Considered by many one of the most beautiful natural attractions in the world, the Grand Canyon National Park is visited by nearly 6 million visitors each year. We think you should add it to your bucketlist seeing as the view is breathtaking and unbelievable, but if you're still not convinced here are the Top 10 Fun Facts About the Grand Canyon!
1) This beautiful natural attraction was the product of millions of years of corrosion by the Colorado River.
This river, which has ran through the Grand Canyon for longer than anyone can pinpoint, has been eating at these rocks for millions of years. Up until recently it was believed that the carving started 6 million years ago, however in a recent (2012) study professionals found that this carving may have actually started around 70 million years ago!
2) The Grand Canyon is absolutely enormous, stretching over 446 kilometres in length (roughly 277 miles).
It is absolutely impossible to visit all the view points in one day, as the South and North Rim stand at about a 5 hour drive from each other (6-7 hours by bus). Besides those two view points you can also check out the East and West View points. The Grand Canyon reaches a width of 29 kilometres across (18 miles) at one point, and is about 1800 meters (or 6000 feet) deep.
3) The Grand Canyon is the home to rocks that date back to 2 billion years ago!
At the very bottom of the Canyon Schist can be found, and this is about 2 billion years old. Near the upper rim limestone which dates back to 230 million years ago can also be found. Due to the diverse amount of different rocks that can be found here, it is a very important location for geologists to do research and is therefore preserved very carefully.
4) Officially, the Canyon only became a national park in 1919.
It was actually the 17th United States’ national park to be established. The first expedition down the Grand Canyon was led by John Wesley Powell in 1869. This expedition gave it the name Grand Canyon. Before this expedition, people referred to it as the Great Canyon or even the Big Canyon.
5) The park receives over 5.9 million visitors a year!
This number is especially astounding seeing as the Grand Canyon is not the deepest, longest, or even widest of its kind in the world. Besides sightseeing many of these tourists come to the canyon for hiking or rafting, which are also very popular here. Camping in the Canyon overnight, however, requires a special permit from the Backcountry Office seeing as doing so can prove to be very dangerous if not done correctly.
6) The weather at the Grand Canyon drastically changes depending on where you are, on the exact same day. Thus, the Canyon itself determines its own weather.
That’s right! Depending on the altitude and different geographical factors temperatures and weather conditions can vary greatly depending on where you are in the canyon, at the same exact minute. For example, the Bright Angel Ranger Station located on the North Rim is one of the coldest and wettest locations. However, just 15 kilometres (8 miles) away, the Phantom Ranch tends to be the Canyon’s driest and hottest locations.
7) People actually live in the Grand Canyon, in a small village called Supai Village.
The Supai Village can be found within the Havasupai Indian Reservation and is the home to the only human population in the area (excluding tourists). The small village is the home to just 208 people, and is not accessible by road. Some consider it the most isolated and remote community in the country's lower 48 states. Even funner fact: it is actually the only place where a pack mule still delivers the mail.
8) Watch out for the squirrels, as they were considered the most dangerous animal in the park!
It is commonly known the the Grand Canyon is the home to a wide array of wildlife. Here you can find animals like the California Condors and Bighorn Sheep. However, it is the Rock Squirrels that cause the most commotion year long. This is because of their cute appearance, and therefore tourists tend to try to feed these animals which get very close to humans. However when close enough these animals will attack if they feel threatened, their bites hurt, and they can carry diseases. Thus, it is best to stay away from any animals you encounter whilst at the park, and it is best not to feed them.
9) It is possible to get a view of the park from above without actually taking flight!
On the West Rim of the Grand Canyon you’ll be able to find the famous Skywalk, a horseshoe shaped steel and glass bridge that hands off about 70 feet from the rim. However, it is also a possibility to do helicopter tours of the national park. If you have a smaller budget or are too afraid to fly, the Skywalk is your best option!
10) Last but not least: the American Federal Aviation Administration (or FAA for short) actually came to be after a plane crash that occurred at the Grand Canyon.
In the 50s it was very common for commercial passenger flights to take detours over the Canyon for the passengers to get incredible views of the park from above. However on the 30th of June of 1956 two airplanes decided to do this at the same time which resulted in a tragic crash over the Canyon. These planes were flying from LA to Chicago, and were a United Airlines DC-7 and a TWA Constellation, which had both asked for authorisation to detour over the park. The crash resulted in no survivals and therefore brought about the FAA.
We hope you enjoyed this article! If you are going to visit the park soon check out our route of the South Rim (Mather Point) here and let us know if you know of any other fun facts in the comments below!