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Grand Canyon National Park - OutdoorPlaces.Com

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 Grand Canyon National Park


South Rim View Of The Colorado River, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, United States, Copyright 1999, OutdoorPlaces.Com, All Rights Reserved Located just to the south of the, "National Park Region," of Utah, Grand Canyon National Park is a must see in one's lifetime encompassing 277 miles of the Colorado River.  Having a long history, Grand Canyon has been home to a number of Native American tribes. Hopi Indians brought Spanish explorers to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1540. By the 1800's, miners wandering south from Utah would come to the Grand Canyon's North Rim. At first the goal was to exploit the canyon for it's mineral wealth but it was determined that tourism was far more lucrative. In 1919 Grand Canyon, which in 1908 was declared a National Monument, was by an act of Congress declared Grand Canyon National Park.

Over 90% of the parks visitors only go to the South Rim and never go into the Canyon! The remaining 10% visit the North Rim and hike the outer and inner (also referred to as the corridor) trails. Although the distance between the North Rim and the South Rim in only ten raven's miles (a popular Grand Canyon expression for point to point distance description), it is a 215 mile drive from the North Rim Lodge to the South Rim Visitors Center through Marble Canyon.

FUN FACT:  Ravens are found everywhere within Grand Canyon National Park and are commonly seen on the South Rim. Ravens are incredibly intelligent and masters at mimicry. These large jet black birds have a distinctive, "Brrrraaaack," as a call but have been know to mimic horns, dogs barking, and even babies crying.


Grand Canyon's North Rim and South Rim are ecologically different and offer different opportunities. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is on average a thousand feet higher than the south rim, reaching up to 8,803 feet at it's highest point. This elevation change is critical because the South Rim stays open year round while the North Rim is closed from October to May when it is buried in snow.  The North Rim is mostly conifer forest with excellent views of the side canyons that go off to the east of the Grand Canyon. The South Rim is more of a semi-arid desert with noticeably warmer temperatures. If you visit the two you will immediately notice that the North Rim is under developed and vastly greener.

State politics during the early 1900's had a lot to do with the lack of development on the North Rim side as both Utah and Arizona fought for this strip of land. When driving to the North Rim, you will pass through the beautiful glades and ponderosas of the Kaibab National Forest, recently scarred in a May of 2000 wildfire.  As you approach the park you may find yourself doubting you are headed the right way as the area is so remote. Don't worry, it is 37 miles to the North Rim entrance, and seven more to the North Rim itself.

This is not the case with the sometimes crowded and heavily developed South Rim. Heading west from Marble Canyon you will pass a number of towns and small roadside flea markets run by local Native Americans. Coming north from Flagstaff, you will pass a number of small towns and reach Tusayan, just outside the south entrance to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Tusayan is home to the Grand Canyon Airport and a number of visitor services. Don't get us wrong, both of these drives are very scenic and offer excellent views of the surrounding area, but neither is as remote as the North Rim.

It would be impossible for us to list everything nuance of the Grand Canyon, there are a number of excellent books written on the topic and it is very hard for us to articulate all of this over the internet.