The huge Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, Southwestern United States, is a popular tourist destination. With the inclusion of the previous Grand Canyon and Marble Canyon national monuments, as well as sections of Glen Canyon National Recreation size and other nearby areas in 1975, the park’s size was considerably expanded from its 1919 inception. Its total landmass is 4,927 square kilometers (1,902 square miles). The park was included in the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1979.
From the mouth of the Paria River close to Lees Ferry and the northern border of Arizona with Utah to Grand Wash Cliffs near the Nevada state line, the Grand Canyon National Park comprises one of the world’s most famous visual marvels.
Grand Canyon National Park over the years
The Colorado River has been sculpting out the canyon for the past six million years, sculpting it into a wide abyss of towering peaks, buttes, gorges, and ravines. Its maximum width is 18 miles (29 km), and its depth is about 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) below the canyon walls along the 56 miles (90 km) where the river turns from flowing south to flowing west and northwest.
After Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company finished (1901) a rail route to the South Rim, tourism to the canyon began in earnest; a hotel (the El Tovar) opened in 1905, followed by additional guest facilities.
There are paved roads leading to both the North and South Rims, and the two sides are linked by a roadway that spans 215 miles (346 km) and crosses a bridge near Lees Ferry.
There are picturesque roads and paths that lead to all of the major attractions, as well as a transcanyon route that spans the 34 kilometers (21 miles) between the canyon’s two rims. Intensely popular options to take in the canyon’s enormous grandeur include mule pack journeys down into the canyon and raft rides down the river.
There is a 65-mile (100-km) beautiful railway from Williams northward to the South Rim, and visitors may also fly above the canyon in a helicopter or small plane. Four to five million people annually come to visit Grand Canyon, National Park.
Long swaths of the national park are bordered by three Indian reservations: the Navajo tribe to the east and the Havasupai and Hualapai reserves to the south.
Additionally, the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument (created in 2000) includes much of the region north of the western sector of the park up to the Nevada state border, and Kaibab National Forest surrounds the main body of the park to the north and south. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Mead National Recreation Area border the park on the northeast and west.
Grand Canyon’s three different rims
Visit the Grand Canyon even if you’re short on time or prefer paved viewing sites. The South Rim of the amazing Grand Canyon National Park is the most visited, with many restaurants, shops, hotels, and campsites.
A brief canyon excursion with the Grand Canyon Railway is exciting for families. Year-round turn-around excursions from Williams to the South Rim provide three hours to see the canyon. Polar Express trips are Christmas traditions.
The North Rim, which is open from May to October and less developed with fewer facilities, offers a unique and uncrowded approach to seeing the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon West rim is popular for brief trips. The Skywalk, a glass bridge 4,000 feet above the canyon bottom, brings Grand Canyon tourists over the rim.