Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona Overview
Vast, magnificent and inarguably beautiful, the Grand Canyon is easily Arizona’s most distinguishable landmark and a natural wonder that you simply have to see to believe. Stretching 277 miles from end to end, steep, rocky walls descend more than a mile to the canyon’s floor, where the wild Colorado River traces a swift course southwest.
Grand Canyon National Park encompasses canyons, river tributaries, and surrounding grounds. The Grand Canyon is situated in Arizona’s northwestern quadrant. With millions of visitors making the trip to the canyon each year, this park is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. In addition, the park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
The Grand Canyon had a long and arduous road to becoming a national park, beginning in the 1880s with several failed congressional bills. After making multiple visits to the area, Theodore Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon a National Monument in 1908. The bill to grant national park status to the area was passed in 1919 and signed by then-President Woodrow Wilson.
There are two public areas of Grand Canyon National Park, the North and South Rims. At 7,000 feet above sea level, the Grand Canyon South Rim is the most accessible section of the national park, with numerous places where visitors can pull over to admire the views. It is is the most visited rim and accessible year round and there are plenty of accommodation / lodging offerings both within the park and the surrounding towns.
The Grand Canyon North Rim, 1,000 feet higher than its southern sibling, isn’t as popular because it is harder to get to, especially when harsh winter weather closes access roads. If you prefer remoteness then a visit to Grand Canyon’s North Rim is well worth forfeiting over the South Rim. You can stay at the historic Grand Canyon Lodge & Cabins, but be sure to plan about a year ahead if this is a must-see of your holiday itinerary.