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Grand Canyon National Park

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The Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful and largest natural wonders worldwide, which was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1979. Explore the deep valleys and their massive rock formations up close, book a guided tour or decide for one of the exclusive tours online in advance.
Miriam DewamBy Miriam Dewam
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Tours

Explore the Grand Canyon National Park with a tour.
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Las Vegas: Grand Canyon West and Hoover Dam Tour with Meals
4.8starstarstarstarstar(1222)
 
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Las Vegas: Grand Canyon West Tour, Lunch & Optional Skywalk
4.5starstarstarstarstar half(1274)
 
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Las Vegas: Grand Canyon West Bus Tour with Hoover Dam Stop
4.6starstarstarstarstar half(1534)
 
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Las Vegas: Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Lunch & Skywalk Options
4.6starstarstarstarstar half(2621)
 
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Tours & Specials

Do you want to experience the Grand Canyon from a different perspective? Book one of the exclusive tours.
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Las Vegas: Grand Canyon West and Hoover Dam Tour with Meals
4.8starstarstarstarstar(1222)
 
getyourguide.com
Go to offer
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Las Vegas: Grand Canyon West Tour, Lunch & Optional Skywalk
4.5starstarstarstarstar half(1274)
 
getyourguide.com
Go to offer
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Las Vegas: Grand Canyon West Bus Tour with Hoover Dam Stop
4.6starstarstarstarstar half(1534)
 
getyourguide.com
Go to offer
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Las Vegas: Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Lunch & Skywalk Options
4.6starstarstarstarstar half(2621)
 
getyourguide.com
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See all Tours & Specials

5 tips for visiting the Grand Canyon National Park

On the way to Grand Canyon National Park | Photo: Unsplash, Megan Barber - CC-BY-SA 2.0
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Start earlyThe earlier you start, the more pleasant the expected temperatures will be, in the Grand Canyon it can quickly reach up to 50 degrees (122 °F) in summer! Of course, there is also the possibility to travel by water or on a mule.
The Grand Canyon | Photo: Unsplash, Omer Nezih Gerek - CC-BY-SA 2.0
2
Pack plenty of waterWith such high temperatures, it's easy to sweat a lot and that's why good hydration is unavoidable. Therefore, take at least 3 liters (1 gallon) of water per person with you, and it's best to also have a water filter with you in case you run out of water.
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Book a tourLearn more about the Grand Canyon on a guided tour and enjoy the spectacular views! Most day tours include visiting the Hoover Dam, viewing points Eagle and Guano as well as the Guano Point Path. There is often the option to walk along the impressive Skywalk, which hangs 1,200m (3,937ft) above the Grand Canyon, offering an unforgettable view of the west rim of the gorge.
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Backpacking Tour with Overnight Stay: Permit Required!If you plan a backpacking tour on your own with overnight stays in the Canyon, you should timely apply for the necessary permit. However, you can only apply for it no sooner than 4 months before the start of your trip; also, the number of permits is limited.
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Get the National Park AppWith the free National Park Service Mobile App, you can both plan your trip and use it as a travel guide. To be able to use the app without restrictions, it is recommended to download the maps and related information beforehand so that you can also access them offline.
View of the Grand Canyon | Photo: Unsplash, David Izquierdo - CC-BY-SA 2.0

Grand Canyon National Park: A Wonder of Nature

The enormous canyon in the northern part of the U.S. state of Arizona, which is even visible from space, is over 450km (280 miles) long, up to 29km (18 miles) wide, and up to 1.8km (1.1 mile) deep. The Grand Canyon is so long that it would take six days to travel from one end to the other! The Colorado River has carved a deep chasm into the rock of the Colorado Plateau over millions of years. This overwhelming natural spectacle is thus one of the seven greatest natural wonders of the world.

The Lifeline of the Canyon

The Colorado River stretches through the Glen Canyon, Marble Canyon, and the Grand Canyon, with its source in the Rocky Mountains. The river breathes life into the Grand Canyon - only through it can flora and fauna arise and survive in temperatures up to 50 degrees (122 °F) in the summer. However, nature is threatened by the man-made dam. Essential driftwood and rocks for birds and insects are thus withheld. Conservationists have long called for responsible management of the resources that the river has to offer.

A Glimpse into the Past

About 50 million years ago, the Colorado Plateau was still a flat desert made of sandstone, which was only raised about 6 million years ago by rain, erosion, extreme winters, and the Colorado River. Over time, the river carved through the rock, creating a massive system of canyons with terraced slopes. The rock layers in the Grand Canyon are up to 2 billion years old. The canyon is divided into three main sections: the Inner Canyon, Middle Canyon, and Outer Canyon.
The Canyon | Photo: Unsplash, Vu Bui - CC-BY-SA 2.0

The Discovery of the Canyon

As early as 1540, Spanish conquistadors were at the edge of the canyon searching for gold, but were unsuccessful as they found no way down. It was not until the American geologist John Wesley Paul penetrated the canyon in 1869 with wooden boats. This once uncharted territory was thus first explored and mapped. However, archaeological artifacts suggest that humans lived in the canyon as far back as 12,000 years ago, and the canyon remains a sacred place for 11 Native American tribes today.
Peaks of the canyon | Photo: Unsplash, Michael Kirsh - CC-BY-SA 2.0

The Popularity of the Canyon

The once daunting chasm, seen as insurmountable, lifeless, and undesirable, in short a place nobody would plan to visit, is now considered one of the Top Attractions in the USA. With the introduction of the railway in 1901, which led directly to Grand Canyon Village, the number of tourists began to rise. Famous artists, writers, and filmmakers also made the trip. President Woodrow Wilson declared the Grand Canyon a national park in February 1919, making it the 17th National Park in the USA. In the first year, just 37,000 people visited the national park, whereas today the park counts 5 million visitors per year.

Biodiversity in the Canyon

The Grand Canyon is not only a natural wonder but also an important habitat for many plant and animal species. Here, different ecosystems merge, ranging from desert basins to coniferous and deciduous trees, creating a semi-arid area with large temperature differences. In the canyon, there are over 2,000 different plant species, including many rare and endangered species, but also cacti, shrubs, and grasses. On the rim of the canyon, one can find deer, elk, coyotes, and foxes. The canyon itself is home to numerous bird species, including eagles, hawks, and vultures. Among the extraordinary animals of the Grand Canyon are the gray wolf, mountain lion, condor, and the bald eagle.

Plays of Colors

One of the deepest gorges in the world also impresses with its color; the 1800m (5900ft) tall cliff walls give the Grand Canyon an impressive feature: The rock layers are colored red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. These colors arise due to the different minerals contained in the rock layers. The oldest rock layers, made up of sandstone, shale, and limestone, are found in the Inner Canyon and are about 2 billion years old. In contrast, the Outer Canyon consists of younger rock layers with sandstone, mudstone, and shale, which are about 200 million years old.

Highlights

Most visitors go to South Rim, which is easier to access than the North Rim. At South Rim, there are a number of viewpoints. Additionally, there are numerous hiking trails in the National Park that lead to attractions. These include the Mather Point (viewpoint South Rim), Yavapai Point (view of the canyon), Desert View Watchtower (Grand Canyon and landscape), as well as the Grand Canyon Village (place with restaurants, accommodations, and shops).

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Grand Canyon accessible for people with disabilities?

The viewpoints Mather Point, Yavapai Point, and Desert View Watchtower are accessible for people with disabilities. Please check in advance whether hiking trails are also accessible. Read more.

Are there food options at the Canyon?

There are restaurants, cafes, and snack stands both at the South Rim and North Rim. Furthermore, in the Grand Canyon Village there are also accommodations and shops. Read more.

Is an audio guide available?

With the National Park Service Mobile App, one can experience self-guided audio tours. Read more.

Are dogs allowed to be taken to the Canyon?

Below the Canyon rim (on trails inside the Canyon), on shuttle busses, as well as in park accommodations, dogs are generally not allowed, except in some accommodations in pet-friendly rooms of the Yavapai Lodge. Only for certified assistance dogs an exception is made. Read more.

Is it permitted to take photos and videos of the Grand Canyon?

For personal use, photos and videos can be taken without flash, tripod, and selfie stick. Read more.

General information

opening hours

The South Rim is open daily around the clock, offering camping, lodging, and dining options. The shuttle buses operate within the Grand Canyon Village of the South Rim. The North Rim is accessible from May 15 to October 15. Please note that hotels, especially during the summer months, should be booked in advance.

address

Grand Canyon National Park
P.O. Box 129
Grand Canyon
AZ 86023

tickets

Admission to the Grand Canyon National Park is valid for 7 days and includes both the South Rim and the North Rim. Tickets cost $35 for private vehicles, $30 for motorcycles, and $20 per person for visitors without private transportation. Please note that the park's entry stations do not accept cash, but only credit/debit card payments are possible. On January 16, April 22, August 4, September 23, and November 11, the Grand Canyon can be visited free of charge.

how to get there

The Grand Canyon National Park is most easily accessible by car from Flagstaff via the U.S. 180 (South Rim) or the U.S. 89 to Arizona and 64 (East Entrance). A special train of the Grand Canyon Railway operates between Williams and the South Rim. The Arizona Shuttlebus also connects the cities of Phoenix, Sedona, and Williams with Flagstaff, from where a shuttle bus to Grand Canyon Village can be taken for an additional fee.
Miriam Dewam
Written byMiriam DewamMiriam is keen on traveling and has a passion for photography, which she can enhance through her cross-media studies. She uses her knowledge as well as first hand experience from diverse travels to help other travellers as a content creator at TicketLens.
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