Grand Canyon National Park

TRAVEL GUIDE

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When it comes to the Grand Canyon, there are statistics, and there are sensations. While the former are impressive—the canyon measures an average width of 10 miles, length of 277 river miles, and depth of 1 mile—they don't truly prepare you for that first impression. Viewing the canyon for the first time is an astounding experience. Actually, it's more than an experience: it's an emotion, one that only just begins to be captured with the word "Grand," the name bestowed upon the canyon by John Wesley Powell, an explorer of the American West, as he led his expedition down the Colorado River in 1869.

When President Teddy Roosevelt declared it a National Monument in 1908, he called it "the one great sight every American should see." Though many visitors do just that–-stand at the rim... Read More

When it comes to the Grand Canyon, there are statistics, and there are sensations. While the former are impressive—the canyon measures an average width of 10 miles, length of 277 river miles, and depth of 1 mile—they don't truly prepare you for that first impression. Viewing the canyon for the first time is an astounding experience. Actually, it's more than an experience: it's an emotion, one that only just begins to be captured with the word "Grand," the name bestowed upon the canyon by John Wesley Powell, an explorer of the American West, as he led his expedition down the Colorado River in 1869.

When President Teddy Roosevelt declared it a National Monument in 1908, he called it "the one great sight every American should see." Though many visitors do just that–-stand at the rim and marvel in awe—there are manifold ways to soak up the canyon's magnificence. Hike or ride a trusty mule down into the canyon, bike or ramble along its rim, fly over, or raft through on the Colorado River.

Roughly 6 million visitors come to the park each year. You can access the canyon via two main points—the South Rim and the North Rim—but the South Rim is much easier to get to and therefore much more visited. The width from the North Rim to the South Rim varies from 600 feet to 18 miles, but traveling between rims by road requires a 215-mile drive. Hiking arduous trails from rim to rim is a steep and strenuous trek of at least 21 miles, but it's well worth the effort. You'll travel through five of North America's seven life zones. (To do this any other way, you'd have to journey from the Mexican desert to the Canadian woods.) West of Grand Canyon National Park, the tribal lands of the Hualapai and the Havasupai lie along the so-called West Rim of the canyon, where you'll find the impressive glass Skywalk.

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