The Grand Canyon is splendid! It is not simply a canyon but it more like a whole maze of canyons, fissures and ravine worn into the rock with extraordinary buttes, mesas and rock spires erected between them. The visible multicolored sedimentary layers displays varying hues as the angle of the sun and the shadow keep changing all through the day. It is an original great natural wonders of the world.
The Grand Canyon is nearly 200 miles in length and almost 10 to 15 miles in width. Its deep parts along the Colorado River channel stretched over one vertical mile (1.6 km) under the plateau at its rims.
The rock layers were generated at the bottom of a vast sea several years ago when sedimentary deposits amassed to a thickness of almost a mile. Later, a friction of tectonic plates occurred in the entire region within thousands of feet to create the great Colorado plateau that now covers 7000 to 9000 feet (2100 to 2750 meters) area above sea level. The Colorado River gradually crafted a basin to drain away water from this region and over the millennia it was worn out through the numerous sedimentary layers. Ultimately the river eroded this mile-deep channel that has been named the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon National Park is situated in northern Arizona almost 75 miles (125 km) in the north of Flagstaff Arizona. The South Rim Visitor's Center can be approached by an hour-and-half-hour drive from Flagstaff or also by a five-hour drive from Las Vegas. The North Rim Visitor's Center is basically 15 km away from the South Rim Visitor's Center "as the crow flies" but it require driving of 200 miles (320 km) to get from one to the other end.
The South Rim Visitor Center is one of the famous destinations for visitors. It manifests the best views, has the most amenities and is the most easily accessible. The North Rim Visitor Center has less view spots, has fewer facilities, is somewhat tough to access and closes from late October to mid May. Many backpackers and hikers love to visit the North Rim because of its isolation and lack of tourist rush. The West Rim is in fact the western end of the canyon situated on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. It is not as that deep and is a not as spectacular, but is preferred by many Las Vegas tour operators, as it is just a three-hour drive away from the Vegas Strip.
Commercial airline services are available between Las Vegas, Flagstaff or Phoenix and the Grand Canyon airport is located some miles in the south of the South Rim Visitor Center. Airplane trips and Helicopter Trips of the canyon department from this small airfield are available. The Grand Canyon Railroad plies steam engine excursion trains between Williams Arizona and the South Rim Visitor's Center.
Majority of people view the Grand Canyon from the South Rim Trail. A portion of it is near to automobile traffic from May to October, but free shuttle busses carry tourists to all the vantage points. The east to Desert View road is generally open and provides several scenic overlooks into the canyon. The airplane travel and helicopter tours starting from the airport near Tusayan are yet another awesome ways to admire the grand scale of the canyon. For an exclusive experience, you can get a mule ride down into the canyon. Half day, and overnight facilities are available, but don’t forget to book your reservations several months in advance.
There are myriads of trails down into the canyon for genuine hikers and backpackers, but you must acquire camping permits from the park rangers prior to attempting overnight hikes.
One of the ideal ways to explore and witness the Grand Canyon, is to hike down into it. Bright Angel Trail departing from Grand Canyon Village is the most famous trail. The route is a well maintained and has supplies of drinking water at many points. Most adventurous tourists hike only a small distance down this trail, as the climbing back to the rim is very tiresome compared to the trip down. Indian Gardens on the Tonto Plateau is almost 4 miles (6 km) and about 1,500 vertical feet (500 meters) underneath the rim. This makes a great day hike, but don’t forget to carry sufficient fresh water and some instant snack food. The temperature down in the canyon is generally much warmer compared to the rim. Phantom Ranch, at the foot of the canyon is 12 miles (20 km) and 5,000 feet (1,650 m) below the rim and is basically attempted as a two-day hike counting an overnight stay at the Phantom Ranch Campground. There are several trails down into the canyon for professional hikers and backpackers, but you must get camping permits from the park rangers before attempting overnight hikes.
The little village of Tusayan is almost 6 miles south of the Grand Canyon Village and a mile away from the entrance of the park. It has several private hotels, a few restaurants, a grocery shops, some convenience shops, souvenir shops, some bars, gas stations, along with an IMAX theater and a small airport. It is basically simpler to access accommodations at the private hotels in Tusayan, as they do not generally reserve in advance as the park properties.
For more information on Grand Canyon National Park.