Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

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Grand Canyon National Park is the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

' 15th oldest national park and is located in Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

. Within the park lies the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the United States in the state of Arizona. It is largely contained within the Grand Canyon National Park, the 15th national park in the United States...

, a gorge of the Colorado River
Colorado River
The Colorado River , is a river in the Southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, approximately long, draining a part of the arid regions on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. The watershed of the Colorado River covers in parts of seven U.S. states and two Mexican states...

, considered to be one of the Wonders of the World
Wonders of the World
Various lists of the Wonders of the World have been compiled from antiquity to the present day, to catalogue the world's most spectacular natural wonders and manmade structures....

. The park covers 1217403 acre of unincorporated area
Unincorporated area
In law, an unincorporated area is a region of land that is not a part of any municipality.To "incorporate" in this context means to form a municipal corporation, a city, town, or village with its own government. An unincorporated community is usually not subject to or taxed by a municipal government...

 in Coconino
Coconino County, Arizona
-2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*61.7% White*1.2% Black*27.3% Native American*1.4% Asian*0.1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*3.1% Two or more races*5.2% Other races*13.5% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

 and Mohave
Mohave County, Arizona
Mohave County is located in the northwestern corner of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census, its population was 200,186, an increase of 45,154 people since the 2000 census count of 155,032. The county seat is Kingman...


Most visitors to the park come to the South Rim, arriving on Arizona State Route 64. The Highway enters the park through the South Entrance, near Tusayan, Arizona
Tusayan, Arizona
Tusayan is a town in Coconino County, Arizona, United States. Prior to its incorporation in 2010, it was a census-designated place . A resort town near the south entrance to Grand Canyon National Park, Tusayan is served by Grand Canyon National Park Airport...

, and heads eastward, leaving the park through the East Entrance. All park accommodations are operated by the Xanterra corporation. Park headquarters are at Grand Canyon Village
Grand Canyon Village, Arizona
Grand Canyon Village is a census-designated place located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, in Coconino County, Arizona. Its population was 1,460 at the 2000 Census. Located in Grand Canyon National Park, it is wholly focused on accommodating tourists visiting the canyon...

, a short distance from the South Entrance, being also the location of the most popular viewpoints. Some thirty miles of the South Rim are accessible by road. A much smaller venue for tourists is found on the North Rim, accessed by Arizona State Route 67. There is no road connection between the two within Arizona except via the Navajo Bridge
Navajo Bridge
Navajo Bridge crosses the Colorado River's Marble Canyon near Lee's Ferry in the US state of Arizona. Apart from the Glen Canyon Bridge a few miles upstream at Page, Arizona, it is the only roadway crossing of the river and the Grand Canyon for nearly...

, near Page, Arizona
Page, Arizona
Page is a city in Coconino County, Arizona, United States, near the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 6,794.-Geography:Page is located at ....

, entailing a five-hour drive. Otherwise, the two rims of the Canyon are connected via Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

, and the Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam, once known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the US states of Arizona and Nevada. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President...


The rest of the Grand Canyon is extremely rugged and remote, although many places are accessible by pack trail and backcountry roads.


Grand Canyon National Park became a national park in 1919. So famous is this landmark to modern Americans that it seems surprising that it took more than thirty years for it to become a national park. President Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 visited the rim in 1903 and exclaimed: "The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison—beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout 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."

Despite Roosevelt's enthusiasm and his strong interest in preserving land for public use, the Grand Canyon was not immediately designated as a national park. The first bill to create Grand Canyon National Park was introduced in 1882 and again in 1883 and 1886 by Senator Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States . Harrison, a grandson of President William Henry Harrison, was born in North Bend, Ohio, and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana at age 21, eventually becoming a prominent politician there...

. As President, Harrison established the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve in 1893. Theodore Roosevelt created the Grand Canyon Game Preserve by proclamation in 1906 and Grand Canyon National Monument
National monument
A National monument is a monument constructed in order to commemorate something of national importance such as a war or the country's founding. The term may also refer to a specific monument status, such as a National Heritage Site, which most national monuments are by reason of their cultural...

 in 1908. Senate bills to establish a national park were introduced and defeated in 1910 and 1911. The Grand Canyon National Park Act was finally signed by President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

 in 1919. The National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

, established in 1916, assumed administration of the park.

The creation of the park was an early success of the environmental conservation movement. Its National Park status may have helped thwart proposals to dam the Colorado River within its boundaries. (Lack of this fame may have enabled Glen Canyon Dam
Glen Canyon Dam
Glen Canyon Dam is a concrete arch dam on the Colorado River in northern Arizona in the United States, just north of Page. The dam was built to provide hydroelectricity and flow regulation from the upper Colorado River Basin to the lower. Its reservoir is called Lake Powell, and is the second...

 to be built upriver, flooding Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon is a canyon that is located in southeastern and south central Utah and northwestern Arizona within the Vermilion Cliffs area. It was carved by the Colorado River....

 and creating Lake Powell
Lake Powell
Lake Powell is a huge reservoir on the Colorado River, straddling the border between Utah and Arizona . It is the second largest man-made reservoir in the United States behind Lake Mead, storing of water when full...

.) In 1975, the former Marble Canyon
Marble Canyon
Marble Canyon is the section of the Colorado River canyon in northern Arizona from Lee's Ferry to the confluence with the Little Colorado River, which marks the beginning of the Grand Canyon....

 National Monument, which followed the Colorado River northeast from the Grand Canyon to Lee's Ferry
Lee's Ferry
Lee's Ferry is a site on the Colorado River in Coconino County, Arizona, United States, about 7.5 miles southwest of the town of Page, Arizona and the Glen Canyon Dam, and about 9 mi south of the Utah-Arizona border. It is the former location of a ferry established by John D. Lee, a Mormon...

, was made part of Grand Canyon National Park. In 1979, UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 declared it as a World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...


The Grand Canyon, including its extensive system of tributary canyons, is valued for its combination of large size, depth, and the exposed layering of colorful rocks dating back to Precambrian
The Precambrian is the name which describes the large span of time in Earth's history before the current Phanerozoic Eon, and is a Supereon divided into several eons of the geologic time scale...

 times. It was created through the incision of the Colorado River and its tributaries after the Colorado Plateau
Colorado Plateau
The Colorado Plateau, also called the Colorado Plateau Province, is a physiographic region of the Intermontane Plateaus, roughly centered on the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States. The province covers an area of 337,000 km2 within western Colorado, northwestern New Mexico,...

 was uplifted and the Colorado River system developed along its present path.

South Rim

The South Rim is easier to visit than the North Rim. Access is available from I-40 from Las Vegas
Las Vegas metropolitan area
The Las Vegas Valley is the heart of the Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA also known as the Las Vegas–Paradise–Henderson MSA which includes all of Clark County, Nevada, and is a metropolitan area in the southern part of the U.S. state of Nevada. The Valley is defined by the Las Vegas Valley landform, a ...

, California and the west coast and from Flagstaff, Arizona
Flagstaff, Arizona
Flagstaff is a city located in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2010, the city's population was 65,870. The population of the Metropolitan Statistical Area was at 134,421 in 2010. It is the county seat of Coconino County...

 and points east, i.e., New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

 or east of the Mississippi River. For areas to the north, U.S. 89 connects Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

 and Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

 and the North Rim of the canyon to the south rim.


The Grand Canyon Village is located at the north end of U.S. 180
U.S. Route 180
U.S. Route 180 is an east–west United States highway. Like many three-digit routes, US 180 no longer meets its "parent", US 80. US 80 was decommissioned west of Mesquite, Texas, and was replaced in Texas by Interstate 20 and Interstate 10. The highway's eastern terminus is in Hudson Oaks,...

, coming from Flagstaff. This is a full-service community, which includes lodging, fuel, food, souvenir, a hospital, churches and access to trails and guided walks and talks.


Lodging is available along the south rim at two locations. Campgrounds with tables and fireplaces are located in the village and at Desert View. Hotel-Motels include El Tovar Hotel, located in the village, and the Grand Canyon Lodge, located next to the campground.


Activities vary from passive to strenuous and physical. For individuals with limitations (be it physical or time), there is the South Rim Drive (35 miles (56.3 km)). It is split into two segments. The West Rim is 8 miles (12.9 km) to Hermits' Rest. There are several overlooks along the way, including Mohave Point and Hopi Point, as well as the Powell
John Wesley Powell
John Wesley Powell was a U.S. soldier, geologist, explorer of the American West, and director of major scientific and cultural institutions...

 Memorial. The East Rim is 25 miles (40.2 km) out to Desert View. During the busy summer season, private vehicles are restricted along much of this route and a free shuttle gives everyone a chance to watch the scenery.Grand Canyon National Park.

For individuals interested in a leisurely stroll along the canyon rim, there is the Rim Trail, which follows the canyon for 4 miles (6.4 km) from the Yavapai Museum east to Maricopa Point. The Canyon Rim Nature Trail is only 1.5 miles (2.4 km) and leads from the El Tovar Hotel to the Park Visitor center.

Grand Canyon Association

The Grand Canyon Association (GCA) is the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

's official non-profit partner raising private funds to benefit Grand Canyon National Park. It operates retail shops and visitor centers within the park, and provides educational opportunities about the natural and cultural history of the region. It was founded by naturalist Edwin D. McKee in February 1932 as the Grand Canyon Natural History Association.

In October 1994, the association's board of directors approved changing the name of the association from Grand Canyon Natural History Association to Grand Canyon Association, in part to emphasize an expanding list of services, books, and products focusing on cultural history, thus not always fitting the bill of "natural history."

In 2010, Grand Canyon National Park was honored with its own coin under the America the Beautiful Quarters program.


GCA publishes 3 to 5 books on average annually. Topics of their books include original research on the Grand Canyon, scientific monographs, American Indian history, and guidebooks.

In association with Grand Canyon National Park, GCA co-publishes the park's newspaper, The Guide, with translations in many languages, including Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, French, German, Korean, and Italian.

See also

  • List of trails in Grand Canyon National Park
  • Grand Canyon
    Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the United States in the state of Arizona. It is largely contained within the Grand Canyon National Park, the 15th national park in the United States...

External links