For many travelers, visiting the Grand Canyon is an experience worthy of putting on a bucket list. According to VoaNews.com, about five million people visit the Grand Canyon National Park every year. It's one of the United State's national landmarks and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Many consider this breath-taking landmark to be one of the most beautiful places in the United States.
The Grand Canyon is located in Arizona and is, according to VoaNews.com, one of the largest canyons on Earth. It's thought to have been formed millions of years ago by the Colorado River, carved into the Earth by floating stones and dirt. The same website states that some of the exposed rocks along the walls of the Grand Canyon are almost 2 billion years old, some of the oldest rocks on Earth.
Its size grants the Grand Canyon unique climates, where the weather at the bottom and top of the canyon are very different from one another. It even allows some pretty rare weather phenomenon, like a "total cloud inversion", where it looks like a sea of clouds has rolled through the Grand Canyon. Such an event happened in 2017, according to LiveScience.com.
These pictures of the Grand Canyon at night and during the day are only a glimpse of this national treasure's beauty and charm.
25 Colorado River And Evans Butte
This stunning photo of the Grand Canyon at night was taken along the Colorado River. The Colorado River flows through the Grand Canyon, starting from the Rocky Mountains and ends at the Sea of Cortez according to AmericanRivers.org. It has been in debate for years by geologists, but according to LiveScience.com, the general consensus is that the Colorado River created the Grand Canyon, its waters carving out the canyon five to six million years ago. And in the distance of this photo is Evans Butte, a peak of the Grand Canyon with an elevation of over six thousand feet!
24 Grand Canyon Skywalk
There are some pretty great vantage points to get an amazing view of the Grand Canyon. And one of the best is thought to be the Skywalk at Eagle Point. According to GrandCanyonWest.com, the Skywalk is a "10-foot wide horseshoe-shaped glass bridge" that extends 70 feet from the rim of the canyon.
The glass platform allows visitors to see directly to the bottom of the Canyon, 4000 feet below.
This amazing structure was built in 2007 and is strong enough to hold the weight of seventy 747 passenger jets, so no need to anxious about walking on the glass.
23 Hualapai Ranch
The Hualapai Tribe is, according to Hualapai-nsn.gov, "a federally recognized" Native American Tribe in Arizona. Their name means "people of the tall pines" and they own the Grand Canyon Resort Corporation and operate it in their tribal capital, Peach Springs.
The Hualapai Ranch is one of the many attractions of the Grand Canyon that the Hualapai Tribe oversee.
The Ranch offers, according to GrandCanyonWest.com 44 cabins that face the rim of the Grand Canyon. It also offers many recreational activities including, lasso lessons, wagon rides, and horseback riding tours through the trails of the Grand Canyon.
22 Grand Canyon Wildlife
According to NPS.gov, there are at least 91 species of mammals that live in the Grand Canyon, among them include bats and Big Horn Sheep that, according to Arizona-Leisure.com, love the rocky terrain and canyon walls. There are also coyotes and more animals. There are 48 different species of reptiles and a number of insects and arachnids. But probably one of the most impressive facts about the Grand Canyon's wildlife is the number of birds that inhabit and visit it. There are about 447 known species of birds, which has made the Grand Canyon known as a "Globally Important Bird Area".
21 Imperial Point And The Milky Way Galaxy
One of the best ways to get a great view of the Grand Canyon is through its viewpoints. The highest of these viewpoints of the Grand Canyon's North Rim is Imperial Point. It is over 8,000 feet high and is linked to the Cape Royal highway.
It offers one of the best photographic panorama views of the canyon below and of the sky above.
This stunning time-lapsed picture of the Milky Way was taken at its peak. It's one of only 10 viewpoints of the North Rim that are easy to reach.
20 Sunrise At Mather Point
Mather Point is located on the South Rim, and is, at least according to AmericanSouthwest.com, "the number one choice" in viewpoints because of how close it is the entrance station and Canyon View Plaza visitor center. There are two railed overlooks at the top of the viewpoint that overlooks the Garden Creek, part of the Bright Angel Trail and the deep canyon of Pipe Creek. It is also considered to be a great place to view the sunrise, according to reviews from TripAdvisor.com but it's advised to get there early to secure a good spot.
19 Lightning Strikes
While Nature has many beautiful things to admire it has many things to be cautious over. Lightning is one of those forces of Nature that we all should be cautious of, and that is especially true for anyone visiting the Grand Canyon.
According to AZCentral.com, out of all the most visited national parks, the Grand Canyon gets the most lightning strikes.
Between 2008 and 2017, the Grand Canyon averages about 15,854 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes per year. Lightning strikes are more likely to occur on the rims, and most frequently hit the South Rim from July to mid-September.
18 Rafting In The Grand Canyon
The Colorado River runs right through the Grand Canyon and offers visitors a unique and adventurous experience for those who wish to ride the river's rapids. According to Oars.com, there are many different rafting adventures through their website, and through the Grand Canyon West website with the experienced Hualapai River Runners as guides. Not only is the Colorado River a great location for rafting, but it has been an important water source for the local indigenous groups like the Havasupai. Even today the indigenous groups along the Colorado River are active in the decisions about how the river is used.
While a trip to the Grand Canyon can be a great experience for most, there are some features that require a certain level of skill to experience. One of those is the Nankoweap trail, which according to TravelChannel.com is classified as the most dangerous of all the named trails in the Grand Canyon.
Located in the North Rim, it is 11 miles of waterless exposure with a trail only inches away from a drop that's hundreds of feet deep.
It's unmarked and is advised that only the physically fit and experienced in desert backcountry hiking should attempt to travel this trail.
16 Supai Village
There is only one town within the Grand Canyon, located according to Smithsonianmag.com, in a 3000-foot deep hole. It's called Supai Village and there are only three ways to get in and out of it, by animal, helicopter or by hiking. Not only is Supai unique for being the only town in the Grand Canyon, but it's the only place in the United States that gets their mail by a "mule train", which is a caravan of mules linked together that carry letters and packages. It's part of the Havasupai Reservation, with about 280 people calling the village home.
15 Telescopes At The Grand Canyon National Park
The view of the Grand Canyon in the day time is thought to be beautiful, but the night offers its own beauty. According to NPS.gov, the Grand Canyon offers "one of the best night sky observing sites in the United States".
Its clean air and dark skies offer a near-perfect view of the stars and cosmos, especially during the Summer.
There are even "Star Parties" for eight days in June along the South and North Rims of the Grand Canyon. These parties are thrown by the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association and the Saguaro Astronomy Club of Phoenix.
14 Camping At The Grand Canyon
Anyone that enjoys camping in the great outdoors just might find camping out in the Grand Canyon a wonderful experience. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is the most popular tourist destination spot, according to NPS.org and there are several established campgrounds. There are ones with a desert view, ones along Mather Point and even an all year RV campsite, according to GrandCanyon.com. Reservations fill up quickly though. There's also camping within the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, but the area is more "wild, secluded and harder to get to".
13 South Rim Of The Grand Canyon
Most pictures taken of the Grand Canyon are likely from the South Rim, according to CanyonTours.com. It is the most highly developed part of the Grand Canyon and the most visited Rim out of all of them. It has nearly two dozen viewpoints, with some of the most popular of those points being the Mohave, Hopi, Mather, and Pima. It is also the location of the "Grand Canyon Village" an area made up of several restaurants, hotels, and other visitors' services. It is considered to be the best destination for first-time visitors and families with small children.
12 Phantom Ranch
The Phantom Ranch is a historic lodging within the Grand Canyon. It's the only lodging below the rim of the Grand Canyon, according to GrandCanyonLodges.com. The designs of the cabins were commissioned to Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, who even gave the lodging its name, Phantom Ranch.
The rustic cabins made from wood and natural stone and blend in well with the Grand Canyon's natural settings.
Phantom Ranch is only accessible by hiking, rafting the Colorado River or by mule. It has a generally positive rating of 4.5 on TripAdvisor.com with the lodgings simple but well-tended accommodations charming many guests.
11 Grand Canyon Watch Tower
Also known as the Desert View Watchtower, this structure was also commissioned to Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, the "architect of the southwest", as described by NPS.gov. Modeled after the architecture of the ancestral Puebloan people of the Colorado Plateau, it was made to blend in with the surrounding rock canyon.
The Watchtower allows visitors a full 360-degree view of the Painted Desert and the Colorado River.
Along the walls of the Watchtower are murals done by the Native American Hopi Artist Fred Kabotie and guests can even meet and watch cultural demonstrators work from the Navajo and Hopi tribes.
10 Bright Angel Trails
According to JamesKaiser.com, the Bright Angel Trail of the Grand Canyon is the most popular trail on the South Rim. It starts near many of the popular hotels and is a 15.6-mile round-trip. While a bit challenging and steep, it is one of the most well-maintained trails of the Inner Canyon and offers several rest stops that include toilets and clean drinking water. According to 10Hikes.com it has a pretty high crowd level but offers some amazing sights including a hike along the Colorado River and a trip up to Devil's Corkscrew a series of switchback trails.
9 Havasupai Falls
This stunning nighttime photo was taken at Havasu Falls one of five waterfalls that make up the Havasupai Falls. It is a beautiful juxtaposition between the deep orange cliffs and the pristine blue water of this desert oasis. Visits to this and the other Havasupai falls are regulated by the Havasupai Tribe and there is a limited amount of people who are permitted to visit it at a time, according to TheCanyon.com. There are only three ways to get to these waterfalls, which include horseback, hiking or by helicopter. There are also guided tours offered.
8 South Rim (At Night) Grand Canyon
The South Rim has a number of fun and amazing experiences for visitors to the Grand Canyon in the daytime, but the party doesn't have to end once the sun goes down. During the Summer there are a few nighttime activities guests can enjoy on the Southside of the Grand Canyon. According to Moon.com, the McKee Amphitheater is open, where guests can enjoy lectures, films and special talks done by the park's rangers, all surrounded by beautiful pine trees. There's also a guided night tour of the Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetary, for those brave enough to walk it.
7 Horseshoe Bend
According to TripAdvisor.com, Horseshoe Bend is "the intimate Grand Canyon experience", though it's technically in Glen Canyon. Considered to be one of the Southwest's "small wonders", according to GrandCanyon.com, it is located at the beginning of the Grand Canyon National Park.
A 3/4 mile walk allows visitors to look over the edge and see into Horseshoe Bend where the Colorado River runs through it.
Horseshoe Bend is one of many small canyons that surround the Grand Canyon and can really make a person feel like they're visiting the actual Grand Canyon!
6 Plant Life At The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon at first glance might seem like a harsh desert landscape but within the canyon lies a plethora of plant life. According to NPS.gov, there are around 1,737 known species of vascular plants, 167 species of fungi, 64 of moss and 195 species of lichen. Dozens of these plant species are only found within the Grand Canyon. The canyon's high elevation from the river to its highest point is the cause of this diverse plant life, with the weather at the top of the canyon often differing from the weather at the bottom.
5 Hopi Point
This viewpoint is on the South Rim and is considered to be, at least according to NPS.org, one of the most popular viewpoints in the Grand Canyon. It's wide vistas make for a lovely view of sunrise or sunset, as seen in the picture above. And it is a stop on the Hermit Road Shuttle Bus service at the Grand Canyon Village. It has an amazing 5.0 average rating on TripAdvisor.com with many reviewers remarking that it makes for a must-not-miss photo opportunity. And we can see why!
4 Hoover Dam
Okay, so while technically it's not apart of the Grand Canyon, tours to the Hoover Dam are often included with tours of the Grand Canyon's West Rim. Its construction was essential to the development of the Southwest United States, where cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas wouldn't even exist, according to GrandCanyon.com. It was originally named "Boulder Dam" and was built to tame the waters of the Colorado River to create a man-made lake that would provide reliable sources of water for farmers and hydroelectric power for the growing cities of the West.
3 Grand Canyon Caverns
Most of the Grand Canyon's wonders are viewed from above or within the canyon itself. But this particular sight the Grand Canyon has to offer is below, about 220 feet below the surface. According to VisitArizona.com, the Grand Canyon Caverns are the largest dry caverns in the United States.
Visitors to the caverns can take an elevator down into the Chapel of Ages Cavern, where they can see rare crystals.
There's also a guided Explorers Trails, that lets visitors explore rarely seen areas. There's even an option to spend the night in a fully furnished suite 220 feet below the surface.
2 North Kabib Trail
Most of the trails in the Grand Canyon are located on the South Rim, which makes it the more visited location of all the Grand Canyon Rims. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is, according to NPS.gov the "road less traveled" and is only visited by ten percent of all Grand Canyon visitors. And a popular attraction on the North Rim is the North Kaibab Trail, the only maintained trail on this side of the Grand Canyon. According to JamesKaiser.com, the trail is strenuous but offers an amazing experience and a stunning range of sights including two beautiful waterfalls.
1 Hoover Dam (At Night)
The Hoover Dam doesn't only provide energy to many places in the Southwest, but it also makes for an impressive sight, especially with the way it's lit up at night. Construction for the Dam began in 1933 and, according to GrandCanyon.com, posed an interesting problem for those involved in its construction. The amount of concrete need to build the dam would have taken over 100 years to harden so new techniques were created to help solve this problem, including embedding thin steel coils through each section of the dam that pumped cold water from the Colorado River, hardening the concrete faster.
References: JamesKaiser.com, Moon.com, NPS.org, GrandCanyonWest.com, AmericanSouthWest.net, VOANews.com, GrandCanyonLodges.com, CanyonTours.com, TheCanyon.com, AZCentral.com, SmithsonianMag.com, Oars.com, GrandCanyon.org, TravelChannel.com