The Grand Canyon is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world located in the desert state of Arizona. It is well known for showing how beautiful our nature could be. It is made from layers of rocks and stones from billions of years ago placed on top of one another making the so-called canyon with the Colorado River flowing through it. The beauty of the amazing landscape will take you to another world.
It is also one of the most studied landscapes in the world. People have found fossils and other geological phenomena which help us to learn better about what happened in the past. It slowly reveals the life that existed billions of years before us. Such fascinating happenings that we can never get enough of. In order to explore more about it, we are going to start with 15 things you might never know before about the famous Grand Canyon.
1. Only 12 People Successfully Gone Through the Full Rim
Up to this day, there are only 12 people who have successfully gone through the full rim of the Grand Canyon in one go. A few dozen others have tried walking it through, but did not make it in one go. There are more people who have climbed Everest and even landed on the moon compared to the number of people who successfully conquered the Grand Canyon in one continuous push.
When you are walking through the Grand Canyon, there is no town to resupply, no logistic help, and basically no marked trail to begin with. You are basically walking on a giant maze trying to get to the other side. You need to not only prepare your energy and stamina, but also the knowledge about the area. This is why the Grand Canyon is invincible to many.
2. Sign Of Life On Grand Canyon
When you think of the Grand Canyon, you might think that only some animals could be found. However, there is an entire village in the Grand Canyon: the Havasupai Indian Reservation with its capital, the Supai Village. Havasupai means “people of the blue-green waters”. They consider the sacred water flowing not only on land but also inside each of the members of the village.
It is the only town existing inside a 3000-feet-deep hole in the Grand Canyon. Populated by only 208 people, it is considered the most remote village in all America. Two methods to reach the village are by foot or helicopter, thus supplies are still delivered by mules down the road to the village. Now, you can get a permit to have a taste of what it is like to be living in the Grand Canyon.
3. Favorite Destination
The Grand Canyon is not only a favorite destination for sightseeing or hiking trips, but also for suicide. It is one of the national parks to have the highest suicide rate. Due to this, the park rangers have been equipped with suicide prevention training.
Even so, they are not professional mental health workers. This is why professional were called to trained park rangers to be prepared and aware if there are people who are planning to make a suicide attempt.
4. Several Weather At Once
One of the most intriguing things about the Grand Canyon is its weather. At the same time, you may experience several different kinds of weather depending on which point you are at the Grand Canyon. The elevation plays a big part in this. Generally, the temperature increases by 5.5 o F for every 1,000 feet loss in elevation.
As you grow deeper into the canyon, the temperature will be higher. During winter, snowfall is heaviest in the North Rim is at 142” per year. While the South Rim is only 58” and the Phantom Ranch which is the lowest point is at 1”. The huge gap between the shows that you can experience different weather conditions at different spot in the same exact time. The nature of the canyon influences this phenomenon.
5. Heaven of Caves
Many believed that there are about 1000 caves in the Grand Canyon. Out of 1000 caves, only 335 have been recorded and even fewer caves have been nicely mapped and inventoried. Some caves have been famous for quite sometime just like the Caves of Domes. It is the only cave that is now open to visitors.
The other caves are closed and only open for research in order to preserve the fossils, minerals, etc. found inside it. In each cave, there are many interesting things that you can find. Inside these caves also lies the secret of the beautiful waterfalls that you can find in the canyon.
6. Not The Deepest
Despite its grandeur, the Grand Canyon is not the first or second deepest canyon in the world. The deepest canyon in the world is the Yarlung Zambo Grand Canyon located in Tibet with its depth reaching 6009 meters or 19,714 feet. While the deepest canyon in the US is Hells Canyon located in Idaho reaching at 2438 meters or 8000 feet depth. In comparison with the two, the Grand Canyon is only 1829 meters deep or about 6000 feet.
7. Beware of the Squirrels
The Grand Canyon is home to many animals which includes the dangerous animals like the mountain lions, rattlesnakes, tarantulas and many more. However, the rock squirrels turn out to be the most dangerous ones. Don’t be deceived by their cuteness. You might want to take a picture or two with them since they are everywhere.
However, they are known to attack and bite people that just point at them. Squirrel attack is a regular sightings in the canyon and even the park rangers are there to remind visitors to stay away from it. Thus, it is recommended to not take pictures or even feed them when you visit the canyon.
8. Never Pretend Your Fall
One of the most foolish deaths that happened in the Grand Canyon is the death of 38 year old Greg Austin Gingrich in 1992. He was visiting the park with his teenage daughter. As he was joking around with his daughter, he pretended to fall off the canyon side where he expected to be able to land safely. Instead, he fell 400 feet into the void leaving his daughter behind as an orphan. Keep your jokes and yourself inside the line when you are visiting the canyon.
9. The Great Mystery
The mystery that comes with the Grand Canyon is what we call the Great Unconformity. The Grand Canyon displays the phenomenon of a 250 million years old rock layer on top of a billion years old rock layer. The missing piece in between them is the phenomenon that we call this Great Unconformity. Through the rock layers, we have found fossils that have helped us know that life existed billions of years ago.
Furthermore, this missing layer is not only found in the Grand Canyon, but also in other parts of the world which leads to intensive studies on it. Scientists are studying the reason behind the missing part. Recently, they found reasons that strengthen the link between the missing part and glaciers. We might be closer to the answer than we think.
10. The Grand Canyon Collision
The most tragic happening in the Grand Canyon is called The Grand Canyon Collision. It is an airplane collision that happened over the Grand Canyon on June 30, 1956. This collision resulted in the deaths of all 128 people onboard the two flights. It was a turning point in the American aviation industry to increase its airways safety.
11. Snow in the Grand Canyon
You might imagine seeing the Grand Canyon all white covered in snow. However, this is never going to happen. The Grand Canyon would never be fully covered in snow. During winter, the snow will cover the rim, but it will melt into rain before it reaches the bottom of the canyon. The North Rim will receive more snow during winter compared to the South Rim. The different weather phenomena is what keeps the all white sight of the Grand Canyon impossible. Even so, if you are considering visiting during winter, you need to still be prepared for heavy snowfall, storms, and strong wind.
12. Seen From Space
The astronauts confirmed that they can spot the Grand Canyon from space. They even took some photographs of it from the International Space Station. The astronauts often compare the Grand Canyon to the Mariner Valley, known as the Grand Canyon of Mars.
It is the largest known canyon in our solar system. The two have many similarities to each other despite being located on two different planets. Both are located in a desert so they have similar weather conditions. Mars and Earth are both rocky planets where similar rocks and minerals are found at both places.
13. Best and Worst Time To Visit
If you are planning to pay the Grand Canyon a visit anytime soon, the best time to visit is in April through June. Around this time, the rainfall is not so high and the weather is not scorching hot just yet. It is definitely the best weather to go on a hike. However, the park gets really crowded during the school holiday in June.
You might want to plan your visit accordingly. On the other hand, July through August is when it is the hottest and busiest. If you visit around this time, you might not be able to get so much exploring to do. Also, if you want to visit the North Rim, don’t come during winter. In winter, all accommodations are closed. Annually, the Grand Canyon expect a total of 5-6 million visitors
14. Book In Advance To Visit The Lowest Point
Phantom Ranch is the lowest point of the Grand Canyon at 750 meters mark: the hottest point during summer reaching 120 o F. It is a popular destination spot for hikers and mule riders. The lodging facility there includes both a room and meal for your overnight stay there. However, it is super popular that you might need to book your place in advance. People book as early as 15 months in advance in order to secure themselves a room in the Phantom Ranch.
You can only book it through an on-line lottery method. The Phantom Ranch could only be reached through three routes: hiking, mule riding, or rafting through the Colorado River. Due to its remote setting, many hikers make Phantom Ranch as one of their bucket-list destinations.
15. Selfie Deaths
Just like there are only 12 people who have successfully conquered the Grand Canyon, each year the Grand Canyon swallows 12 lives. Most common causes of deaths are from airplane crashes, falls, and dangerous conditions such as overheating or drowning. It is always recommended for people to stay in the designated area to prevent accidents. Taking risky selfies, even though the beautiful scenery is to die for, is not recommended. Also, don’t forget to drink water and stay hydrated.
So, how many facts above are new to you? If you never heard most of it, maybe it is a sign for you to come and visit the Grand Canyon. It is a good idea to visit one of the natural wonders of the world at least once in your lifetime. If you are up for some challenge, you might also want to challenge yourself and get your name on the list of people who do a full round of hiking through the Grand Canyon.