Are you planning to go on a small road trip? How about visiting the Grand Canyon? There is so much to see at this beautiful place. All you need to do is to pack your bags and go on this trip. But before you set out, read this article to know more about the place and make your trip all the more meaningful.
Have you heard about the Colorado River? If yes, then you will have no problem recognizing the Grand Canyon. Located in the northern part of Arizona in the United States of America, Grand Canyon is a steep canyon that is carved by the Colorado River. It is up to 446 km long and 29 km wide. It is quite steep as it is has a depth of 6,093 feet. One of the most famous river valleys in the USA, this Canyon is known for its size and colorful landscape. It helps us to understand the geologic history of the North- American Continent. At the north-eastern part lies Page city. It is here Grand Canyon originates from the Powell lake. The western part of the Canyon is the place where the Colorado River falls into Lake Mead near the border of Arizona and Nevada. The Grand Canyon can be divided into northern and southern rims. The rims are the national park villages that are present in the Grand Canyon. Almost all of the Grand Canyon lies under the National Park and is looked after by the officials.
How was the Grand Canyon Formed?
It is not a single event that resulted in the formation of the Grand Canyon. It took millions of years to form this Canyon. According to several pieces of research, it can be seen that there was no evidence of Grand Canyon about 35 million years ago. In the beginning, only the Colorado River was flowing over a vast stretch of land. But it has to change its route as the Kaibab Plateau was beginning to form, and the river could pass through the plateau. The Colorado River was split into two halves. While the right side flowed towards the south-eastern direction, the left side maintained its course and acted as the drainage system of the entire plateau.
The right side of the river met the Gulf of Mexico, whereas the left side served as the drainage system for mostly the western part of the plateau. Approximately 12 million years ago, there was some blockage on the eastern side of the river, and that led to the formation of lake Bidahochi. Ultimately, nature took its course, and the western part of the Kaibab plateau started eroding. Erosion broke down all the hard rocks quickly through headwater erosion. Due to this process, the base of the plateau was tremendously weakened over time. In the end, the base was completely eroded, and the water of river Colorado started flowing in its normal direction. Due to this, the water of River Colorado resumed a course that was similar due to its original course. As a result, Lake Bidahochi lost a lot of water, and river Colorado started following through a gorge. It can be attributed to terrestrial conditions.
The gorge is still present through which the river flows. Ultimately, all the sections of the river joined and made the river deeper. This led to the formation of the Grand Canyon. Apart from this, several other factors such as continental drift, volcano eruptions, and variations of orbits of the Earth, had formed this amazing wonder of the Earth.
Grand Canyon Airport
The Grand Canyon National Park Airport is owned by the state and is for use for everyone. It is situated around 7 miles away from Grand Canyon. Apart from commercial use, you can use it to catch charter flights and tours. Located above 6609 ft above the sea level, the airport covers 859 acres of land. It is situated in Tusayan and is 2 miles away from the Grand Canyon National Park. The current airport was ready for use in the year 1965 in place of the old airport. This airport has only one runway. This airport is different from many of the commercial airports. It has completed the ARFF maintenance building and has received an award for being a Sustainable building. You can also see that the airport has a crash and rescue service available during the operating hours of the tower.
Grand Canyon directions
The Grand Canyon is divided into two rims- the North Rim and the South Rim. First, let’s look at how to travel to the south Rim.
Directions for southern Rim
It is located on the Arizona part of the Grand Canyon. Since this Rim is open throughout the year, it receives visitors 90% more than the other Rim. The best part about this Rim is that it is easily accessible. The rail and airport are readily available to the south Rim. You will be able to reach the southern Rim within 90 minutes in case you are traveling from the transportation centers. There are two transportation centers available near the southern Rim – Flagstaff, and Williams in Arizona. You can also use the larger airport at Phoenix to travel to the south Rim of the Grand Canyon.
All the commercial airlines that you can find that ply to this Rim are Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Flagstaff. However, air service is limited to the Grand Canyon Airport. You can avail bus service from Greyhound to Flagstaff in Arizona. Arizona Shuttle is often used by visitors to travel between Grand Canyon and Flagstaff, as well as between Flagstaff and Phoenix. The common routes to South Rim are:
- From North Rim: In case you are traveling from Northern Rim of Grand Canyon, you have to take highway number 67 to the north of Jacob Lake. From there, you have to take Highway number 89 alt that leads toward Marble Canyon. The next step is to take highway number 89, which can be found at Bitter Springs. The road will lead to Cameron in Arizona. The final step is to take Highway number 64, which will lead to the eastern gate of the Grand Canyon Park.
- From Flagstaff, Arizona: You can select one out of any three routes to reach South Rim. The first route is to take I-40, which lies west to Williams. From there, you need to take Highway 64 to reach your destination. The second route is to take highway 180 to Valle and from there to choose Highway 64. The third and final route that you can opt for is taking Highway 89, which lies north to Cameron. From there, you can take highway 64.
- From Phoenix: You have to take I-17, which lies north to Flagstaff, Arizona. The next step is to take I-40, which lies west to Williams. From there, you can drive down highway number 64 to reach your destination.
- From Las Vegas: You first have to take highway number 93 that leads to the south of Kingman in Arizona. From there, you have to take I-40 towards the east of Williams in Arizona. The final step is to drive down highway number 64 towards your destination.
- From Salt Lake City: You have to I-15 to drive down south of Cedar City. From there, you need to take highway 14 in order to reach east of highway number 89. Continue driving on this highway to reach Page city of Arizona. From highway 89, drive towards Cameron. The last step is taking highway 64 to reach south Rim.
Directions for North Rim
Let’s talk about north Rim of Grand Canyon. It is harder to get to the Northern Rim of the park. However, it is not open throughout the year. You can only visit during a short span of time. You have to go to the Utah area of the Grand Canyon. Located 30 miles down the South region Jacob Lake is the entrance station. You need to keep in mind that there is no rail service or airport service available in case you want to travel to northern Rim. You can only visit this part of Grand Canyon by road. The common routes to reach North Rim are:
- From South Rim: You need to take highway number 64 towards the East of Cameron. After reaching Cameron, you have to take highway number 89 in order to reach Bitter Springs. Take Highway number 89 alt towards the west of Jacob Lake. The final step is to drive down highway 67 to reach your destination.
- From Flagstaff: You have to take highway number 89 towards the north of Bitter Springs. From there, head down west towards Jacobs lake on highway number 89 alt. The last step is to take highway 67 in order to travel south to reach the north rim.
- From Phoenix: You have to take I-17 towards the north of Flagstaff. From there, you have to take I-40 towards the east towards highway 89. This will lead to Bitter Springs. Remember to take Highway 89 alt from there in order to reach Jacobs Lake. The final step is to take Highway 67 to reach south of North Rim.
- From Las Vegas: You have to drive towards north on I-15 for at least 128 miles. Continue doing so till you reach St. George. From there, travel east on Rt9 for around 9 miles. Afterward, choose Rt59 and drive east for around 32 miles. Make sure to look out for the highway change in order to take Rt 389. Drive on it to reach 89a and make sure to reach the junction of Rt 67. The last step is to drive for 43 miles o it to reach your destination.
What is the closest city to Grand Canyon?
Are you planning to stay at a nearby city before you move forward on your trip to Grand Canyon? There are primarily two main cities that you can set up your base camp in – Las Vegas and Phoenix. You can even decide to take rest at Flagstaff, which lies only 1.5 hours away from Grand Canyon. There are several other small towns near Grand Canyon, such as Marble Canyon, Meadview, Sedona, Peach Springs
Where is the best view of Grand Canyon?
There are a lot of viewpoints on Grand Canyon from where you can enjoy the scenic beauty. While some are famous for sunrises, others are a little less crowded. Some of them are:
- Mather Point: One of the most popular viewpoints of South Rim, Mather Point, is just a few minutes away from the Visitor Centre. You can get an amazing view of the Grand Canyon from this place. Make sure to be careful of your belongings as it is usually very crowded.
- Yaki Point: You have to take a shuttle in order to reach this viewpoint. In case the south Kaibab trail fascinates you, you can take a good look at it from this viewpoint. You can enjoy a fantastic view of the east of Grand Canyon from the Yaki point.
- Hopi Viewpoint: In case you are fascinated by sunrise and sunset, you have to visit this viewpoint. You can visit the Hopi Viewpoint in order to enjoy a spectacular view. Moreover, you will find Powell Viewpoint nearby.
- The Abyss: As you visit this viewpoint, you will get to look at Grand Canyon from a different perspective. This is because unlike other viewpoints, this one is far away from Colorado River. In case you visit this viewpoint, you will get to look at the Grand Canyon from Peninsular view.
- Desert Viewpoint: In case you are traveling with your family, this is one of the best viewpoints to visit. Not only is it huge, but there are several restrooms and parking lots. You can even buy gifts from the local gift shop that is present near this viewpoint. You have to climb up at least 85 steps in order to enjoy the 360-degree view.
Now that you have all the knowledge about Grand Canyon, what are you waiting for? There are so many things to see at Grand Canyon. Stop thinking and start working on your journey.