Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona,is one of the United States' oldest national parks. Within the park lies the Grand Canyon,considered to be one o

Grand Canyon

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Grand Canyon travel guide, including map of the USA, top Grand Canyon experiences, tips for the Grand Canyon, when to trek the Grand Canyon and Grand Canyon adv

The Grand Canyon is possibly the world’s most gorgeous gorge. Plunging more than a mile down into the sun-baked Arizona desert, the Grand Canyon has been carved out by the Colorado River for the past six million years – and that carving continues today, with the 445km waterway still nibbling away at all that wonderful red-orange-pink rock.

The scale of the Grand Canyon is vast, and difficult to comprehend. The Grand Canyon National Park protects 1.2 million acres of gorge, riverbed, side valleys, rim forests and more. You would need decades to do the park justice.

Few have that long to spend, but do allow as much time as you can to explore the varied terrain of the Grand Canyon area.

Most head first to the South Rim; this is the most touristy part of the Grand Canyon National Park, and people flock to easily accessible Grand Canyon Village for classic views and to head off on mule treks down to the canyon floor.

North Rim is far less visited. The entrance station is practically visible from Grand Canyon Village, but it’s a 350km drive around the chasm to get there. The landscape here is quite different too, with crisper air (North Rim is at a higher altitude) and impressive forest.

There are various ways of experiencing the Grand Canyon – though the USA is a nation of car-lovers, there’s so much more to the national park than simply driving up to a lookout point to take a quick photo.

To really get to grips with the enormity of the Grand Canyon, hop in a raft for a wild float down the Colorado River, hike out on a backcountry trail away from the crowds, strap on cross-country skis for an off-season adventure or look out for condors with an eagle-eyed park ranger – if you do you’ll discover an even Grander Canyon.

Further Reading

Grand Canyon Top 5

  1. Take a scenic airplane or helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon to best appreciate its scale, which can be difficult to comprehend from a rim-side lookout. Flights from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon will give good views as well as getting you from A to B (saving a long drive).
  2. Trek the South Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch to get away from the crowds. It's a fairly strenuous 11.5km hike but offers amazing canyon panoramas. Remember to take plenty of water with you.
  3. Explore Havasu Canyon, a side gorge filled with waterfalls and American Indian culture. Located about four hour's drive from Phoenix, Havasu is far less visited then the main Grand, and offers a much more intimate experience. Walk though gorges to 60m-high Mooney Falls and keep an eye out for hawks circling above.
  4. Head to North Rim – less busy than South Rim, and dotted with ponderosa forest and meadows. The temperatures tend to be cooler here, and the car parks emptier. Cross-country skiing is an option in winter.
  5. Extend your trip – the Four Corners area, where Colorado, Arizona, Utah and Nevada meet, boasts some the USA’s most dramatic scenery so don't come just for the Grand Canyon and leave again. Add on Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and Arches National Park for starters – all offer weird rocks and great outdoor adventure.

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