The largest canyon in the world: the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon in the U.S.

Is there anyone who doesn’t know what the Grand Canyon looks like in the United States? This natural creation fascinates with its sheer scale and draws extreme hunters to commit the next insanity. Tourists come by the millions to the limestone highlands to feel the spirit of this ancient place and take the most beautiful photos.

General Information

Grand Canyon in Arizona

The Grand Canyon is one of the deepest in the world. It is located in Arizona on the Colorado Plateau, a distance of 446 kilometers. In fact, it is part of the national park of the same name. The canyon is eroded by the Colorado River, and in some places it is up to 29 kilometers wide. Generally, the slopes widen as the elevation increases. The Grand Canyon is 1,800 meters deep.

Grand Canyon

In terms of geology, the Grand Canyon is of considerable interest, which is why scientists are still studying it. What is interesting is that the rocky terrain, like an open book, can tell about four geological eras of our planet. The rocks are so diverse that it would take a lot of time to classify them into groups. In addition, this is where a huge number of caves are located. In terms of archaeology, the canyon is very curious, because such an ancient plateau may conceal real treasures.

Highlands in the Grand Canyon

Because of the great height of the cliffs, the climatic zones change according to the depth, and the boundaries are very blurred. Nevertheless, you can see the differences in temperature and humidity and get to know the inhabitants of the canyon as you descend lower and lower on its steep slopes. The flora of the Grand Canyon in the United States is very diverse. Tall trees such as fir, yellow pine, and spruce are found here. These forests are home to a unique species of squirrels. It is true that there are also large animals, such as black-tailed deer. There are many bats and rodents in the forests.

History of Formation

Colorado River

Many people wonder how the Grand Canyon was formed, because it takes not even thousands but millions of years to create such a natural masterpiece. It is assumed that from the time of land emergence, the Colorado River flowed through the plain, but the movement of the plates triggered the rise of the plateau. This changed the angle of the riverbed, increased the rate of flow, and caused the rocks to wash out faster.

Grand Canyon Walls

The upper layer consisted of limestone, which washed out first. Deeper were the sandstones and shales, but even these could not withstand the rushing current that had washed over the plateau for millions of years. So about five million years ago the Grand Canyon looked much as it does today. However, soil erosion is still going on, so after a few million more years, this natural landmark could change significantly.

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Human Exploitation

Grand Canyon Lookout

The Grand Canyon was inhabited by Indians long before Europeans arrived here. Numerous petroglyphs, dating back thousands of years, attest to this fact. Despite the topography of the area, indigenous people still live on the plateau. Several Indian tribes have reservations here.

Grand Canyon in Winter

The Grand Canyon was first stumbled upon by Spanish soldiers in 1540. They were traveling across the mainland in the hope of finding gold, so they decided to descend to the bottom of the canyon. However, they were not able to do so because they were not adequately prepared. After them no one set a goal to go down. Only in 1869 was a scientific expedition to the Grand Canyon in the United States, which managed to describe its features. The merits of this belonged to Professor John Weasley Powell.

Interesting Facts

Beautiful views at the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is a unique place, so many events of historical significance are associated with it. It was added to the UNESCO list in 1979 for its exclusivity, but there are more interesting facts about the natural landmark.

Grand Canyon River

Many airliners used to make several circles over the Grand Canyon when they flew over it so that passengers could appreciate the beauty and scale of the plateau. It was certainly an impressive sight, but such actions were inherently dangerous because of the potential for the planes to collide as they planned over the rocks. That’s what happened in 1956, killing 128 people. The national government reacted instantly and banned visual flights of civilian aircraft over the airways.

Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon

Thirty years later, there was another plane crash over the Grand Canyon as a result of a collision between a sightseeing plane and a helicopter. At that time, 25 people on both craft were killed. The cause of the collision could not be determined.

Nicholas Wallenda in the Grand Canyon

In 2013, there was a risky action at the Grand Canyon that deservedly made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. The famous tightrope walker Nicholas Wallenda crossed the gap between the rocks of the canyon without a safety harness. This event became the sixth in the list of his most extraordinary accomplishments and deserves worldwide recognition.

Many tourists are wondering how to get to the Grand Canyon in the United States, because it extends over quite a long distance. Today here organize special tours, on the rocks are equipped with viewing platforms. It is difficult to give their exact address, but with the help of maps and signs you can quickly orient yourself on the ground. More popular among visiting guests are rafting on the river, as well as mule rides.

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The Grand Canyon in the U.S.

Grand Canyon in the USA

The Grand Canyon is the best known and one of the oldest, most popular, and most spectacular national parks in the United States. Over 6 million people visit it every year, second only to Great Smoky Mountains Nature Park, located in the densely populated eastern part of the country.

The Grand Canyon is home to perhaps the most famous natural attraction in the country, the legendary Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, which is 446 km long, with an average width of 16 km and a depth of up to 1,600 m. It has been named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World by CNN.

Helicopter view of the canyon

  • The area of Grand Canyon Park is 4,926.66 square kilometers.
  • The founding of the national park – 1919.
  • Inclusion in the list of World Heritage Sites – 1979.

The Grand Canyon today

The area around the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River was declared a national monument in 1908. Exactly 11 years later, it received national park status, thus avoiding the construction of a dam within its boundaries. The natural site is managed by the U.S. federal National Park Service.

There are longer, wider, and deeper canyons on the planet, but nowhere are so many open historical slices of the Earth preserved in near-perfect condition. Archaeological work is being successfully carried out here, in the process of which many unique artifacts are being discovered.

Tower and museum

The National Park is divided by a natural barrier created by the Colorado River into two zones: the South Rim and the North Rim. The first is more visited (90% of tourists), so there are favorable conditions for travelers. The second is famous for its hard-to-reach trails and limited access/travel in the winter.

Grand Canyon on google panorama:

Today, the Grand Canyon is open to the public. Visitors are offered a wide variety of travel options – on foot on designated trails, by motor vehicle on roads, on rafts and boats on the river, on horse and muleback, and aboard a helicopter or light aircraft. There are equipped areas for overnight stays, including campsites, cottages, and tent cities. In the “crowded” points are present souvenir and food stores, cafes, toilets. The main headquarters is located in Grand Canyon Village, at the south entrance to the park.

Flora and fauna

The vegetation of the national park is quite sparse. There is an altitudinal zonation with blurred boundaries within it. Fir, yellow pine and spruce grow here. In total, there are five climatic belts.

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The most famous inhabitants of the Grand Canyon are California condors, squirrels, chipmunks, feline raccoons, skunks, and black-tailed deer. Predators include mountain lions and bobcats, while reptiles include lizards and snakes. Of course, there are also rodents and bats.

Animal World

Grand Canyon in the United States: prices

There is a fee to enter and drive into the national park area. The applicable rates are:

  • car – $35;
  • motorcycle, moped – $ 30;
  • Bicyclists, pedestrians, shuttle bus and train passengers – $20;
  • under 15 years old – free.

Tickets are valid for 7 days. You can buy them online at the official website or at North Rim, South Rim, and Desert View checkpoints.

Vertical Cliffs

The national park service offers a range of annual passes. The cost of a regular pass for 12 months is $70.

  • The 3rd Monday of January is Martin Luther King Day;
  • 1st Sat. of April – first day of National Park Week;
  • Aug. 25 is the date the National Park Service was created;
  • 4th Sat. of September – National Public Lands Day;
  • 11/11 – Veterans Day.

Those wishing to camp 1-2 nights outside of organized campsites and in any section of the North Rim from 01/11 – 14/05 must obtain a special permit. The cost is $10 + $8 per night per camper. Applications are accepted within 10 days 4 calendar months prior to visiting the Grand Canyon. There is a $110 environmental fee to enter the Havasupai Tribe Reservation and a $43 hualapai fee.

Skywalk Horseshoe over the Abyss

Walking the Skywalk is from $26. Photos are not allowed on the bridge, the services of professional photographers: for 1 photo – $ 30, for several – $ 100.

Grand Canyon National Park.

South Rim can be visited year-round, 24 hours a day. During the winter, only some sites that have some kind of danger are closed.

Full-service access to North Rim is available from 5:05 to 10 p.m. Access roads for all modes of transportation are completely closed from 12/1 to 2:05 p.m.

The visitor centers are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the summer and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the winter.

Canyon rock massif

What to see

The main attraction is the fantastic natural reliefs of the Grand Canyon, cut through over tens of millions of years by the river, honed by wind, landslides and rain. The multicolored layers of rocks, forming masses of unusual shapes and sizes, amaze everyone, leaving an indelible impression in the memory. Many formations have their own names.

A cut-through rock passage

Breathtaking scenery opens from the numerous observation sites of the canyon. The Hermit’s Path alone has nine of them! The Skywalk, built on the Hualapai Reservation, is especially popular. This horseshoe-shaped Skywalk overlooks the abyss and offers a view through a glass floor of the abyss, which drops more than 1,200 meters into the distance.

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There are several signposted hiking trails in Grand Canyon National Park. They vary in length and difficulty. The most popular trails are Bright Angel, the steeper South Kaibab and North Kaibab, the rocky Hermit and the slightly rougher Grandview. The trails pass tunnels, abandoned campsites since the 1900s, fossil reptile tracks and cave paintings, ore crushers, memorials, capes, etc. Keep in mind that some of the trails do not involve shuttle stops.

Colorado River Trail

Many hikers are eager to see spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Those who dream of catching stunning stargazing trips plan for June.

The Desert View checkpoint is home to the Lookout Tower, Tusayan Ruins, and the Archaeological Museum.

Lovers of local color visit the Havasupai and Hualapai Indian Reservations. These lands are located in the southwestern part of the park.

Indian cabin

Excursions to the Grand Canyon from nearby cities

In Grand Canyon National Park, tourists can find many tours to suit all tastes. Most tours start from Las Vegas. For example – a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon, or sightseeing tour of the canyon and surrounding area. For those who love extreme sports, parachute jumps are organized. The cost of tours includes transportation and accompaniment by a guide or instructor, in multi-hour tours includes meals.

Tours are also available from nearby cities such as Flagstaff, Tusayan, and Williams.

Helicopter rides

Where is the national park

The unique natural attraction is located in the western part of the United States, in northern Arizona. The national park spreads out on either side of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. The nearest major city to the south is Flagstaff, a small town to the north is Fredonia, and the legendary Las Vegas to the east of the Grand Canyon.

Weather

Climatic conditions are harsher in the North Rim than in the South Rim and near the river. Temperatures in the northern part of the park are usually 5 to 8 degrees lower than in the south, and the difference with the lowlands is 10 to 15 degrees. In winter, the uplands are covered with snow. In summer, the thermometer can reach 49 degrees at the bottom of the canyon. The hottest months are June and August. Monsoon season, accompanied by heavy rains, thunderstorms, and flooding, is July-September.

Lookout

When planning a trip to Grand Canyon National Park, it is advisable to consult the predictions of the weather forecasters.

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Safety

Traveling in the Grand Canyon is challenging, so you must be physically prepared and as careful as possible. It should be understood that safety depends, first and foremost, on oneself, and that help is long overdue here. Each year, hundreds of tourists receive serious injuries, often incompatible with life. Most accidents are associated with overestimating their own strength.

Grand Canyon in the USA

It is not recommended to go down to the bottom of the canyon and back up in one day. If there is not enough time or no permission to spend the night, it is better to turn back from halfway.

It is very important to take drinking water (the more the better), as it is quite difficult to find its natural sources. From dehydration and heat stroke many tourists suffer, especially in the heat, which often leads to bitter consequences.

During thunderstorms, you should not go into open spaces or hide under a solitary tree. In heavy rain and snowy weather it is necessary to be extremely careful.

You must be sure to wear headgear, comfortable and secure shoes, and you should cover exposed areas of your body from sunlight. In the winter you will need crampons on boots, ski poles and warm clothes.

Grand Canyon National Park: Video

How to get to Grand Canyon

State trails lead to the national park: 40 from the south and 15 from the northeast. Route 64 runs from Williams through Tusayan to the Visitor Center at Grand Canyon Village. It would take about 5.5 hours to get from the South Rim checkpoint to North Rim by car.

In the summer, during mass vacations and on weekends, huge lines gather at the entrance to Grand Canyon Park, and it can be difficult to park in the South Rim area. It is recommended that you leave your vehicle in Tusayan Town and catch a bus to Grand Canyon Village, so you do not have to wait and spend time looking for parking.

Jeep rides

There are free shuttle buses that allow you to get around the park. Three of them operate year-round, and two operate only from March 1 to mid-September (Tusayan Road) and to the end of November (Hermit Road). Buses run every 15-30 minutes, and the Hikers’ Express shuttles run only in the morning hours. A schedule and description of all five routes can be found here.

Grand Canyon Train

The national park can be reached by train, which departs from Williams Train Depot in Williams Township. The train offers refreshments and stories about the Grand Canyon and the Wild West. Departure at 09:30.

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