The incredible Grand Canyon by Ray Raposo

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Standing at edge of Mather Point
The Grand Canyon is like nothing you’ve ever seen.
One’s first impression is of witnessing a different planet. The canyon is carved by the Colorado River in the state of Arizona.
Ray by one of the great vistas in the Grand Canyon

The canyon is contained within and managed by Grand Canyon National Park, the Hualapai Tribal Nation, the Havasupai Tribe and the Navajo Nation. The Grand Canyon National Park is the United States’ 15th oldest national park and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Although first afforded Federal protection in 1893 as a Forest Reserve and later as a National Monument, it did not achieve National Park status until 1919, three years after the creation of the National Park Service.

Peg at Mohave Point Viewing Area
Today Grand Canyon National Park receives close to five million visitors each year – a far cry from the annual visitation of just 44,173 which the park received in 1919. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and attains a depth of over a mile. Nearly two billion years of Earth’s geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. The results are this magnificent place.
The Grand Canyon makes you feel like you could fly 
The South Rim of the canyon is open all year round weather permitting.
Casual The North Rim is normally open mid-May to mid-October. Casual sightseeing from the South Rim is the most popular with visiting tourists, averaging 7,000 feet above sea level. Besides just photography, rafting, hiking, running, and helicopter tours are the other popular forms of visitor entertainment.
Bright Angel Trailhead, one of the many areas of the Grand Canyon

Viewpoints include Mather Point, Yavapai Observation Station and architect Mary Colter’s Lookout Studio and her Desert View Watchtower. Lipan Point, with wide views of the canyon and Colorado River, is a popular, especially at sunrise and sunset.

There are several areas where you can stand right next to the canyon rim

Weather in the Grand Canyon varies according to elevation. The forested rims are high enough to receive winter snowfall, but along the Colorado River in the Inner Gorge, temperatures are similar to those found in Tucson and other low elevation desert locations in Arizona.

 

Looking closely you can see the Colorado River weaving itself around the canyon.
The Grand Canyon area has some of the cleanest air in the United States.

Although usually very clear, at times, the air quality can be considerably affected by events such as forest fires and dust storms in the Southwest. Luckily the air quality was fine as was the weather during our visit.

Peg by the Visitor Information Center

We were fortunate during our visit, we stayed inside the park itself at one of the several hotels and cabins available to visitors. Some of closest to the rim are: The Yavari Lodge, a simple cabin style offers East and West accommodations. El Tovar Hotel, also inside the park, offers more elegant charm and surroundings with a log lodge feel. Bright Angel Lodge & Cabins offer a more contemporary feel.

The exhibit theater information area

There is a railway inside the canyon as well as mule rides down the steep trails of the canyon to reach the bottom and the other side. If you’re brave you might want to try it!

The historic Kolb Studio, Bookstore and Gift Shop

There are also free buses you can ride from one viewing area of the canyon to another.

The Hermit Road information signage, one of the many along the rim

Regardless of the length of your visit to the Grand Canyon, whether you stay right in the park, spend a couple days or visit for just a day, you will leave with a sense of wonder. Most definitely a dream vacation location to enjoy, right here in the USA.

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