Grand Canyon National Park

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Grand Canyon National Park is one of the United States' oldest national parks and is located in Arizona. Within the park lies the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, considered to be one of Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The park covers 1,902 mi2 (4927 km2) of unincorporated area in Coconino County and Mohave County.

Most visitors to the park come to the South Rim, arriving on Arizona State Route 64. The Highway enters the park through the South Entrance, near Tusayan, Arizona, and heads eastward, leaving the park through the East Entrance.

The rest of the Grand Canyon is extremely rugged and remote, although many places are accessible by pack trail and backcountry roads.


Grand Canyon National Park became a national park in 1919. So famous is this landmark to modern Americans that it seems surprising that it took more than thirty years for it to become a national park. President Theodore Roosevelt visited the rim in 1903 and exclaimed: "The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison--beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world .... Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is to keep it for your children, your children's children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see."

Despite Roosevelt's enthusiasm and his strong interest in preserving land for public use, the Grand Canyon was not immediately designated as a national park. The first bill to create Grand Canyon National Park had been introduced in 1882 and again in 1883 and 1886 by Senator Benjamin Harrison. As President, Harrison established the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve in 1893. Theodore Roosevelt created the Grand Canyon Game Preserve by proclamation in 1906 and Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908. Senate bills to establish a national park were introduced and defeated in 1910 and 1911; the Grand Canyon National Park Act was finally signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. The National Park Service, which had been established in 1916, assumed administration of the park.

The creation of the park was an early success of the environmental conservation movement; its National Park status may have helped thwart proposals to dam the Colorado River within its boundaries. (Lack of this fame may have enabled Glen Canyon Dam to be built upriver, flooding Glen Canyon and creating Lake Powell.) In 1975, the former Marble Canyon National Monument, which followed the Colorado River northeast from the Grand Canyon to Lee's Ferry, was made part of Grand Canyon National Park. In 1979, UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage Site.

The Grand Canyon itself, including its extensive system of tributary canyons, is valued for the combination of large size, depth, and the exposed layering of colorful rocks dating back to Precambrian times. It was created through the incision of the Colorado River and its tributaries after the Colorado Plateau was uplifted and the Colorado River system developed along its present path.

South Rim

The South Rim is easier to visit than the North Rim.

Services - The Grand Canyon Village is located at the north end of U.S. 180, coming from Flagstaff. This is a full-service community, which includes lodging, fuel, food, souvenir, a hospital, churches and access to trails and guided walks and talks.

Lodging is available along the south rim at two locations. Campgrounds with tables and fireplaces are located in the village and at Desert View. Hotel-Motels include: El Tovar Hotel is located in the village and the Grand Canyon Lodge is located next to the campground.

Things to do vary from passive activities to strenuous physical activities. For individual with limitations (be it physical or time), there is the South Rim Drive (35 metres (0.035 km)). It is split into two segments. The West Rim is 8 metres (0.0080 km) to Hermits' Rest There are several overlooks along the way, including Mohave Point and Hopi Point, as well as the Powell Memorial. The East Rim is 25 metres (0.025 km) out to Desert View. During the busy summer season, private vehicles are restricted along much of this route and a free shuttle gives everyone a chance to watch the scenery.Grand Canyon National Park.

For individuals interested in a leisurely stroll along the canyon rim, there is the Rim Trail, which follows the canyon for 4 metres (0.0040 km) from the Yavapai Museum east to Maricopa Point. The Canyon Rim Nature Trail is only 1.5 metres (0.0015 km) and leads from the El Tovar Hotel to the Park Visitor center.

For a closer look at the canyon and a more strenuous activity,

Grand Canyon Association

The Grand Canyon Association (GCA) is the National Park Service's official non-profit partner raising private funds to benefit Grand Canyon National Park. It operates retail shops and visitor centers within the park, and provides educational opportunities about the natural and cultural history of the region. It was founded by naturalist Edwin D. McKee in February 1932 as the Grand Canyon Natural History Association.

In October 1994, the association's board of directors approved changing the name of the association from Grand Canyon Natural History Association to Grand Canyon Association, in part to emphasize an expanding list of services, books, and products focusing on cultural history, thus not always fitting the bill of "natural history."

In 2010, Grand Canyon National Park was honored with its own coin under the America the Beautiful Quarters program.


GCA publishes 3 to 5 books on average annually. Topics of their books include original research on the Grand Canyon, scientific monographs, American Indian history, and guidebooks.

In association with Grand Canyon National Park, GCA copublishes the park's newspaper, The Guide, with translations in many languages, including Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, French, German, Korean, and Italian.

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Grand Canyon National Park