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Grand Canyon National Park

P.O. Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

Phone
Visitor Information
(928) 638-7888

WELCOME to the Grand Canyon!

A powerful and inspiring landscape, the Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size; 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep.

Plan Your Visit

Nearly five million people see the 1 mile deep Grand Canyon each year. Most of them see it from their car at overlooks along the South Rim (this includes Grand Canyon Village, Hermits Rest, and Desert View). The South Rim is the most accessible part of the park and is open all year.

A much smaller number of people see the Canyon from the North Rim, which lies just 10 miles (as the condor flies) directly across the Canyon from the South Rim. The North Rim rises a thousand feet higher than the South Rim, and is much less accessible. 

Heavy snows close the road to the North Rim from late October to mid May of each year. Even in good weather it's harder to get to. It is 220 miles by car from the South Rim, or 21 miles by foot across the Canyon by way of the North and South Kaibab Trails.

The Inner Canyon includes everything below the rim and is seen mainly by hikers, mule riders, or river runners. There are many opportunities here for adventurous and hardy persons who want to backpack, ride a mule to Phantom Ranch, or take a river trip through the Canyon on the Colorado River (which can take anywhere from a few days to three weeks - there are no one-day river trips through Grand Canyon).

How Do People Get Across the Canyon?

If you are hiking across the canyon, the South Kaibab Trail crosses the Colorado River on a narrow foot bridge 70 feet above the water. It is a 21 mile hike to go "Rim To Rim," with a vertical descent - followed by a climb - of 1 mile/ 1.6 km. That makes this an overnight hiking trip for 99.5% of hikers.

There is only one way to cross by automobile, and that is 137 miles from the South Rim Village (at Marble Canyon, AZ) via the Navajo Bridge, a few miles downstream from Lees Ferry, where the Canyon is only 400 feet wide.
There is no longer an airstrip on the North Rim of the park. That means that the North Rim village may only be reached by driving all the way around - or by hiking across the canyon.

Things To Do

The South Rim and Desert View (Open All Year)

Visit the Scenic Hermit Road
This narrow road winds 7 miles past numerous overlooks to Hermits Rest. It may be closed during inclement weather. Watch for hikers and bicyclists along the road.

Visit the Scenic Desert View Drive
Tour in your private vehicle or by commercial bus tour. 25 miles one-way. Views of the river at Moran, Lipan and Desert View Points. Visit the Watchtower historic landmark. You may exit the park to the east. (Highways 64 to 89)

Visit an Information Center or Museum
The South Rim offers a variety of museums and information centers that house exhibits and provide park information.

Hiking
To walk part of the well defined Rim Trail, begin from any viewpoint in the village or along Hermit Road. Day hike in and around the canyon or backpack overnight below the rim.

Journey to Grand Canyon National Park aboard Grand Canyon Railway
From Williams, Arizona (along Interstate 40) the Grand Canyon Railway carries more than 230,000 people by rail to Grand Canyon National Park each year.
Whitewater and Smoothwater raft trips on the Colorado River
Whitewater trips through Grand Canyon last from 3 days to 21 days and require reservations well in advance. Half-day smoothwater trips from Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry may be arranged by any Lodge inside the park and include transportation from the South Rim Village to Glen Canyon Dam.

North Rim (Open mid-May through mid-October)

The North Rim Visitor Center is located adjacent to the parking lot on Bright Angel Peninsula. This is a great place to start your adventure on the North Rim. Speak with a ranger who will be happy to help with questions you may have about the area. The Visitor Center also features interpretive exhibits, maps, brochures and a bookstore.

Take a day hike through this beautiful scenery. Experience the wild and remote feeling of the North Rim. Solitude can be found hiking the trails, and enjoying an awe-inspiring view. Watch mule deer and turkeys feeding in mountain meadows. Enjoy, discover, and celebrate the unique world of the North Rim.

Places to Picnic

  • South Rim
    • Desert View
    • Grandview Point 1
    • Grandview Point 2
    • Yaki Point
  • North Rim
    • Cape Royal
    • North Rim Entrance
    • Point Imperial
    • Vista Encantada

History

Although first afforded Federal protection in 1893 as a Forest Reserve and later as a National Monument, Grand Canyon did not achieve National Park status until 1919, three years after the creation of the National Park Service. Today Grand Canyon National Park receives close to five million visitors each year - a far cry from the annual visitation of 44,173 which the park received in 1919.

The oldest human artifacts found are nearly 12,000 years old and date to the Paleo-Indian period. There has been continuous use and occupation of the park since that time.

The park has recorded over 4,800 archeological resources with an intensive survey of nearly 3% of the park area.

Did You Know?
Building a structure that provides the widest possible view of the Grand Canyon yet harmonizes with its setting was architect Mary Colter's goal when the Santa Fe Railroad hired her in 1930 to design a gift shop and rest area at Desert View Point. The Watchtower opened in May of 1933.

Did You Know?
Pres. Teddy Roosevelt said of the Grand Canyon, "Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children's children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American should see."

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