The Paiute Indians call it Kaibab, or ‘Mountain Lying Down’. John Wesley Powell gave it its more commonly known name in 1872.
One of the most spectacular examples of rock erosion, stretching for 277 miles where the Colorado river cuts through Northwest Arizona, it is little wonder that the Grand Canyon is widely proclaimed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and named a World Heritage Site.
Although the Grand Canyon is a mere baby by geological standards, formed only 5 or 6 million years ago, the rock layers at the bottom of the Canyon are almost 2 billion years old. The vivid colours of the different geological layers delight visitors from sunrise to sunset.
Welcoming more than five million visitors a year, there is much more to the Grand Canyon than simply admiring the breathtaking views. It is crowned by two rims, the South Rim and the North Rim.
The difference in elevation between the Rims is 1,324 feet, and although they are only 12 miles apart, the journey by road is 219 miles!
In between the Rims is the Inner Canyon, accessed only by hiking, by mule or by rafting the Colorado River.
Hikers are warned of the dangers of heat stroke, hypothermia, dehydration and exhaustion – and to beware of the skunks.
They’re pretty stinky apparently.
Did you know
- on average five people are killed each year by falling over the edge of the Canyon
- the average Grand Canyon visitor spends only 15 minutes looking at the Canyon
- the National Park Service will charge you $2,000 for an emergency rescue out of the Canyon