Now that it’s officially fall in the Northern Hemisphere, certain areas enjoy the gradual changes of the leaves, which go from a summer green glow to the crisp orange, red and yellow colors of autumn. Fall foliage is unique to certain parts of the world, but, if color in nature is what you seek, feel free to explore these colorful natural wonders located all around the world. From rainbow mountain ranges to pink lakes, this list will satisfy your color craving even if leaf peeping isn’t on your radar.
Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, Gansu Province, China
This unusual rock formation located in Gansu Province, China, boasts an array of reds, oranges and greens due to the evolution of red sandstone and mineral deposits from more than 24 million years ago. This incredible sight is visited by thousands of tourists each year. Visitors can walk along a boardwalk through the mountainous rock formations.
Upper Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona, United States
Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo land near Page, Arizona. The Navajo refer to Upper Antelope Canyon as Tsé bighánílín, meaning “the place where water runs through rocks.” From mid-March until early October, beams of sunlight enter the canyon, giving it the orange-red glow tourists from all over come to admire. Due to its accessibility, Antelope is the most visited slot canyon in the American Southwest and a year-round attraction.
Five Flower Lake, Jiuzhaigou Valley, China
Five Flower Lake, or Wuhua Hai, situated in Jiuzhaigou Valley, China, is colored by mineral deposits and aquatic plant life. Its shallow depth allows visitors to see the shades of turquoise in the water as well as various fallen trees and branches that lie on the lake’s floor. According to ancient legend, Five Flower Lake, along with the 108 other multicolored lakes in the reserve, were created when a goddess dropped and smashed a mirror her lover had given her into 108 pieces, in turn creating these magnificent lakes.
Tulip Fields, Netherlands
Natural tulip fields located between Sassenheim and Lisse in the Netherlands are an incredible sight to behold both from above and from ground level. Rows of colored flowers — reds, purples, yellows and more — create a rainbow effect. Many tourists flock to Sassenheim in the spring for the area’s annual flower parade. Others rent bicycles to tour the dozens of tulip farms in this area of the countryside.
Lac Rose, Senegal
Lake Retba of Senegal, known locally as Lac Rose, catches the eye of visitors with its natural, vivid pink hue. The color is attributed to the lake’s high salt content ,which attracts the Dunaliella salina bacteria producing a red pigment that absorbs sunlight. If you’re thinking of planning a visit, go during the country’s dry season (November through June) to see the lake at its most vibrant. Locals use the lake for salt production, and on a visit you will likely see salt collectors gathering salt from the bottom of the lake and placing their findings into baskets.
Morning Glory Pool, Wyoming, United States
Located in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, the funnel-shaped Morning Glory Pool is a hot spring named for its close resemblance to the morning glory flower. The hot spring itself reaches a temperature of 171 degrees Fahrenheit (77 degrees Celsius). The unique colors of orange and yellow are caused by thermophilic bacteria, which thrive in hot temperatures. This popular attraction can be reached by road — it’s less than two miles away from the Old Faithful Visitors Center.
Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this red rock formation was originally named Red Rock Corral, but, when two surveyors visited the spot, they decided it was a site fit for the gods and renamed it Garden of the Gods. This National Natural Landmark is in a free public park that’s open daily, and tourists and locals use it for hiking, rock climbing and to take advantage of the incredible scenery.
Pink Sands Beach, Bahamas
You’ll find plenty of white-sand beaches when you visit the islands of the Caribbean and the Bahamas, but pink sand is much harder to come by. That is unless you visit Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, which runs three miles along the island’s east coast. “Frommer’s” has named it one of the best beaches in the world and tourists claim it’s ideal for swimming thanks to the year-round warm water and nearby coral reef that calms waves coming in from the open Atlantic Ocean.
Caño Cristales, Meta, Colombia
This South American attraction located in Meta, Colombia, is also known as “The River of Five Colors” or “The Liquid Rainbow,” and it’s easy to see why. Visitors come to Serrania de la Macarena National Park to gaze at the natural beauty of the flowing water, which features hues of pinks, reds, yellows and greens as a result of the blue water mixed with yellow and green sand. The pink comes from a plant species on the river floor called Macarenia clavigera, which turns bright red under the water’s surface. Guided tours can be arranged to this unique and remote attraction.
Lake Hillier, Australia
Lake Hillier is located on Middle Island, the largest of the islands that make up the Recherche Archipelago off the west coast of Australia. The lake, which is safe for swimming, has a distinct rose-pink color that takes on a bubble-gum-pink look when viewed from the air. The hue is thought to be caused by organisms called Dunaliella salina and Halobacteria, present in other similar bodies of water with high salt content.
(Main image: nicholas_t)