Grand Canyon

Useful Information

Grand Canyon. Public Domain.
Grand Canyon. Public Domain.
Location: For South Rim follow Rt 66 or Interstate 40, then turn north at Arizona 64.
Open: South Rim: no restrictions.
North Rim: mid-MAY to mid-OCT daily.
Fee: Per Car USD 25, without car USD 12.
Valid for seven days.
Classification: GorgeGorge
Light: n/a
Guided tours:
Address: Grand Canyon National Park, P.O. Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023.
General Visitor Information: Tel: +1-928-638-7888
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1882 first unsuccessful attempt to establish a Grand Canyon National Park.
11-JAN-1908 became National Monument, established by President Theodore Roosevelt.
26-FEB-1919 designated a National Park.
1975 Grand Canyon National Park Enlargement Act.
26-OCT-1979 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Grand Canyon. Public Domain.


Grand Canyon. Public Domain.
Grand Canyon. Public Domain.

The Grand Canyon in Arizona is probably the most famous canyon of the world. With a length of 446 km and a depth of 1.83 km it is also one of the biggest canyons of the world. Most of the canyon is protected by the Grand Canyon National Park, one of the first national parks in the United States. It was supported by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The Grand Canyon is located in a huge plateau which is about 2,000 m asl, called Colorado Plateau. This plateau is composed of almost horizontal layers of sedimentary rocks. Sandstones, limestones, marls, and more were sedimented on top of precambrian rocks. This happened during an almost 300 million years long period of subsidence , which started 525Ma ago and ended 270Ma ago. The precambrian basement was covered by the sea sediments, between 700 m and 1,500 m thick. The sand and mud was solidified and turned into rock by diagenesis. Then the movement changed, the whole area was uplifted again. This process is rather young and has probably not stopped yet. National Park geologists say its late Cenozoic, which actually says it started sometime during the last 65Ma.

The reason why there is a canyon with colorful plateaus and gorges is simple: layers of colourful rocks with different hardness. And of course the arid climate, the rocks are visible because there is no vegetation. The river Colorado is fed by molten snow from the surrounding mountain ranges. But why is it a canyon, and not just another nice valley? Thats also a result of the arid climate, the Colorado river is actually the main source of erosion, the rims are not rounded by rains and tributaries.

We want to emphasize some less well known facts about the canyon. There are actually some tributaries, most of them form side canyons which are very impressive. Deer Creek forms a narrow gorge with fine erosional forms like dolly tubs. Havasu Creek or Havasupai is an interesting gorge with narrow parts. It is reached by 4WDs on a bad road, which ends at Hualapai Hilltop. From here a trail leads down into the canyon. One of the most impressive features are rimstone pools formed by the limestone rich water. The pools are fille with blue water, surrounded by red cliffs, a beautiful contrast. You may remember this place from the IMAX film Amazing Caves.