Grand Canyon – What to See in One Day

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Located in northern Arizona, the Grand Canyon is known throughout the world for its size and colorful landscape.
Measuring over 270 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep, the canyon’s walls contain rock layers that reveal a timeline of Earth’s history. It has been a locale for human use and occupation for millennia, with ruins and artifacts from inhabitants dating back nearly 12,000 years, In the early 1800s, trappers and expeditions sent by the U.S. government began to explore and map the canyon. It was first afforded Federal protection in 1893 as a Forest Reserve and later a National Monument, achieving National Park status in 1919.

The Grand Canyon lies in the southwestern portion of the Colorado Plateau, which occupies a large area of the southwestern United States and consists essentially of horizontal layered rocks and lava flows. The broad, intricately sculptured chasm of the canyon contains between its outer walls a multitude of imposing peaks, buttes, gorges, and ravines. It ranges in width from about 175 yards (160 metres) to 18 miles (29 km) and extends in a winding course from the mouth of the Paria River, near Lees Ferry and the northern boundary of Arizona with Utah, to Grand Wash Cliffs, near the Nevada state line, a distance of about 277 miles (446 km); the first portion of the canyon—from Lees Ferry to the confluence with the Little Colorado River—is called Marble Canyon.
The Grand Canyon also includes many tributary side canyons and surrounding plateaus. Although its awesome grandeur and beauty are the major attractions of the Grand Canyon, perhaps its most vital and valuable aspect lies in the time scale of Earth history that is revealed in the exposed rocks of the canyon walls. No other place on Earth compares to the Grand Canyon for its extensive and profound record of geologic events. The canyon’s record, however, is far from continuous and complete. There are immense time gaps; many millions of years are unaccounted for, owing to gaps in the strata that resulted either from vast quantities of materials being removed by erosion or because there was little or no deposition of materials. Thus, rock formations of considerably different ages are separated by only a thin distinct surface that reveals the vast unconformity in time. A variety of memorable attractions greet every visitor to the Grand Canyon.
It may be one of the world’s most impressive and perfect examples of erosion, but what leaves visitors breathless at its edge is not always the science lesson implicit in the wonder we call the Grand Canyon. Standing alongside the rim, soaking in the vast cliffs and colors, and finally recognizing nature’s immense power over humankind has helped put the lives of countless visitors in perspective. The canyon is by definition a void of land, yet it has become a tangible “thing,” filling people with hope and wonder, and the itch to explore.

The landscape is rugged and raw; jagged walls of canyons are striped with rainbows of ever-changing mineral colors. Juniper trees and ponderosa pines cling to the sides of the canyon, and it isn’t unusual to see a banana yucca sprouting defiantly along its rim. Even the native animals seem rugged – mule deer, bobcats, coyotes, and the occasional scorpion or rattlesnake lurk in the canyon’s niches.

Ideally, two days are needed to experience both the North and South rims of Grand Canyon National Park, but it is possible to see some of the main attractions in one day. Starting with the South Rim, Park Loop Drive or either West Rim or East Rim Drive promise exceptional lookout points. Rim Trail is partially paved and provides an easy hike along the canyon’s edge, where stops at various historical sites like Hermit’s Point can be made along the way. The canyon’s North Rim is seen by a mere 10 percent of visitors because it is a bit farther to reach, yet many hikers claim it offers some of the best views. Transcept Trail (three miles round trip) meanders along the rim of the canyon and ends at the North Rim campground and general store, while Cliff Springs Trail (one mile round trip) – though a bit more arduous – passes ancient dwellings and leads to another fantastic view of the canyon.
Measuring a mile deep, up to 18 miles wide and more than 275 miles long, no other sight in the USA beats this giant hole in the ground for instilling stupefying awe. Peering over the edge of the Grand Canyon is enough of a thrill for some, but to really appreciate the canyon’s grandeur, hike all the way down inside it to the rushing Colorado River. One popular attraction is the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped glass walkway that is 4,000 feet (1,220 meters) above the canyon floor in the Grand Canyon West area of the main canyon. Since opening in March 2007, about 300,000 visitors have walked the Grand Canyon Skywalk each year.

Commissioned and owned by the Hualapai Indian tribe, the skywalk is an engineering marvel conceived by David Jin, a Las Vegas-based investor who had been involved with tourism and the Hualapai Nation. The project sparked a great deal of controversy regarding the continued commercialization of this natural phenomenon, but proponents argued that it is part of a larger plan to address the tribe’s high unemployment and poverty rates. The tribe unsuccessfully sued Lin regarding management fees.
One popular attraction is the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped glass walkway that is 4,000 feet (1,220 meters) above the canyon floor in the Grand Canyon West area of the main canyon. Since opening in March 2007, about 300,000 visitors have walked the Grand Canyon Skywalk each year.
Commissioned and owned by the Hualapai Indian tribe, the skywalk is an engineering marvel conceived by David Jin, a Las Vegas-based investor who had been involved with tourism and the Hualapai Nation. The project sparked a great deal of controversy regarding the continued commercialization of this natural phenomenon, but proponents argued that it is part of a larger plan to address the tribe’s high unemployment and poverty rates. The tribe unsuccessfully sued Lin regarding management fees.

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