as one of "the world's 7 natural
wonders" the Grand Canyon is visited
by over 5 million tourists every year.
Stunning to first-time visitors in its physical size, scope and depth, the Grand Canyon was carved out by the roaring Colorado River down below over a six million year period, say geologists.
Today, the 277-mile long Grand Canyon rightly remains one of the most popular "photo op" sights on the planet and is visited annually by over 5 million tourists from the US and around the world.
Spanning two Southwest states (with parts of the canyon spilling into Utah)
most of the Grand Canyon is located within the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
For most visitors, the most popular option for getting in is either driving or flying into major nearby hubs like Phoenix, Flagstaff, or nearby Las Vegas in Nevada to easily reach this most impressive of natural wonders.
visitors are urged to take advantage of the National Park Service information center to learn about important safety information.
Also don't miss an overview of the canyon's flora and fauna - ranging from cliff-dwelling bighorn sheep who graze the upper
canyon to slow moving Gila monsters who take up residence at the bottom.
Among the best known sights on the popular south rim is Desert View Watchtower, which still affords one of the best views
of the canyon. Another recently built scenic overlook is the Grand Canyon Skywalk which opened in 2007 on the Haulapai Indian Reservation, and almost immediately caused controversy - not only for its disruption of the natural beauty of the canyon, but its very steep admission fees. For a throwback to the past, also don't
miss the Buckey O'Neil Cabin, built by a 19th century copper miner, that survives today as a Grand Canyon historic landmark.
Hiking the Grand Canyon
to explore the canyon down to the bottom is irresistible to many first-time visitors. However, it's best to fight the urge if you
don't have strong experience in hiking, or haven't yet come to the realization that getting back UP the canyon is the
With temperatures frequently soaring into the 100's during the day, trekking the dry and arid canyon makes a copious supply of water you can take with you an absolute essential.
Bright Angel Creek Trail is the main trail used by visitors (some on mules) who brave the hike down to the bottom. The popular trail receives regular maintenance and patrols by park rangers, as well as offering water at two points along the way.
More about the Grand Canyon around the Web:
Grand Canyon - The official site maintained by the National Park Service with photos, podcasts, virtual tours, information on lodging and campgrounds, river trips and hiking, overviews of Grand Canyon flora and fauna, educational and kid-friendly resources.
Grand Canyon travel guide - Wikitravel - A complete geological history and stunning photos, including facts & information on hiking, camping, rafting and other activities,
travel safety tips, related references and resources.
Grand Canyon Skywalk - The official site with entrance fees,
schedule, park-and-ride and shuttle information, current weather, photo gallery.