Grand Canyon National Park Posted by sasha on Oct 22, 2013 in Culture, English Language
Our series on American National Parks continues today with one of the most famous parks not only in the USA, but around the world.
Name: Grand Canyon
Year Established: February 26, 1919
Location: Northern Arizona
Season: The south rim is open all year round weather permitting. The north rim is open mid-May to mid-October.
Cost: $25 per private car (7 day pass), $12 per pedestrian or cyclist
Accommodation: The North Rim offers a campsite as well as the Grand Canyon Lodge, which has rooms and cabins available. The South Rim has 6 in-park lodges but because of their high prices many people prefer to stay in nearby Flagstaff or Tusayan, AZ. For the adventurous type there’s a lodge at the bottom of the canyon that is only reachable by foot, mule ride or rafting down the Colorado River. It has dorm rooms, cabins and a campsite but a back country permit is required for the campsite.
Brief Description: Located on the Colorado Plateau, the Grand Canyon is a steep canyon carved out by the Colorado River. It is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, 1 mile deep and is also one of the Wonders of the World. Around 5 million people visit the canyon every year. About 2 billion years of the earth’s geological history have been exposed by the river and its tributaries flowing through the canyon for the last 17 million years. Native Americans have inhabited the canyon for thousands of years, building settlements and residing in the caves. The Pueblo people thought of it as a holy site and made annual pilgrimages to it. It was first seen by Europeans in 1540.
Personal Experience: Most people visit the South Rim and just take a picture at the most popular overlook and leave. We wanted much more than that without the crowd, so we decided to camp at the North Rim campground. This area has a much lower volume of tourists and the campground has a trail to the lodge as well as other trails around the canyon. We had an intense drive to the campground because it was very dark and there were deer everywhere. There were even a few in the road so we had to drive very slowly to avoid hitting them with our rental car. We set up our campsite and got some rest for our big day of hiking ahead.
After breakfast the next morning we set out on the trail to the lodge stopping along the way to take pictures with the beautiful scenery. We walked all the way to Bright Angel point and then went into the lodge for lunch. The food there was delicious. They had a full hot bar with salad, soup and sandwich meats as well as a few different kinds of barbeque meats with potatoes. We also tried their Navajo Taco which had their own Elk chili. The beer they brew is also worth a try. After lunch we looked around the lodge and enjoyed the views before heading back to the campsite.
A storm was looming so we got in the car and drove to a few overlooks. The rain caught up with us at Roosevelt Point so we took a nap in the car. When the rain stopped we went on to Point Imperial which is the highest in elevation at either rim and then Walhalla Overlook which has views of the Unkar Delta, a farmland used by the Puebloans. There’s also a path that leads to the Walhalla Glades Pueblo ruins. After doing another short hike we headed back to the campground and spent the rest of the evening hanging out in the general store and sitting by our camp fire.
The next day we decided to hit the Kaibab trail. Stretching 14 miles, its one of two trails that goes down to the bottom of the canyon. The National Park Service doesn’t recommend going all the way down and back up in a day so we walked a few miles down, ate our lunch and headed back to the top. After a quick shower we were on our way again, this time to Zion National Park. Check back soon for the post about that and much more on America’s beautiful national parks.
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