Grand Canyon (visit 1989), located in the northwest corner of Arizona, USA, is one of the greatest natural wonders in the world and must be seen to be believed.
Grand Canyon, consists of three areas: the South Rim, wich includes Grand Canyon Village, the North Rim, and the canyon gorge itself.
The canyon measures 445 km long, 20 km across and 2 km deep. These facts cannot convey the canyon’s vastness. Nor can words do justice to the sweep of color and light, the absolute stillness and silence of the depths.
Despite commercial exploitation, the Grand Canyon is still untamed; every year several careless hikers take what locals refer to as “the 12-second tour”. Remember to observe all saftey precautions and rules of commeon sense.
In the summer, everything and everyone, on two legs or four wheels, gather around the South Rim. This side draws 10 times more visitors than the higher and more heavily forested North Rim.
The instant you step back from the canyon’s edge you enter a world of overpriced curio shops, expensive lodges and never-ending tour buses. If you plan to visit during this time be sure to make reservations for lodging, campsites and mules if you want them well in advance – and be prepared to battle crowds. During the winter there are fewer tourists, but the weather is brisk and many of the hotels and facilities in the area, are closed.
If you want a more solitary Grand Canyon experience, consider the North Rim. The 20 km that separate the rims are a two-day adventure for sturdy hikers. The around 220 km of road are a good five hour drive for those who would rather explore it from above. The North Rim is open from mid May to mid October and is not served by public transportation.
Here the canyon is a bit wilder, a bit cooler, and much more serene. The view is just as inspiring as that from the South Rim.
The Colorado River, that trickles along the canyon floor, has created looming walls of limestone, sandstone, and shale over millions of years.
Don’t just peer over the edge – hike down into the canyon and observe the region’s wildlife. The area is home to mountain lions, eagles, deer and falcons.
Most importantly, exploring the canyon will give you a true sense of the immensity and beauty of this natural phenomenon. Sixteen established trails enter the Canyon, but only the Bright Angel Trail, South Kaibab Trail and North Kaibab Trail are regularly maintained. Hiking the inner canyon is physically challenging and requires careful planning. Pick up the Grand Canyon Guide, available at the entrance gate and at the visitor center, and read the list of hiking saftey tips. To avoid heat exhaustion, the second greatest threat after slipping, you must drink lots of water. Remember that hiking up is much harder and takes twice as long as hiking down. The Bright Angel Trail to Indian Gardens and Platteau Point, where you can look down 400 m to the Calorado River, make an excellent daytrip.
For unforgettable sunsets; show up 45 minutes beforehand at Hopi Point and watch the earth-tones and pastels melt into darkness. The only sound that brakes the silence is the many cameras clicking…