Southwest Region Map | Southwestern United States Map | Map of Southwest US
The southwest region of the United States of America, also known as the American Southwest, is a rather loose geographic term used to refer to the states along the west coast of the country.
There is no definitive list of the states that can be classified under the southwest region, considering how different bodies and agencies view different state boundaries to fulfill certain federal and state requirements.
However, as of 1848, under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the following states are considered to be a part of the Southwest:
Bordering the Mississippi River to the south is the US state of Arkansas (Capital: Little Rock). Its diverse terrain makes the state somewhat unique to this region, with its rugged mountains, caves, rivers, and hot springs.
Speaking of Hot Springs, the namesake city in the Ouachita Mountains is home to the Hot Springs National Park up north, a must-see for tourists and natives alike.
Arizona(Capital: Phoenix) is most famous for the Grand Canyon State wherein lies the breath-taking natural formations- the Grand Canyon, the mile-deep chasm that was carved by the Colorado River. Arizona is also called the Copper State for its rich mineral deposits.
Its terrain includes deserts, mountains, slot canyons, with lakes, waterfalls, and even a volcano that offer ‘downhill skiing.’
Skiing on a volcano aside, Arizona actually happens to be one of the safer states to live in in the country.
The state of Colorado (Capital: Denver) is all desert, river canyons, and the snow-covered Rockies. Colorado is home to the Rocky Mountain National Park.
Colorado is also home to the world’s largest and deepest hot springs and hot spring swimming pool. Beautiful and breathtaking views and vistas aside, Colorado is also a leading producer of peaches and apples.
Nevada (Capital: Carson City) brings one thing in mind: Las Vegas. Nevada is the gold-producing state of the United States and the second-largest in the world, just behind South Africa. It also happens to have the richest deposit of silver in the US.
To finish off the triad, we have the diamonds- the queen of diamonds found in every single one of the 51 casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.
5. New Mexico
New Mexico (Capital: Santa Fe) was originally founded in 1610 as the capital of Nuevo Mexico and is known for its beautiful White Sands National Park. It is also a huge tourist state, with people coming to visit Albuquerque every October to take part in the world’s largest international hot-air balloon festival.
Santa Fe, one of the oldest capital cities in the country is renowned for its vibrant and rich culture.
Oklahoma (Capital: Oklahoma City) is known for, wait for it, its cowboy culture, and is home to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
But apart from that, Oklahoma, which translates to red people (Okla-people and humma-red) was home to the Osage, Kiowa, Arapaho, Wichita, and Caddo tribes that lived in this region. It has more man-made lakes than any other state in the country, and, unfortunately, more tornado incidents than any other state in the US.
Texas (Capital: Austin) is the second-largest state in the country, in terms of size and population, often considered to be a part of the south-central region and easternmost region of the southwest. It is the country’s biggest producer of cattle, cotton, oil, and minerals.
Texas is considered to be the heart of American ideology and represents a specific idea of America all by itself: rodeos and cowboys, barbecue and good old stick to the bones, southern cooking.
The state of Utah ( Capital: Salt Lake City) is bordered by Colorado in the east, Wyoming to the northeast, Idaho to the north, Arizona to the south and Nevada to the West.
The state is known to be a popular skiing destination. Park City Mountain is the largest ski resort in the country and offers over 7000 acres of skiable slopes.
Utah is also home to the Mighty Five National Parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands.
Must visit tourist sites
1. Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains stretches over three thousand miles, from British Columbia in Canada, through the states of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, down to New Mexico, offering a dramatic sweep of snow-capped mountains and wildlife. The Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado has some of perhaps the most beautiful vistas in the country.
2. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular tourists spots in the southwest, with people from all over the world stopping by to stare in awe at the mile-wide chasm that the Colorado River Carved into the Canyons.
The best way to get the most out of seeing the massive expanse of ridges, gauges and rock formations is to book a hike-tour down to the Inner Canyon or a boat ride along the Colorado River.
3. Casinos at Las Vegas
Without a doubt, more people hit the slots at the casinos in the Las Vegas Stip than any other place in the southwest. But what many people don’t realize is that casinos along the Strip also feature several beautiful works of art and architecture, museums and shows.
4. Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, in the border between Arizona and Nevada. Construction of the Hoover Dam is still considered to be one of the most massive undertakings, due to the magnitude of the structure and natural restrictions.
Today, it is one of the most popular tourist spots in the region.
Major cities in the Southwest
The Southwest is home to breathtaking natural wonders and unspoilt views: deserts, mountains, and vast rivers. It also has some of the most metropolitan and populous cities :
1. Phoenix, in Arizona
2. Las Vegas, in Nevada
3. Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New in Mexico
4. Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas, in Texas
5. Denver and Colorado Springs, in Colorado
6. Springdale, Salt City, and Rockwell, in Utah
7. Oklahoma City and Tulsa in Oklahoma