Grand Canyon National Park lies on the Colorado plateau in north-western Arizona and is almost 1.25 million acres in size. The Park was list as a world heritage site in 1979 and is best known for its geological significance and attracts research scientist from all over the world.
The Grand Canyon was created by the Colorado River. The 277 mile long canyon is an average of 4,000 feet deep and is one of the greatest examples of arid land erosion in the world. The Grand Canyon reveals an amazing geological record of the past 2 billion years of the earth’s geological history. Featured in the layers of the canyon’s walls are a diverse fossil record and large display of geological features. Expect to also find many caves throughout the park which contains extensive and significant remains for research in biological, paleontological and archaeological fields.Credit: www.sxc.hu: StudioTO
The park contains several ecosystems; these ecosystems include five life zones and three desert types, so you can expect to see a wide range of spectacular wildlife. In the park, the boreal forest and desert riparian communities are protected.
The park includes a semiarid environment and contains the raised plateaus and sculptured rock formations found throughout the US Southwest. The park contains not only the typical desert flora such cacti and scrubby vegetation, but also contains coniferous forests at the higher elevations.
Not only is the geography of the park so amazing it is also a home for a significant amount of amazing wildlife. This makes the park a must visit for all nature lovers!
Wildlife at the Grand Canyon National Park
Credit: www.sxc.hu: criscris1The park is home to more than 1,500 plant, 355 bird, 89 mammal, 47 reptile, 9 amphibian and 17 fish species. Several of these plant and animals species can only be found at the park. Along the Colorado River a total of 34 mammal species can be found, these include 15 different species of rodents and 8 different species of bats. Mountains lions (Puma concolor, also called pumas or cougars) roam the mountain and are the region’s only remaining large predator. The mountain lion is a very reserved creature, so little is known about its behaviour, range and habitats. Unfortunately the once native river otters and muskrat may have disappeared from the park. However since the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam the population of beavers have increased along with their range. You can also spot Antelope squirrels and pocket mice as they are very common to the area. Bats can often be observed along the riverbank as they feed on insects which roam around near the water.
The other animals that call the Grand Canyon home are spotted skunks, ringtails and coyotes. If you love bird watching you might get to see of the many riparian predators feeding on the small reptiles, rodents and invertebrates. Gray foxes, bobcats, weasels and racoons can be more difficult to find. However you may be able to spot mule deer and desert bighorn sheep as they frequently visit the river corridor. In the early 1980’s 500 feral burros had been removed and since then the number of bighorn sheep have increased.
Best time to visit
The South rim is available to visit all year round while the north rim is only open during mid May to mid October. If you are planning to take a trip to the Grand Canyon the best time to visit is from April to October.
To enter the Grand Canyon for non-commercial vehicles it costs US$25
For individuals (by foot, bicycle or motorcycle) it costs US$12 to enter the park
Children under 15 can enter the park for free
You can purchase an annual pass for US$50
Camping for each individual can cost US$12 to $18
Camping for a group cost between US$30 to $50
You can find accommodation around the Grand Canyon, prices range from US$52 to 322, depending on the type and location of your accommodation.
At the Grand Canyon National Park you can find restaurants, shops, coin-operated laundry, pet kennels and post office to make your holiday a little more comfortable. You can also find a free shuttle bus service, mule and raft rentals.
Top Grand Canyon Tours
You can’t plan your holiday at the Grand Canyon National Park without doing some of the amazing tours. Here few Grand Canyon yours you have to try.
Canyon River Adventure
Take a tour of the Grand Canyon to Lake Powell and visit the Antelope Canyon. You will also experience fun rafting through Glen Canyon into the Grand Canyon. A van will then pick you up and take you to the Marble Canyon past the Marble Canyon Bridge.
Grand Kingdom Helicopter Tours
This is one of the most absolutely amazing and unique experience you will ever have. Imagine getting a bird’s eye view of the Grand Canyon. Enjoy amazing scenery of the Little Colorado River, Point imperial and the North Rim. Don’t forget to take your camera!!!
The Inner Canyon Jeep Tour
Stay on the ground and tour inside the Grand Canyon. Explore all the hidden parts of the canyon and learn about the desert plants and the amazing rock formations. Explore Diamond Creek Road which takes you deep down into the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon Railway Tour
The scenic railway tour starts in Williams, Arizona and takes you all the way to the north side of the Grand Canyon. Adventure through the pristine boreal forests and majestic mountain lands with your choice of 5 different class seats. This is definitely an experience you cannot miss.
White Water Rafting
If you prefer excitement and adrenaline rushing try white water rafting. You will go through 9 sets of rapids while marvelling at the towering canyon walls. You can also take a helicopter ride back to the rim. If you haven’t tried white water rafting then you have to try it at the Grand Canyon.