The Grand Canyon is Arizona’s greatest tourist destination. With countless outdoor activities and a fascinating history, it attracts over five million visitors every year, and offers an activity for everyone.
The Grand Canyon National Park covers 1,904 square miles, and has a rich history that includes a number of Native American tribes, pioneers and the Civilian Conservation Corps.
The United States acquired the Grand Canyon region in 1848 in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and the region quickly started booming because of the logging, mining and ranching opportunities the land provided.
The area developed as roads and railroads were constructed to move goods through and around the canyon. Entrepreneurs built up businesses around the area, and tourists flocked to the area see Arizona’s natural wonder.
Today there are numerous ways for visitors to experience the Grand Canyon.
Suspended 4,000 feet over the Grand Canyon, the Skywalk provides an opportunity for visitors to view the Colorado River and look at the Grand Canyon while standing on a viewing deck with a glass bottom. The viewing deck stretches 70 feet over the canyon’s rim and lets visitors feel as though they are walking the sky.
The Grand Canyon features unique trails that provide hikers with access to the inner canyon. For those wanting a quick glimpse of the Grand Canyon, there are five South Rim trails or 13 North Rim trails that will take the visitor into the canyon and back out in the same day.
Avid hikers can journey into the inner canyon and stay overnight with permit permission. Approximately 40,000 people camp overnight in the Grand Canyon each year.
Guided tours are available to visitors via bus, jeep and air. More adventurous guided tours include mule, bicycle and rafting tours.
River trips provide another way to experience the canyon. There are several different river trips that allow visitors to whitewater raft through the Colorado River. Trips range from one day to 25 days, with the longer trips requiring permits.
Hermit Road, which runs along the South Rim, is the most popular scenic route for tourists. There are nine scenic viewpoints along the road, and the route is accessible to vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians.
The Shrine of the Ages was originally built for religious services for all faiths. Today the building is used to host informational sessions about wildlife, history and the canyon, private functions such as weddings and special events like concerts and demonstrations.
Built in 1905 and most recently renovated in 2005, El Tovar Hotel is the leading lodging choice at the Grand Canyon. The hotel is a registered National Historic Landmark and has hosted famous people such as Theodore Roosevelt and Albert Einstein.
Come back in July; we’ll have more “Places to See” then!