Capturing the Canyons: Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1971. It is also considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The sheer enormity of the canyon is dizzying and exhilarating. It has long been a place inhabited with people, and the Navajo, Paiute, Havasupai, Hualapai, and Hopi Native American tribes still live in and around the Grand Canyon today.
President Theodore Roosevelt said, upon visiting the Grand Canyon, “It is beyond comparison – beyond description; absolutely unparalleled through-out the wide world…Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”
The parks has two main visitor areas – the North Rim and the South Rim. Most everything else in between is only accessible through backcountry roads or pack trails. Hiking along the rim and in designated trails is the most popular activity at the Grand Canyon, as it offers the breathtaking viewpoints and lookouts, though some hikes descent into the canyon. At the North Rim, mule rides down into the canyon are available as well.
Fast Facts about Grand Canyon:
Year established as a National Park: 1919
Visitors in 2014 (last recorded year available): 4,756,771
Size: 1,902 square miles
Just HOW big is the Grand Canyon: 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and 1 mile deep
Fun fact #1: Hiking from rim to rim is only about ten miles, but takes most hikers at least two days, as the route requires descending to the bottom of the canyon, crossing the Colorado River, then hiking back up the other side of the canyon.
Fun fact #2: The short-horned lizards that live in the Grand Canyon can shoot blood out of their eyes to scare away predators!
Learn more about Grand Canyon National Park at the National Park Service website!
Learn more about the Capturing the Canyons: Artists in the National Parks exhibition!
Top image: Grand Canyon National Park Service Photo