THE GRAND CANYON
Nearly 6 million years ago, the Colorado River carved a 446 kilometre long, 29 kilometres wide and 1.6-kilometre deep steep-sided Canyon in Arizona, United States of America. It became known as the Grand Canyon. It is one of the seven wonders of the world and one of the most accessible of them all. It is located in the North West of the state of Arizona near the border of Nevada and Utah. It lies within the Grand Canyon National Park (opened in 1919) and is managed by the National Park Service.
Its vastness, silence, beauty and history attracts five million visitors every year. Some rocks within the Grand Canyon have been dated to nearly two billion years ago (nearly half the age of the earth). Hundreds of archaeological sites have been discovered within the canyon and show the ancient Indian culture. It is rich in wildlife which attracts more people. The beauty of the cascading waterfalls along the Colorado River supplemented by the hundreds of flora species makes this wonder a must visit.
The Grand Canyon divides the Grand Canyon National Park into the North Rim and the South Rim. The South Rim is open throughout the year and receives most of the visitors (90%). Among the facilities in the South Rim is the Grand Canyon Village. Some of the facilities close during winter. There is a free shuttle bus system connecting parking lots, visitors centre, campgrounds and the lodges. The North Rim is open from 15th May to 15th November every year. It has restaurants, shops and lodging facilities.
Charges to the Grand Canyon include a $30 vehicle permit, a $25 motorcycle permit and a $15 individual permit. The permits can be obtained from the South Rim Entrance Station, the Desert View Entrance Station and the North Rim Entrance station. The free days left for 2017 include 30th September (National Public Lands Day) and 11th to 12th November (Veteran’s Day).
Whether for sightseeing, camping, hiking or family outing, doing it within one of the seven wonders of the world is an irresistible idea. There is also the Grand Canyon Music Festival in the South Rim in September and the Native American Heritage Day in August in the North Rim. The Grand Canyon National Park also has handicapped friendly and accessible bathrooms, parking lots and guest rooms. The Grand Canyon is definitely a priority in any traveller’s list.