Nearly 300 miles long, up to 18 miles across and a stomach-dropping 4000 vertical feet down, the 8th new wonder: the majestic Grand Canyon.
Gorge cut by the Colorado River, northwestern Arizona, U.S. Noted for its rock formations and coloration, it is about 0.1–18 mi (0.2–29 km) wide and extends from northern Arizona to Grand Wash Cliffs, near the Nevada border, a distance of about 277 mi (446 km). The deepest section, 56 mi (90 km) long, is within Grand Canyon National Park, which covers the river's length from Lake Powell to Lake Mead. The surrounding plateau is 5,000–9,000 ft (1,500–2,750 m) above sea level, and the canyon is in places more than a mile (1.8 km) deep.Grand Canyon travel, Arizona attractions, USA Tourist Attractions
The national park, now containing 1,904 sq mi (4,931 sq km), was created in 1919. The former Grand Canyon National Monument, established in 1932, was added, with other lands, in 1975. In 1979 the Grand Canyon was designated a World Heritage site.
Grand Canyon attractions
Gazing on its glory, President Theodore Roosevelt called the Grand Canyon "a natural wonder … absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world." He urged Americans to preserve what he described as the "wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon." More than a hundred years later, it's still easy to see why so many of the 5 million annual visitors call the Grand Canyon a wonder. The canyon stretches as far as the Grand Canyon travel eye can see and it also reaches back in time. Some 5 or 6 million years ago, the Colorado River raged through this land, carving out the massive canyon we see today, exposing even older layers of rock previously buried. Geologists say some are 2,000 million years old.
Native Americans were the first people to make these rocky walls their home about 12,000 years ago. Today the Hualapi and Havasupai Indians reside deep in the canyon, balancing age-old traditions with modernity. There are no roads to this village; mules carry the mail here. But at the same time, the tribes are engineering a gravity-defying skywalk that promises an unprecedented view over the canyon early next year. The bald eagle, another longtime resident of the Grand Canyon, and appropriately wild and majestic setting for this endangered American icon. At the bottom of the canyon winds the Colorado River, boasting some of the most intense big water rafting in the world. Carved into a corner of the Arizona plains, the great roaring river, towering rock formations and breathtaking vastness of the Grand Canyon serve as a monument to the bold and enduring spirit of America.Lake Titicaca
Although three million people come to see the GRAND CANYON OF THE COLORADO every year, it remains beyond the grasp of the human imagination. No photograph, no set of statistics, can prepare you for such vastness. At more than one mile deep, it's an inconceivable abyss; at between four and eighteen miles wide it's an endless expanse of bewildering shapes and colors, glaring desert brightness and impenetrable shadow, stark promontories and soaring, never-to-be-climbed sandstone pinnacles. Somehow it's so impassive, so remote you could never call it a disappointment, but at the same time many visitors are left feeling peculiarly flat. In a Grand Canyon tourism sense, none of the available activities can quite live up to that first stunning sight of the chasm. The overlooks along the rim all offer views that shift and change unceasingly from dawn to sunset; you can hike down into the depths on foot or by mule, hover above in a helicopter or raft through the whitewater rapids of the river itself; you can spend a night at Phantom Ranch on the canyon floor, or swim in the waterfalls of the idyllic Havasupai Reservation. And yet that distance always remains the Grand Canyon stands apart.
How was it formed? The truth is that no one knows for sure though there are some pretty good guesses. The chances are that a number of processes combined to create the views that you see in todays Grand Canyon. The most powerful force to have an impact on the Grand Canyon is erosion, primarily by water (and ice) and second by wind. Other forces that contributed to the Canyon's formation are the course of the Colorado River itself, vulcanism, continental drift and slight variations in the earths orbit which in turn causes variations in seasons and climate.
Until the 1920s, the average visitor would stay for two or three weeks. These days it's more like two or three hours of which forty minutes are spent actually looking at the canyon. The vast majority come to the South Rim it's much easier to get to, there are far more facilities (mainly at Grand Canyon Village), and it's open all year round. There is another lodge and campground at the North Rim, which by virtue of its isolation can be a lot more evocative, but at one thousand feet higher it is usually Grand Canyon travel closed by snow from mid-October until May. Few people visit both rims; to get from one to the other demands either a two-day hike down one side of the canyon and up the other, or a 215-mile drive by road.
Finally, there's a definite risk that on the day you come the Grand Canyon will be invisible beneath a layer of fog, thanks to the 250 tons of sulphurous emissions pumped out every day by the USA Tourist Attractions Navajo Generating Station, seventy miles upriver at Page.
Admission to the park, valid for seven days on either rim, is $20 per vehicle or $10 for pedestrians and cyclists.