Updated Feb 24, 2020
Everyone knows that the Grand Canyon is one of the biggest naturally-occurring geological phenomena to ever grace the planet, but if you’re planning on visiting the canyon yourself, a little bit of extra information on the canyon can come in handy. Knowing your Grand Canyon facts can significantly enhance your enjoyment of the canyon by providing a frame of reference for the sheer scale of everything the canyon has to offer. Speaking of scale…
1.) It’s Bigger than you Think
The Grand Canyon is just that – it’s grand, and it’s a canyon – but the precise measurements of the canyon are incredible. You’re likely most concerned with the width and depth of the canyon, but one incredible fact is that the canyon is over 270 miles long. As of this moment, that might just sound like a massive, abstract number, the statistical equivalent of “big”, but once we start looking at some smaller numbers, things come into focus. At its widest, the canyon is only 18 miles wide, a tiny distance compared to the 270 mile-long length of the canyon until you realize that the island of Manhattan could fit into that 18-mile space. The canyon is a mile deep at most points, enough to stack three empire state buildings end-to-end. That 270-mile length is starting to seem a little more impressive now!
2.) The Canyon is Home to Many Different Species
You’re probably aware that there are many plants and animals roaming the Grand Canyon National Park, but again, the numbers are astounding in their own way. 355 distinct species of bird call the canyon home as well at 89 different types of mammals and 56 amphibian and reptile species.
3.) People Have Lived Near the Canyon for Over 11,000 Years
We know that the canyon was formed over billions and billions of years, but the early civilizations that first inhabited the canyon and the surrounding area revered the canyon. Humans with a centuries-old tradition of nature preservation came to the canyon over 11,000 years ago, and even to this day, the area has many, many permanent residents.
4.) Geographically, the Grand Canyon is Incredible
The canyon was cut out of the Earth by the Colorado River, giving it the title of Chief Architect of the Grand Canyon, and while the surface of the canyon walls may appear red, there’s much more than meets the eye. Upon closer inspection, you’ll likely notice that each layer of rock has a different color to match its age, and the rock that lines the canyon floor is over 2 billion years old.
5.) There are Many Ways to Experience the Canyon
First-time visitors to the Grand Canyon are often surprised by the vast amount of options they have, so come prepared to choose your own adventure. From hiking to rafting to biking and more, the Grand Canyon is full of incredible experiences for the whole family, ranging from educational to down-to-Earth. Visit the South Rim for an activity-packed tourism experience or make the extra drive to the North Rim for seclusion, nature, and some of the finest Grand Canyon lodging available.
If you want to learn more about the Grand Canyon, from it’s unknown history to it’s amazing beauty, check out our Grand Canyon facts!
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