The Grand Canyon is remarkable. Enough said. However, there are a lot of things that the millions of tourists who visit this canyon forking through the northern Arizona plateaus may or may not know.
Presented here are 20 random facts about the Grand Canyon that every tourist should know about before they visit the National Park.
If you have ever wanted to learn more about the canyon, its remarkable beauty, the nature and wildlife that fill it, or anything else, then this is the list for you. From facts about the canyon itself to facts about the animals that call the canyon home, you may be surprised at what you learn about the Grand Canyon from this list.
Did you know that the ecosystem of the Grand Canyon is unlike any other place on Earth? You may think you learned everything about the Grand Canyon in school or in travel books, but this list of 20 items is sure to have at least a couple of items on it that will blow your mind about this beautiful and unique place in the world. So sit back and enjoy this list of 20 random facts everyone should know about the Grand Canyon!
20 12,000 Years Ago People First Set Foot In The Canyon
Did you know that people have been living in the Grand Canyon for over 12,000 years? That's right, about as long as people have been living in North America, they have lived in this majestic canyon. Notably, the Navajo, Hopi, and Havasupai Native American tribes have called the Grand Canyon home over the last twelve millennia. That is a long time for people to have been living in and around one place, especially considering that there is no discernible signs of a massive civilization, such as in Greece or Egypt. The harsh climate has not stopped people from living at this place, though, and the descendants of the tribes still play an active role in maintaining the canyon.
19 Indian Garden Campground Is One Of The Less Frequented Spots
Many people like to camp at the Grand Canyon, and there are a number of places to do just that. A lot of these camp sites are very popular and fill up quickly. Yet, if you are looking for a place to camp, you may want to consider the Indian Garden Campground. It is one of the less frequented camping locations at the Grand Canyon. It is actually one of the smallest sites to camp, and the site was built and is maintained by the Havasupai tribe. So, if you really are looking forward to camping at the Grand Canyon but you are worried that you will not get a good spot, take a look into the Indian Garden Campground.
18 If You Want To Camp At The Bottom Of The Canyon, Be Sure To Get Your Permit At The Ranger’s Station
Speaking of camping, many people want to be able to make the trek to the bottom of the canyon to camp. However, they need to make sure that they get their permit from the ranger station. These permits will allow you to set up camp at the bottom of the canyon, but they come in a "first come first served" basis, so you will want to make sure you get yours right away for the night(s) you plan to camp at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Camping is a bit of a pastime for people who visit the Grand Canyon, and camping at the bottom of the canyon really makes for a much more enjoyable experience.
17 Due To The Large Changes In Elevation There Can Be A Lot Of Difference In Weather
Weather is something that can make or break a vacation, especially a trip to a place like the Grand Canyon. However, there is something you should know about the weather at the Grand Canyon. The extreme altitude changes at the canyon, from the highs at the rim to the canyon floor, meaning that there are changes in temperature that can create micro climates and their own weather patterns. This is not something that is seen in very many places, and there can be pop up thunderstorms all along the canyon that lead to flash floods. Always be aware of the weather when you are at the Grand Canyon.
16 Dinosaur Fossils Are Not Found In The Canyon
It seems like there are dinosaur fossils just about everywhere you look. However, there are absolutely no dinosaur fossils at the Grand Canyon. Why not, you may ask? Well, it turns out that the Grand Canyon is older than dinosaurs, so the ground that the dinosaurs walked on included the Grand Canyon. If you are looking for fossils, you will certainly find leaves and other tracks, but just no dinosaurs. Do not despair. There is still plenty to see at the Grand Canyon, including the fossilized plants and some small animals. Just another example of how nature's wonders transcend time.
15 Even If Every Person In The World Were In The Canyon, It Wouldn’t Be Full
There are some seven billion people in the world, which is a lot of people. All of those people come in all different shapes and sizes, so one might reckon that they would take up a lot of space. However, if you gathered all of the people in the world together and put them in the Grand Canyon, you could not fill the canyon up with people. Even if you took all of the people that have ever lived, you still could not fill the Grand Canyon up with people. That just goes to show you how big the canyon really is.
14 Great Unconformity
If you are a geologist or someone who studies fossils, you may be attracted to the Grand Canyon. However, there is this weird demarcation in the strata of the canyon walls. This is known as Great Unconformity, and it kind of baffles scientists from all over the world. Basically, it is a line in the wall of the Grand Canyon that marks off places with familiar fossils from places with no fossils or only fossilized bacteria. Effectively, it marks a period between 1.2 billion years ago and a later, period about 550 million years ago. Fascinating if you study rocks, but really cool to look at even if you do not.
13 Supai, Arizona Is Located In The Canyon And Is The Most Remote Town In The Lower 48 States
The most remote town in the lower 48 states is called Supai, and it is located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The only way to get stuff there is by mule or helicopter, and the U.S. Postal Service still delivers mail by mule to the people that live here. There are no cars, never have been, and probably never will be. Oh, but Supai, Arizona is a very beautiful place that is characterized by an amazing waterfall and cliffs. If you get a chance to visit, the people that live here will be more than happy to share a story or two with you.
12 Air Crashes Are Common
One would think that in a giant canyon, like the Grand Canyon, people falling in and down would be the most common cause of people losing their lives. However, the most common way is from air crashes. That is, helicopters and airplanes, generally sightseeing tours that have gone awry. Sightseeing is a major business for the Grand Canyon, and as air tours have increased, so have the number of aircraft related fatalities. That should not deter you from going up in the air to truly appreciate all that the Grand Canyon offers in terms of the beauty and majesty, though.
11 The Age Of The Canyon Is Uncertain
Until about 2012, it was thought that the Grand Canyon was only about six million years old, which left a lot of things unexplained (like why there are no dinosaur fossils, as noted above). So in 2012, a new study was conducted to try and pinpoint the exact age of the canyon. The study showed that the Grand Canyon started to form from smaller canyons about 70 million years ago. That is a big difference. However, due to the nature of the canyon, it is difficult to know for sure how old it really is, and we may never know.
10 It Is Not The Deepest Canyon In The World
You may think that the Grand Canyon is the deepest canyon in the world, but you would be mistaken. If you are looking for the deepest canyon on planet Earth, that would be Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, which is actually two miles deeper than its U.S. counterpart. However, that should in no way diminish the greatness of this massive canyon in Arizona that was carved out over eons. The Grand Canyon of the United States is 6,093 feet or about 1.25 miles deep. If you think that a canyon of that depth is anything to scoff at, then maybe you should just not visit the Grand Canyon.
9 Fish Are Pretty Uncommon In The Canyon
Although it is possible to fish in the Colorado River that runs through the Grand Canyon, you will probably be better served exploring other pastimes at the canyon. The reasons for the lack of fish are pretty simple: there is a lot of silt and debris in the river at this point, and there are wild temperature swings in the canyon, all of which makes it difficult for fish to grow and thrive in the canyon. Yet, there are eight species of fish in the Grand Canyon, and six of those species are not found outside of the Colorado River.
8 The Canyon Is Bigger Than The State Of Rhode Island
Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the United States, but it is still a pretty big piece of land. However, the Grand Canyon is actually bigger than the state of Rhode Island. The canyon is 227 miles long and up to 18 miles wide, making the area of the Grand Canyon about 4,086 square miles. Rhode Island is 1,212 square miles, so technically, you could get about four states of Rhode Island into the Grand Canyon! Can you imagine something that big being slowly carved out by water and erosion over millions of years? That is the power of nature.
7 There Is An Abundance Of Caves
It is estimated that there are over 1,000 caves in the Grand Canyon, yet only about 350 caves have been thoroughly mapped and inventoried. That tells you just how little exploration of the entire canyon there has actually been over the years. These caves were carved out over time the same way that the canyon was created: via erosion by the forces of nature. Many of these caves have been accessed by tourists, even though the only cave that is allowed to be accessed is the "Cave of Domes" on Horseshoe Mesa. Still, it is pretty interesting to think that there are parts of the Grand Canyon that remain unexplored.
6 5.9 Million People Visit The Grand Canyon Each Year
The Grand Canyon is a stunning example of what nature is capable of when it comes to beauty, and people love to see the natural beauty of the world, especially at places like the Grand Canyon. In fact, nearly six million people visit the Grand Canyon each year, making it the second most visited U.S. National Park. People come from all over the world to Arizona to see the majesty of the Grand Canyon. Think about it, six million people drive or fly to one of the most remote places on the planet to see the Grand Canyon. That is a powerful draw.
5 Rock Squirrel
What would you say is the most dangerous animal in the Grand Canyon? Most people would probably think it is a snake or a mountain lion. Well, folks, the most dangerous animal in the Grand Canyon is the rock squirrel. Why? Well, this cute little cuddly creature leads to more bites than any other animal in the canyon. People like to feed cuddly creatures, and so they try to feed the "starving" rock squirrels throughout the canyon. Unfortunately, these animals may look tame, but they are quite wild, and wild animals tend to bite people. So, as cute as they are, the rock squirrels should not be fed.
4 It Would Be Very Hard To Visit Both The North And South Rims In The Same Day
The North and South rims of the Grand Canyon are only 10 or so miles apart "as the crow flies." Yet, if you wanted to visit them both in the same day, it would take you over five hours of just driving to get from one end to the other. You see, the road to get from one side to the other will take you along a route that is over 200 miles long and not in a straight line. But, why would you want to rush things to see both rims in the same day? If you are going to take a trip to the Grand Canyon, you are going to want to make the most of your trip.
3 Toroweep Overlook Is One Of The Most Private Overlooks In The Park
If you are looking for a stunning view of the Colorado River and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, then really you should consider Toroweep Overlook. Unfortunately, this 3,000 sheer cliff drop-off that overlooks the river is very difficult to get to. For starters, you are going to need to be able to navigate the roads to get to the Toroweep Overlook, which is much easier said than done. Even if you are able to navigate the roads, you are going to need a very high clearance vehicle, as this is definitely an off-road experience. But if you meet the criteria, you are going to join a select few who have experienced the Toroweep Overlook.
2 Teddy Roosevelt Was The Reason Why This Area Is So Protected
U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was the first person to set aside the Grand Canyon as something great. He first declared the area in and around the canyon to be the Grand Canyon Game Reserve, setting the Grand Canyon apart from the surrounding Arizona high desert. Later, the area was a declared a National Monument and finally a National Park. The U.S. National Park System has been copied by countries around the world, and it is places like the Grand Canyon National Park that set the U.S. system apart from other parks. Thanks to Teddy Roosevelt, we have the Grand Canyon that we all love and cherish today.
1 It Is Home To The Grand Canyon Pink Snake
The most common snake in the Grand Canyon is the pink snake. This particular snake has evolved over millions of years to blend in with the surrounding rocks of the canyon. A beautiful example of how nature works with itself, the Grand Canyon pink snake is not really something that you need to worry about, unless you are afraid of snakes. This particular snake is actually pretty neat to look at, with its pink color that is not something common among snakes in the United States. Still, if you do not like snakes, be on the lookout for the Grand Canyon pink snake, just in case.