The Grand Canyon National Park, a World Heritage Site, encompasses over a million acres of land on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern Arizona and contains over 277 miles of the Colorado River. The park was made a National Monument in 1908 and became a National Park in 1919. Over 5 million people from all over the world come to the park each year to take in the spectacular beauty and unparalleled splendor that the Grand Canyon has to offer.
Most visitors see the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the most accessible area of the park, which is open all year. Fewer visitors see the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which is 10 miles directly across the Canyon from the South Rim. The North Rim is a thousand feet higher than the South Rim, and much less accessible. Temperatures in the summer range from highs in the 80’s to lows in the 50’s (Fahrenheit). During the winter you can expect highs in the 40’s and lows in the teens. The Rim receives anywhere from 50-100 inches of snow per year.
A wide variety of geological features such as fossil records, rock types, rock formations and caves containing extensive geological, paleontological, archeological and biological resources make the Grand Canyon one of the most studied geological landscapes in the world. The Canyon contains a brilliant record of three of the four eras of geological time. Considered one of most spectacular examples of arid-land erosion, the Canyon is immense, averaging 4,000 feet deep and up to 15 miles wide.
The Park contains five of the seven life zones and three of the four desert types seen North American. The life zones that can be found within the Park are the Lower Sonoran, Upper Sonoran, Transition, Canadian and Hudsonian. One can see as many life zones in the Grand Canyon alone, as they would if traveling from Mexico to Canada.
The park is populated by five Indian tribes, the Hopi, Navajo, Havasupai, Paiute and Hualapai. It is home to over 1,500 plants, 88 species of mammals, 56 species of reptiles and amphibians and 17 species of fish. It is also inhabited by over 355 species of birds, including the Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon and the California condor.
For additional information, please visit the National Park Service page at http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm.