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Information: The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is a “five-thousand-foot-deep gorge carved by the Colorado River in northwestern Arizona”. It spans 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and more than a mile deep. The canyon is a result of constant erosion by the Colorado River over millions of years.

Where is the Grand Canyon located?

The Grand Canyon is located in the northwest corner of Arizona and it borders Utah and Nevada. It is accessible from neighboring areas like Phoenix, Flagstaff, Sedona, and Las Vegas. The vast majority of the Grand Canyon lies within Grand Canyon National Park and is managed by the National Park Service (NPS), the Hualapai Tribal Nation and the Havasupai Tribe.

In addition, the Colorado River flows through the massive canyon. It touches seven states, but the Grand Canyon National Park is within Arizona’s state borders. Arizona is primarily considered as the Grand Canyon State. Apart from the Grand Canyon, the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is located in Utah and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area touches the Grand Canyon in Nevada.

The Grand Canyon’s climate is primarily semi-arid. Some sections of the upper plateau possess forests. On the other hand, the canyon’s lower areas are a series of desert basins. According to the NPS, there are over 1,500 plants and 517 combined creatures found in the park. These creatures include different species of mammals, fish, reptiles and more.

The Grand Canyon is divided into two different areas. They are the North Rim and the South Rim. The South Rim is open all year and it receives the majority of the park’s visitors. In addition to the canyon, the South Rim has numerous services such as an airport and railways. This area is a good location for transportation services and is accessible from surrounding cities. Tourists will usually depart from these cities by utilizing a Grand Canyon Day Tour.

The North Rim is located closer to Nevada and Utah. This section is not nearly as accessible as the South Rim but it has incredible views and sights. Generally, hiking is the best way to access it via the North and South Kaibab Trails. There are also roads to the North Canyon but the distance is over 200 miles and due to factors such as weather and conditions, they are not always guaranteed to be travel worthy.


Grand Canyon Skywalk

The Canyon’s National Park is a great tourist location. Within the park is one of the more popular attractions, the Grand Canyon Skywalk. The horseshoe shaped platform is made of glass and the rim of the Grand Canyon is 70 feet behind you. The other side of the canyon is 3 miles in front of you. It stands almost 4,000 feet above the floor of the canyon. The structure opened in March 2007 and over 300,000 people visit is every year.


How was the Grand Canyon formed?

Geologists debate over the specifics of the formation of the Grand Canyon. Many argue the process and time it took to forge this incredible landmark. The general consensus was updated at a 2010 conference. Its believed that the Colorado River carved the Grand Canyon over 6 million years ago.

Modern advances in dating techniques suggest a new theory and time of when the rocks where uncovered by erosion. The theory conflicts with the traditional idea that the canyon was uniformly created and that there where in fact two separate canyons initially. They are known as the East and West Canyons. The West Canyon could be as old as 70 million years according to recent studies.
The walls of the Grand Canyon are composed of almost 50 different rock layers. Since they run the length of the canyon, this provides scientists with the ability to study geologic evolution.

Side of the Grand Canyon

Over century’s time, native people made the canyon their home and created settlements all throughout it. Many clues into their civilization have been discovered within the canyon and it’s caves. In addition, the Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon a holy site and made pilgrimages to it.

An explorer from Spain, García López de Cárdenas, was the first European documented to have seen the Grand Canyon. Garcia was a member of the 1540 expedition of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado. He found the canyon when searching for a river he learned about from the Hopi people.

President Roosevelt at Grand Canyon

President Theodore Roosevelt, supported the preservation of the Grand Canyon. While at the canyon, he spent time hunting and surveying the land. Based off of his experience their, he stated, "In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it". Roosevelt created the Grand Canyon Game Preserve in 1906 and the Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908. Almost fifteen years later the Grand Canyon finally became the 15th national park. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson signed The Grand Canyon National Park Act and the NPS assumed administration responsibilities of the park. 

The Grand Canyon is an incredible sight to see. If you are interested in visiting the canyon be sure to prepare for your trip. Tourplicity offers visitors with a comprehensive catalog of tour opportunities. Call us to reserve your Grand Canyon Day Tour today!

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