Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon, USA
1,737 meters/5,697 feet
Mostly within the Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona, it was formed by the Colorado River that flows 277 miles through it, and ranges in width from 4 to 18 miles. The Grand Canyon has 2,000 square miles, and 600 side canyons.

Live picture of Grand Canyon South Rim
This web cam is updated every thirty minutes. It is located near the Yavapai Observation Station on the Grand Canyon South Rim, looking toward the northwest. If you are revisiting this page, be sure to click "refresh" on your browser. Note: if the image is completely black, it is night time.
Activities and Attractions
Gazing at the beautiful views of the canyon from the various vista points is the number one activity for many people. People of every age and condition can find activities to suit their desires, including the following: hiking, rafting trips, backpacking, mule trips or horseback rides, camping, scenic air tours. A wide variety of free interpretive programs are offered by NPS rangers. Bicycling is allowed on park roads and there is now access to the rim trails and a bicycle concessionaire.

The Canyon View Information Plaza (on the South Rim) and the Kaibab Plateau Visitor's Center (on the North Rim) can help you with attractions that will meet your time and money budget.

The Grand Canyon is carved thru erosion into a series of highly elevated plateaus in northern Arizona and is renowned the world over for its beauty and geological significance.

The Grand Canyon is one of Earth’s few natural landmarks visible from space, the massive rift carved by the Colorado River begins just south of Utah at Lee’s Ferry and curves with the Colorado River through 277 miles of Arizona toward the California border. In all that distance only a single dirt road penetrates to the bottom, but does not reach across. It is  600 ft. to 18 miles wide (it averages 10), and its depth reaches a mile, cutting through rock formed two billion years ago.It covers close to 2000 square miles and reaches out of the main corridor with 600 side canyons. Out of those canyon depths rise peaks in colorful hues, transformed in a moment by the shifting play of the sun. 

The Grand Canyon has an estimated 50,000 archeological sites, with nearly 500 located in the river corridor.

The Grand Canyon provides a diverse climate. Precipitation, much of it snow, exceeds 25 inches per year at the highest elevations on the North Rim and can be less than 4 inches per year at Phantom Ranch where temperatures in the afternoon average over 100 degrees F. The South Rim, averaging about 7,000 feet (2134 m) receives 15 inches of precipitation each year. Most of that comes from heavy snows in winter or afternoon thunderstorms in the summer.

The Grand Canyon is alive with plants and animals. More than 1750 different species of plants grow in Grand Canyon National Park. North-facing slopes are cooler and more moist, and harbor different species than south-facing slopes. On the North Rim you will find Hudsonian and Canadian forests of spruce, fir, some pine and aspen interspersed with marshy open meadows. 

Most notable animals include, turkeys, goshawks, various woodpeckers, Kaibab squirrels, mule deer, black bear, bobcats and mountain lions. On the South Rim you will find a Ponderosa Pine forest mixed with strands of grassland, sagebrush and rabbitbrush. Common South Rim animals include, condors, golden eagles, ravens, pinyon jays, elk, mule deer and coyotes. 

The inner gorge is comprised of Sonoran-desert scrub with several species of lizards scurrying around. Riverside vegetation is dominated by the invasive tamarisk, and mesquite and more than 1000 other plant species. Also, there are 250 species of insects, 28 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 215 species of birds as well as mice, beavers, small carnivores, mule deer and big horn sheep.

Thousands of years ago hunters first explored the Grand Canyon, leaving ritual offerings in caves and painting images on the canyon walls. Others followed, and native cultures have lived in the area since that time, today the Paiute, Hopi, Hualapai, Havasupai and Navajo Indians still make the canyon and plateaus their home.
The prospect of gold-the legendary Seven Cities of Cibola - lured the first Europeans into the Grand Canyon area in 1540, led by Garcia Lopez de Cardenas dispatched from the army of Francisco de Coronado. In the mid 1800s, an army survey party explored the region led by Lieutenant Joseph Ives. Ives came to the conclusion that the area was “altogether valueless” and a “profitless locality.” European American trappers, explorers and surveyors and settlers followed. 
John Wesley Powell became one of the first to raft the Grand Canyon in 1869. He and his party of nine traveled 1,000 miles through the Grand Canyon on wooden boats. Three men were lost during this dangerous expedition through rapids and overwhelming heat. 
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. Its area was greatly enlarged in 1975 by the addition of the former Grand Canyon National Monument and Marble Canyon National Monument and by portions of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, as well as other adjoining lands. In 1979 the park was also designated a World Heritage site.