The Grand Canyon is one of the top tourist attractions of Arizona and people from around the world come to admire
the beauty of the canyon. The article discusses background information and various activities that you can do while visiting the canyon.
The Grand Canyon was carved out by the Colorado River millions of years ago. The Colorado River began carving it
17 million years ago. The canyon is located in northwestern Arizona on the Colorado Plateau. The Grand Canyon National Park takes up over 1.2 million acres of land; it is over 270 miles long and 18 miles wide and in some areas
the canyon is over a mile deep. There are many plant and animal species that reside at the Grand Canyon: there is
89 species of mammals, 373 bird species, 47 reptile species, 17 fish species, and 1,500 plant species. Five different Native American Tribes reside at the Grand Canyon including: Navajo, Hopi, Havasupai, Hualapai, and Paiute. Native Americans occupied the land for over 12,000 years.
The Grand Canyon has a unique landscape and certain areas range from desert at lower elevations to forest at higher elevations. The climate varies depending on location; the North Rim has cooler temperatures than the South Rim and
the Colorado River due to the North Rim's high elevation. The elevations range from over 9000 feet above sea level at
the North Rim to around 1000 feet above sea level near Lake Mead. The South Rim's elevations range from 3500 feet above sea level to 7000 feet above sea level. The North Rim in more prone to snow and rain. July is the Grand
Canyon's hottest month and it can reach average highs of 106 degrees Fahrenheit.
January is the Grand Canyon's coldest months and it can reach average lows of 16 degrees Fahrenheit. The park is home to a diverse ecosystem; the Grand Canyon has 5 out of the 7 life zones of North America and 3 out of the 4
types of deserts in North America. The life zones of the Grand Canyon include the Lower Sonoran, Upper Sonoran,
Transition, Canadian, and Hudsonian. The diversity of the life zones is like traveling from Mexico to Canada.
The Grand Canyon became a National Park in 1919. Over five million visitors a year visit the National Park. The
South Rim is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week year round.
It cost $25 per vehicle to enter the National Park and the admission price is valid for seven days.
There are many activities to do at the Grand Canyon. The activities that are available are outdoor activities that give visitors an opportunity to take advantage of the Grand Canyon's natural beauty. The outdoor activities at the Grand Canyon include white water rafting, air tours, going on the skywalk, and going camping that gives you the
complete outdoor experience.
Adventure seekers would love to go on a white water rafting journey through the Grand Canyon. White water rafting
trips along the Colorado River typically lasts 12 and a half hours. Visitors will be taken to the bottom of the canyon
by jeep to begin the rafting adventure. Stops throughout the day will be made so visitors get a chance to hike to see
underground springs, eat meals, and see other cool features of the canyon. After the trip visitors will be lifted by helicopter to get back to the top of the canyon. The typically cost of a day trip for white water rafting is around $500
Visitors also have the opportunity to view the canyon from a different perspective. Visitors have to opportunity to
take air tours from a helicopter. The helicopter makes it easy to maneuver around the canyon and you get to see
the geological features up close and many people do not get to experience the Grand Canyon from viewing it from
a helicopter. The air tours typically last from 25 to 50 minutes and the tours are priced from $160 to $210. The
demand for the helicopter tours increases in the summer months of June through September, it is recommended
that you book an air tour in advance to ensure you will get the tour.
The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a newer addition to the Grand Canyon National Park. The skywalk is owned by the Hualapai Indian tribe and it was open to the public on March 28, 2007. The skywalk is a platform that is shaped like
a horseshoe. The bottom of the platform is made out of glass and it extends 70 feet past the edge of the canyon.
The skywalk suspended over 4,700 feet above the ground giving visitors a view of the canyon and Colorado River
below. The maximum capacity is 120 people on the skywalk at a time; however it can hold up to 822 people that
weigh 200 pounds each without causing stress on the skywalk's structure. The skywalk weighs about 1.6 million pounds. The ticket prices for the skywalk range from $22.50 for children to $29.95 for adults.
Camping at the South Rim of the canyon is available to visitors. It is recommended that visitors should make reservations to go camping between the months of March through November. It costs $18 per campsite per night.
There can only be a maximum of two cars, 6 people, and 3 tents that are allowed at each campsite. Pets are
allowed that the campsite but the must be on a lease and they must be attended at all times. Fires are allowed
but they can only be started on the campsite grills. During the winter (December through February) there are no reservations that are available and camp sites are given out on a first come first serve basis. Campsites are
cheaper in the winter months and cost only $15 per campsite per night.
By Lauren Litteriello