

This unusual geographical feature is a geographical dome that has eroded over time, leading to a vast, crater-like patch of ground. It is so large and noticeable that it is even visible from space! The Apollo 9 image of it from space is especially stunning; the Richat Structure appears to be a swirled indentation surrounded by flat terrain.

18. Niagara Falls

Aerial view of Niagara Falls and tour boat in water.
  • Type: Waterfall
  • Location: Between Ontario, Canada and New York, United States
  • Size: Up to about 187 feet high
  • Age: Formation began about 10,000 years ago
  • Colorful feature: This giant waterfall has an almost mystical appearance. The blue-white water cuts through dark-colored cliffs, while the tops of those cliffs are covered with bright green grass. When it reflects the blue sky, this waterfall is especially brilliant.

If you live anywhere in North America, you’ve almost certainly heard of Niagara Falls. This huge waterfall is especially powerful. At the Horseshoe Falls point, the flow rate of the water can reach 230,000 cubic feet per second! The vast clouds of mist at the bottom of the waterfall make it especially beautiful.

19. Kilauea Volcano

Kilauea volcano crater as it erupts at sunset.
  • Type: Volcano
  • Location: Big Island of Hawaii
  • Size: Up to about 400 feet high
  • Age: Formation began about 280,000 years ago
  • Colorful feature: When this active volcano erupts, its lava is a fiery reddish-orange. When it isn’t erupting, it is surrounded by flowers and other tropical plants.

Volcanos are certainly colorful when they erupt. But even not erupting, they can be very eye-catching. Kilauea Volcano is the most active of Hawaiian volcanos, so if you choose to visit it, make sure you’re being careful. Kilauea has been active for some time, and written eruption records date back to the 1800s!

20. Pamukkale

Natural travertine pools and terraces in Pamukkale.
  • Type: Rock formation
  • Location: Denizli Province, Turkey
  • Size: About 4.16 square miles
  • Age: Formation started about 14,000 years ago
  • Colorful feature: Pamukkale is a distinctive white terrace graced with beautiful blue water. The white rock is formed by travertine, a mineral that is deposited by flowing thermal springs.

“Pamukkale” means “cotton castle” in Turkish, and it’s easy to see why that’s the name of this beautiful natural terrace. Its thermal pools have attracted visitors for thousands of years. The ancient Greek city of Hierapolis was built right next to these thermal springs. It was home to a healing center where doctors used the thermal springs to help heal patients.

21. Arenal Volcano

A tall, cone-shaped volcano.
  • Type: Volcano
  • Location: Northwestern Costa Rica
  • Size: About 5,400 feet high
  • Age: About 7,500 years old
  • Colorful feature: This volcano is near a reservoir, and much of the surrounding area is covered with green plants and colorful flowers. The Arenal Volcano has several sites of eruption, so when it does erupt, it’s covered with bright red-orange lava.

This tall, cone-shaped volcano is fairly young as volcanos go. Its last eruption lasted from 1968 to 2010. That was the 10th longest-lasting volcanic eruption since 1750! Despite being the youngest volcano in Costa Rica, it is also the most active in the country. At one point, an eruption was able to send rocks weighing several tons flying for up to half a mile.

22. Seven Colored Earths

Sand dunes made up of about seven different colors of sand: yellow, blue, purple, green, violet, red, and brown.
  • Type: Sand dune formation
  • Location: Rivière Noire District, Mauritius
  • Size: 80,729 square feet
  • Age: Uncertain; discovered in 1960s
  • Colorful feature: This stunning collection of sand dunes is made up of about seven different colors of sand: yellow, blue, purple, green, violet, red, and brown. Over time, these colors have started to appear striated.

This unusual sand dune formation doesn’t really have an official name; “seven colored earths” is more of an informal designation. Its different kinds of sand have separated over time, leading its colors to appear swirled or striated. The rain has created distinctive patterns in the dunes, creating an otherworldly aesthetic for tourists to enjoy.

23. The Dolomites

Mountain vista from inside cave.
  • Type: Mountain range
  • Location: Northeastern Italy
  • Size: 10,968 ft elevation
  • Age: About 250 million years old
  • Colorful feature: The Dolomites may not be too colorful in the traditional sense, but their color is unusual for mountains. They are known as the “pale mountains,” largely because they are made from limestone and sedimentary rock. They form a pleasing color palette with the deep green forests at their feet and the snowy caps at their peaks.

The Dolomite Mountains are named after dolomite, a carbonate rock that is part of their composition. This mountain range is used for a wide range of sports through all seasons. In the winter, the Dolomites are very popular with skiers. And in warmer weather, they are popular with mountain climbers, hikers, and hang gliders.

24. Antarctica

Dramatic ice formations off the coast of Antarctica.
  • Type: Continent
  • Location: Southern pole of the globe
  • Size: 5,500,000 square miles
  • Age: Uncertain
  • Colorful feature: Antarctica is home to plenty of dramatic ice formations like the ones in the photo. Though the snow and ice look white, they often take on a bluish tint thanks to the blue sky and blue sea.

This bitterly cold and mysterious continent is home to some of the most stunning, undisturbed ice formations in the world. Most of the Antarctic coast is made of ice shelves, or fronts of ice that float on the sea. And even though it may seem like this is a continent made entirely of ice, Antarctica also includes many lakes and rivers.

25. Kings Canyon

View into the Kings Canyon, Watarrka National Park.
  • Type: Canyon
  • Location: Northern Territory of Australia
  • Size: Over 328 feet high
  • Age: Over 400 million years old
  • Colorful feature: The steep, plunging walls of this canyon are marked with lines of deep red and pale tan. Some markings are almost black. The canyon rock contrasts with the dark green desert foliage.

This canyon has a somewhat confusing name, as there is another Kings Canyon in the United States. This one, the Australian Kings Canyon, can be found in Australia’s Watarrka National Park. There is a walking track for visitors to follow, and it helps protect part of the canyon’s gorge, a sacred site for aboriginal people.

26. Lake Peyto

Scenic turquoise Peyto lake in mountains of Canada.
  • Type: Lake
  • Location: Alberta, Canada
  • Size: 2 square miles
  • Age: Uncertain
  • Colorful feature: Peyto Lake is a bright turquoise blue, making it look a bit like tropical water. But there’s a unique reason the lake is this bright. Glacial rock flour (very small rock particles) flows into the lake from a nearby glacier. They become suspended in the lake, creating its stunning color.

Lake Peyto is located in Canada’s magnificent Banff National Park. Though the lake itself is beautiful, it’s also surrounded by beautiful views. It is situated in a valley between three different mountains: Mount Jimmy Simpson, Peyto Peak, and Caldron Peak.

27. Harbor of Rio de Janeiro

Views of the Rio harbor and Sugar Loaf Mountain from Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • Type: Harbor
  • Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Size: 238.6 square miles
  • Age: Uncertain
  • Colorful feature: This harbor has deep blue water that contrasts beautifully with the many white boats dotting it. It also includes Sugar Loaf Mountain and a collection of granite monoliths.

This uncommonly beautiful harbor is also known as Guanabara Bay. It is considered to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It’s also the world’s largest bay. In fact, explorers who discovered it named the area “Rio de Janeiro” (“January River”) because they believed the bay to be the opening to a river.

28. Paricutin

This pleasingly symmetrical volcano is a dark black color that seems to blend into the forest at its feet.
  • Type: Volcano
  • Location: Michoacán, Mexico
  • Size: 9,200 ft elevation
  • Age: Formed on February 20, 1943
  • Colorful feature: This pleasingly symmetrical volcano is a dark black color that seems to blend into the forest at its feet. A few green trees are dotted up the sides.

Many of the world’s volcanos are thousands of years old. But this one formed both unusually recently and unusually quickly. In 1943, it suddenly rose up from a farmer’s cornfield. In 1997, Paricutin was named as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

29. Five Flower Lake

Scenic view of the Five Flower Lake among fall woods in the Jiuzhaigou nature reserve.
  • Type: Lake
  • Location: Wuhua Jiuzhaigou National Park, China
  • Size: 968,752 square feet
  • Age: Uncertain
  • Colorful feature: This lake is unusually clear and also unusually colorful. Its water seems to turn blue, then yellow, then green. The colors come from the combination of suspended travertine particles and a collection of different types of algae.

Five Flower Lake, also known as Wuhua Hai Lake, has been said to have colors similar to that of a peacock. It’s a must-see for visitors to Jiuzhaigou, and local people sometimes consider it to be a holy lake. In some areas, sprinkling water from Five Flower Lake is believed to encourage the growth of healthy, beautiful plants.

30. Arches National Park

Beautiful sunset Image taken at Arches National Park in Utah.
  • Type: Rock formation
  • Location: Utah, United States
  • Size: About 120 square miles
  • Age: Uncertain; humans have occupied the area for over 10,000 years
  • Colorful feature: This park has the highest concentration of natural sandstone arches in the world. These arches are a deep red color, and some are striated with paler layers of sandstone too.

The stunning sandstone arches dotting this landscape look extremely rugged. However, they are surprisingly delicate. The park has banned climbing on the natural arches. But for those who want to climb while enjoying park scenery, it is possible to climb on some of the park’s other rock features.

31. Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic pool at Yellowstone National Park.
  • Type: Hot spring
  • Location: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, United States
  • Size: 300 feet in diameter
  • Age: Uncertain, first recorded in 1839
  • Colorful feature: The microbial mats in this spring give it its brilliant coloration. It includes almost every color of the rainbow, including red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.

This stunning hot spring has such high heat that much of its water is sterile. It reaches a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit toward its center. The center is up to 160 feet deep. Thanks to both the depth and water’s naturally blue color, the center of this spring is a very deep sapphire blue.

32. Fly Geyser

This colorful geyser has rocks that are colored in intense shades of green and red.
  • Type: Geyser
  • Location: Washoe County, Nevada, United States
  • Size: About 30 feet tall
  • Age: First formed in 1916
  • Colorful feature: This colorful geyser has rocks that are colored in intense shades of green and red. That color comes from heat-loving thermophilic algae.

This geyser first appeared in 1916 when people drilling for water accidentally cut through a geothermal source. Ever since it has continuously released water that can reach 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The geyser and the ranch it sits on (Fly Ranch) were purchased by the Burning Man Project in 2016.

33. Waitomo Glowworm Cave

Glowworms on the ceiling of a cave give off an intense, bluish bioluminescence.
  • Type: Cave
  • Location: North Island of New Zealand
  • Size: Up to 150 feet deep
  • Age: Around 30 million years old
  • Colorful feature: This cave looks a lot like any other cave, but with one exception: the glowworms on the ceiling give off an intense, bluish bioluminescence.

This cave is one of the stranger sites on the list. Its ceilings look as though they’re decorated with small stars, but it’s actually the larvae of Arachnocampa luminosa, a gnat that commonly lives in caves. The Waitomo cave system includes an underground river where tourists can take a boat ride that is lit entirely by glowworms.

34. The Wave

The Wave Sandstone Rock Formation  is marked with undulating, multicolored bands of rock.
  • Type: Rock formation
  • Location: Arizona, United States
  • Size: About 180 feet long
  • Age: About 60 million years
  • Colorful feature: This rock is marked with undulating, multicolored bands of rock that became exposed after millions of years of erosion.

The Wave may well be the most beautiful canyon in the United States. It is an essential subject for any serious landscape photographer, although it can be difficult to access. Because it’s part of a very fragile ecosystem, only 10 daily hiking passes are granted via a lottery system. Though many photographers prefer to snap photos of The Wave when there are no shadows in the middle, this formation also looks especially lovely when photographed in the twilight.

35. White Desert

Large formations of white chalk rock.
  • Type: Rock formation
  • Location: Farafra depression, Egypt
  • Size: 1,160 square miles
  • Age: Uncertain
  • Colorful feature: This landscape is known for large formations of white chalk rock. In that sense, its colorful feature is its surprising lack of color. Its white surface looks especially stunning against the colors of sunrise and sunset.

The bizarre yet beautiful White Desert almost looks like something from another planet. Much like The Wave and the natural arches in Arches National Park, these formations have been sculpted by years of erosion. Though the area seems to have always existed, it was only designated as a national protected area in 2002.

36. Zhangjiajie National Park

Zhangjiajie cliff mountain at Wulingyuan Hunan China
  • Type: Rock formation
  • Location: Hunan Province, China
  • Size: 11,900 acres
  • Age: Uncertain
  • Colorful feature: The grey-brown, pillar-like formations in Zhangjiajie National Park are striking more for their shape than for their color. However, because the area of the park is moist all year, the green foliage on top of and surrounding these pillars is especially dark and dense. Add that to the soft mist that seems to permeate the park, and you have an especially stunning color palette.

The distinctive pillars in this park can be seen in countless ancient Chinese paintings. They even inspired some of the floating rocks in the movie Avatar. As a result, one of the largest pillars, the Southern Sky Column, was renamed Avatar Hallelujah Mountain in 2010. This pillar stands 3,540 feet high.

37. Havasu Falls

Beautiful sky blue waterfall against red rocks.
  • Type: Waterfall
  • Location: Arizona, United States
  • Size: About 100 feet high
  • Age: Uncertain
  • Colorful feature: The water wells at the foot of these falls are an unusually intense sky blue. That color looks especially stunning against the red rocks of the canyon. This intense color comes from the water’s high concentration calcium carbonate.

This splendid waterfall is located within the Grand Canyon, but its colorful landscape merits special recognition. At one point in its history, the waterfall was wide and flowed in a sheet-like formation. At this point, it was known as “Bridal Veil Falls.” Havasu Falls is named for Havasu Creek. The word “Havasu” translates to “blue-green water,” a fitting name for this water feature!

38. Twelve Apostles

Beautiful rock formations outcropping from blue ocean.
  • Type: Rock formation
  • Location: Victoria, Australia
  • Size: Around 130 feet high
  • Age: Formation began between 5 and 15 million years ago
  • Colorful feature: The Twelve Apostles are part of an exquisite color palette. The water surrounding them is a deep, dark, intense blue that’s crowned by whitecaps. The cliffs and rock formations range from pale tan to darker red, while their tops are covered in darker green foliage.

Limestone is responsible for some of the world’s most beautiful rock formations. It’s the magic behind the Twelve Apostles, a collection of massive limestone stacks extending off the shore of Australia’s Port Campbell National Park. If you happen to visit Victoria, the Twelve Apostles are a must-see, and the view of the ocean from the surrounding cliffs is incredible!

39. Kelimutu Lakes

Volcanic lakes Ato Polo and Nuamuri koofai.
  • Type: Lake
  • Location: Flores Island, Indonesia
  • Size: Total area 11,312,870 square feet
  • Age: Uncertain
  • Colorful feature: These three volcanic lakes change color based on varying geographical conditions. And because each one has its own connection to the volcano, the lakes can change color independently of one another!

The Kelimutu Lakes are crater lakes surrounding Indonesia’s Kelimutu Volcano. Many volcanos have made our list of colorful wonders in their own right, but these vivid color-changing lakes make Kelimutu especially memorable. The names of the lakes translate to Lake of Young Men and Maidens, Enchanted Lake, and Lake of Old People. All three are surrounded by the steep rock walls of the volcano, making them great subjects for photography.

40. Amazon Rainforest

Tall waterfall in the lush Amazon rain forest.
  • Type: Forest
  • Location: South America
  • Size: 2,700,000 square miles
  • Age: About 55 million years old
  • Colorful feature: The Amazon rainforest is full of birds, reptiles, amphibians, flowers, and insects of every imaginable color. Even the green foliage of the trees surrounding the river basin is especially bright.

Many of the world’s brightest animals can be found in the Amazon, including the scarlet macaw, blue poison dart frog, and green tree frog. Though the Amazon is a highly important habitat, it has been severely impacted by deforestation, fires, and climate change. Fortunately, new efforts to conserve the area have helped to slow the damage.

41. The Grand Canyon

Panorama of the Grand Canyon (South Rim) with sunset colors reflecting in the rocks.
  • Type: Rock formation
  • Location: Arizona, United States
  • Size: 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide
  • Age: Formation began about 5 to 6 million years ago
  • Colorful feature: Thanks to millions of years of the Colorado River flowing through it, the Grand Canyon’s walls expose striations of yellowish, red, and brown layers of earth. The canyon is carved so deep that one can see evidence of earth from over a billion years ago! In some places, it is over a mile deep.

We mentioned Havasu Falls (part of the Grand Canyon) as a standalone colorful wonder earlier. But the Grand Canyon as a whole is so spectacular that it warrants its own entry! Its red rocks, green foliage, and occasional blue waterfalls make it a sight to behold. But its breathtaking nature comes largely from its sheer depth and size. Though it looks beautiful in photos, you need to see it in person to understand its true magnificence!

42. Iguazu Falls

Impressive panorama view of Argentinian side of Iguazu waterfall.
  • Type: Waterfall
  • Location: Between Misiones, Argentina and Parana, Brazil
  • Size: Up to 269 feet high
  • Age: Formation began about 135 million years ago
  • Colorful feature: The blue-white water of this waterfall is made especially noticeable by its two steps of basalt. At sunrise and sunset, the brilliant colors of the sky reflect in the smooth upper surface of the falls.

Iguazu Falls is so named because it is a waterfall formed by the Iguazu River on the border between Brazil and Argentina. The waterfall itself is massive enough that it has been photographed by NASA satellites. It’s an important tourism site for both Brazil and Argentina, and each country has a national park on its respective side of the falls.

43. Bay of Fundy

Pale sandstone rock formations.
  • Type: Bay with rock formations
  • Location: Between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Size: 3,600 square miles
  • Age: Formation began about 200 million years ago
  • Colorful feature: This massive bay has beautiful blue waters, but its small sandstone islands are probably its most colorful feature. The pale sandstone contrasts sharply with the dark blue water, and each small island is crowned with evergreens and other types of foliage.

The tranquil Bay of Fundy is a member of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network initiative. It’s particularly famous because it has the highest tidal range in the world. Its tidal range is 52 feet, meaning that there is a 52-foot difference between high tide and low tide. This is especially evident in its small sandstone “islands.” At low tide, they appear to be rock formations standing up on the ground.

44. Door to Hell

Darvaza Gas Crater in Turkmenistan, part of Karakum Desert during twilight.
  • Type: Crater
  • Location: Near Darvaza, Turkmenistan
  • Size: 57,587 square feet
  • Age: Uncertain, although it may have started in 1971
  • Colorful feature: This crater’s main color is the color of fire. There is no definitive record of how it initially ignited, but it may have been lit by geologists to help stop the spread of methane gas.

You might sometimes hear this bizarre feature called the Darvaza gas crater. It is a field of natural gas that has collapsed into a cavern. It burns continuously, and you can also see boiling mud if you look closely enough. Because it is close to many of the sites in Turkmenistan used for wild desert camping, the country’s government is striving to make it a tourist attraction.

45. Blue Lake Grotto

Bright blue lake in cave in Brazil.
  • Type: Cave and lake
  • Location: Bonito, Brazil
  • Size: Up to 200 feet deep
  • Age: Uncertain; initially discovered in 1924
  • Colorful feature: As the name suggests, this unique cave is known for its exceptionally blue and clear water. In particular, when the sunlight shines through a hole in the cave ceiling, the water looks like it’s sparkling.

Many of the colorful natural wonders on the list are bodies of water with very intense coloration. This is another one. It is a flooded cave that is very popular on tours of Brazil. It is also an ideal place for fossil hunters, as the floor of the lake is covered with the bones of prehistoric animals like giant sloths and saber-tooth tigers. Though it is one of multiple pools like it in Brazil, it is likely the most beautiful one.

46. Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Blue lake in white sand dunes in Brazil.
  • Type: Lagoon/sand dune landscape
  • Location: Maranhão, Brazil
  • Size: 380,000 acres
  • Age: Uncertain
  • Colorful feature: This landscape combines undulating blue lagoons with rolling white sand dunes.

The name of this park translates literally to “bedsheets of Maranhão.” That’s because the white sand dunes have a rippling effect. Though the area has almost no plants, it isn’t classified as a desert, as it receives too much rain. Every rainy season, the area becomes flooded, forming the blue lagoons between the white dunes.

47. Cliffs of Moher

Aerial view of cliffs next to sea in Ireland.
  • Type: Cliffs
  • Location: County Clare, Ireland
  • Size: Up to 702 feet high
  • Age: Formation began between 313 and 326 million years ago
  • Colorful feature: The Cliffs of Moher are topped with unusually bright green grass. Their pale rock faces contrast sharply with the deep blue of the water below. 

High cliffs above the blue water make for some of the most stunning sites on Earth. And the world-famous Cliffs of Moher are a prime example. They provide an expansive view of the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. They are part of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark and are one of the most-visited tour sites in Ireland. The cliffs receive about 1.5 million visitors per year. Though they are largely undeveloped, O’Brien’s Tower is one of the few buildings present toward the edge of the cliffs. The tower was built in 1835 as an observation point for visitors to the area.

48. Mount Fuji

Cherry blossoms in front of Mount Fuji.
  • Type: Volcano
  • Location: Honshu, Japan
  • Size: About 12,400 feet tall
  • Age: Formation began about 1.8 million years ago
  • Colorful feature: Mount Fuji has a brilliant white snowy cap that contrasts with its dark sides. In the spring, it looks especially beautiful with the pink cherry blossoms at its feet.

Though Mount Fuji is technically classified as an active volcano, scientists believe it has a relatively low eruption risk. The last time it erupted was between 1707 and 1708! This large volcano is actually effectively several volcanos. If you look at a cross-section of the mountain, you can see the outlines of a younger Mount Fuji and other volcanos.

49. Uyuni Salt Flats

Hexagonal white salt flats in Bolivia.
  • Type: Salt flat
  • Location: Potosi, Bolivia
  • Size: About 3,900 square miles
  • Age: Formation began about 40,000 years ago
  • Colorful feature: This strange, stunningly beautiful salt flat often looks too evenly patterned to be real. When water evaporates, it forms interlocking hexagonal shapes from crystallizing salt. When rain first falls on the flats, it gives them a mirror-like sheen that reflects the sky and nearby mountains.

The Uyuni Salt Flats are the largest salt flats in the entire world. Their formation is somewhat unusual, as they grew over what were once prehistoric lakes. These lakes now have a “crust” of several feet of salt over them. The briny water beneath the salt flats is an excellent source of lithium.

50. Puerto Princesa Underground River

Beautiful lagoon, the beginning of the longest navigable underground river in the world.
  • Type: River
  • Location: Palawan, Philippines
  • Size: 5.1 miles long
  • Age: Uncertain
  • Colorful feature: You might not think of an underground river as being too colorful at all. But as the picture shows, the water at the start of the river’s underground portion is an exquisite turquoise blue. It looks especially pretty when surrounded by lush green foliage.

Many of the most beautiful natural wonders are rivers. But this one is a real standout, as it is underground! The Porto Princesa is the world’s largest underground river that is able to be navigated. In 2010, researchers found that it was ever more spectacular than originally thought. Since there is a second floor, there are small waterfalls within the underground river.

51. Perito Moreno Glacier

Massive glacier next to blue-green water.
  • Type: Ice formation
  • Location: Santa Cruz Province, Argentina
  • Size: 97 square miles
  • Age: Uncertain; first non-native sighting was in 1879
  • Colorful feature: This massive glacier is an especially lovely shade of blue-white. When viewed from above, these colors are enhanced with ripples in the glacier surface.

The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the prime attractions in Patagonia. It is part of the Los Glaciares National Park. This glacier is especially notable because it does not seem to be shrinking like most other glaciers in the world. Rather, it seems to add on roughly the same amount of ice that it loses each year. Scientists are not sure exactly why this is, but it is certainly rare and fascinating.

52. The Dead Sea

Dead sea salt shore surrounded by red mountains and green palm trees.
  • Type: Sea
  • Location: Western Asia (between Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank)
  • Size: 234 square miles
  • Age: About 2 million years old
  • Colorful feature: Though the name makes it sound dull, the Dead Sea is actually quite beautiful (as you can see in the picture). Its very salty water is often bright blue, with the shore being crusted with salt. It is surrounded by red mountains and green palm trees, creating a picturesque palette.

The mysterious Dead Sea is the deepest salt sea in the world, as it reaches nearly 1,000 feet deep! As a reference point, this sea is 9.6 times as salty as the regular ocean. Thanks to the high salt content, the Dead Sea is especially easy to float in. It gets its name from the fact that its high salt content makes it impossible for fish and many other larger organisms to live in it.

53. Galapagos Islands

Aerial view of coast of Galapagos Islands.
  • Type: Island archipelago
  • Location: Republic of Ecuador
  • Size: 3,040 square miles of land spread over 17,000 square miles of ocean
  • Age: Formation began about 14 million years ago
  • Colorful feature: Much like the Amazon rainforest, the Galapagos Islands are especially colorful thanks to their range of plants and wildlife. Blue waters and green-topped mountains add a beautiful backdrop.

The Galapagos Islands fit most people’s criteria for an island paradise. This archipelago straddles the equator, and it is known for its huge variety of native species of plants and animals. The islands themselves are very spread out; there are 21 total, 18 of which are considered to be “major” islands.

54. Rainbow Eucalyptus Groves

Small red flowers at the base of a Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree.
  • Type: Forest
  • Location: Hawaii, United States
  • Size: Up to 246 feet tall
  • Age: Uncertain
  • Colorful feature: At first glance, you might assume that a rainbow eucalyptus tree has just been painted. But whole groves of these rainbow-patterned trees are surely natural wonders. As the bark of a tree trunk begins to peel, it reveals even more colors beneath.

The rainbow eucalyptus tree is native to Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Indonesia. However, this tree has found great success in Hawaii, where it often grows in large groves. And though the trees are famous for their multicolored bark, they are used (ironically enough) for pulpwood to make white paper! But in suitable climates, they make popular ornamental trees.

55. Vinicunca

Beautiful view of the colorful Vinicunca (rainbow mountain) on a cloudy day.
  • Type: Mountain
  • Location: Andes Mountains, Peru
  • Size: 17,100 ft elevation
  • Age: Formation was between 60 million and 2 million years ago
  • Colorful feature: This mountain is often referred as “rainbow mountain,” and it may well be the most colorful rock formation in the world.

Though this mountain is truly ancient, its stunning colors remained hidden until very recently. Due to climate change, the ice covering it melted away in 2013, revealing its stunningly patterned face. Its turquoise layers come from the mineral chlorite, the orange and yellow come from iron sulfide, and the red comes from iron oxide (rust).

56. The Painted Desert

Wide panorama of beautiful striped geologic sedimentary layers on a mountain in the painted desert.
  • Type: Mountain
  • Location: Arizona, United States
  • Size: 160 miles long
  • Age: Formation began over 200 million years ago
  • Colorful feature: This range of mountains is streaked with various shades of red and lavender. Its rock layers include siltstone, mudstone, and shale.

The Painted Desert is beautiful, but it also is an important source of archaeological finds. Because its mountains expose so many layers of earth, it is possible to find dinosaur tracks, fossilized plants and animals, and even evidence of very early human inhabitants. Because the exposed rock is so delicate, water and wind erosion is constantly re-shaping the mountains. However, as part of the Petrified Forest National Park, most of the Painted Desert is protected.

Nature’s Brightly Colored Wonders

As you can see, our world is full of natural wonders so spectacular that they seem almost unreal. Whether you see them on the pages of a calendar, come across them online, or are fortunate enough to see them in person, they will almost certainly give you a whole new appreciation for life.