Grand Canyon-Arizona is counted among the natural wonders of the whole world. Situated in Arizona, it attracts more than 4 million visitors each year from different parts of the world. It is said that more than 17 million years ago, the Colorado River started carving its way through Colorado Plateau, thus eroding the sides of the river and forming what is known today as the Grand Canyon.
The Great Canyon is a huge gorge of the picturesque River Colorado and stands as one of the most popular natural treasures of the entire world. It is 1.6 km deep, 6.4 to 29 km wide and about 349 km long.
Great Canyon shows in its rocks the continuous geological chain of the erosion, submergence, materials disposition and uplift. The steep, the em-bayed rims, the multi-colored rocks, isolated towers, temples, mesas, and the eroded rocks shapes a great contrast to the sun and the shadow and stands as a great example of unique natural beauty.
The ancient pueblos speck the lower canyon walls and its rims. Havasupai people still occupies a great part of the Grand Canyon- Arizona. The Hualapai reservation includes a great part of the southern rim. Today, the Hualapai operates one visitor center, which includes skywalk that projects over the rim of the canyon.
Garcia Lopez de Cardenas was the first European to view the Grand Canyon, Arizona. It was 1540 when this Spanish explorer saw the canyon. Later on in the year 1869, an United States ( US) explorer- John Wesley Powell became the first ever person to escort a party through the bottom of the Grand Canyon in his boat.
The United States government in the year 1908 declared Grand Canyon-Arizona as a remarkable national monument. In 1919, an extended area of the Grand Canyon was designated as the Grand Canyon National Park, covering over 1, 217, 403 acres. In 1975, the park was expanded to include other areas, like some parts of the Glen Canyon, Marble Canyon and the Lake Mead.
Towards its forested Northern rim and its nearby Southern rims, there are several trails and lookouts. Today, boat and raft excursions are quite common along the river bottom of the Canyon. In the year 2000, the lands covering the north-western part of the Grand Canyon, and an area covering almost the same size of this park were also designated as the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument.
Grand Canyon-Arizona due to its position in the high altitude experiences a quick change in the weather. The temperate in the higher altitude is very much different from the temperatures at the canyon bottom, about 4,000 feet underneath.
During winter, the temperature may drop as low as 18°F (-8°C) on its southern rim, and significant amount of snow fall during winter months is common. Temperatures at Colorado River do rarely drop below the freezing point, even during its coldest months.
In peak summer, the southern rim temperature can climb to 84°F (29°C) while the canyon walls heat up the inner canyon to a boiling 106°F (49°C). On the other hand, temperatures on its northern rims are usually few degrees cooler than that found in the south due to its higher altitude.
‘Grand Canyon Rafting’
For people who find flying and driving to the Grand Canyon not so interesting, another way of reaching this popular natural wonder of the world is by the boat. There are more than 22,000 thrill seekers who join the rafting trips along this Colorado River.
There are more than 16 tour companies which offer licensed raft services to the 277 mile stretched of the Grand Canyon every year. The rafting trips usually start their journey at the Lees Ferry in the Marble Canyon. It emerges 8 days later from the Grand Canyon at the Pearce Ferry situated in Lake Mead.
The most alluring part of this boat trip is riding along the white water rapids surrounded by the vertical cliffs 4000 feet in height.
Reaching Grand Canyon –Arizona
It’s not a simple feat to cross the Grand Canyon-Arizona by the car. There are two river crossings in total. First, the Navajo Bridge which crosses the eastern half of the Colorado River close to the Page. The next river which crosses by the road is at Hoover Dam on the Arizona/Nevada state border, situated closely 300 miles down stream.
By road, there are three locations which are accessible to witness the beautiful Colorado River in Grand Canyon. The paved roads directs to the wonderful tourist villages situated on both the north and the south rim. The Grand Canyon village at its Southern Rim can be accessible all round the year.
The higher altitude effects in the closing of the Northern Rim resort during winter. The Toroweap Overlook and the Grand Canyon West are the other two locations which are accessible by any car. Both these destinations do involve a long journey on the gravel and uneven roads. However, with the opening of the 2007 Grand Canyon Skywalk, Grand Canyon-Arizona roads have been gradually improved.
Las Vegas and Phoenix are two of the main international airports to reach the Grand Canyon. There are chartered flights and the sightseeing tours from/to the Grand Canyon National Park Airport. The airport is situated close to its southern rim, just outside the entrance of the national park, the city of Tusayan.
The Grand Canyon West Airport provides flights from the Las Vegas city into the well-known Hualapai Indian Reservation. Most passengers use the airport to access to Grand Canyon skywalk as it offers an easier and faster alternative to drive along a bumpy and unpaved gravel road. The bus tours are provided from the airport to the Skywalk and to the Eagle Point.
The closest airport to reach the northern rim of the Grand Canyon-Arizona is St. George, Utah that offers limited services. Few other alternatives include Las Vegas, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.