The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is the most extraordinary gorge in the United States. Its beauty surpasses the desert that surrounds it.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most extraordinary gorges man has ever seen. Because of its uncommon features, it has been designated a national park and has been listed as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. Its location is not far from the Painted Desert, which is located in the state of Arizona.
When standing on the rim of this mighty gorge, the Colorado River seems like a small stream instead of a viable flowing waterway. People have gone rafting down the Colorado River from where it starts before it enters the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the United States. Within the park there are a number of major ecosystems: Sonoran, Mojave and Great Basin Deserts, Great Basin sagebrush, Great Basin pinyon-juniper woodland, and the Rocky Mountain conifer forest. This does not include the 1500 plant species, 290 bird species, plus over 200-bird, reptile and mammal species population.
The National Park Service manages most of the central part of the canyon and the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management manage the other parts.
On the east part of the park is the Navajo Indian Reservation while the Hualapai reservations border the canyon on the south and western most reaches of the Colorado River. You will also find some Hopi Indians as well. There are large private landholdings held in trust by the Indian tribes.
The National Park Service has opened up facilities for campers. There are cabins, a cafeteria style restaurant, amphitheater activities, river rafting and numerous other activities. There is also a doctor on the premises. There is mule riding and hiking expeditions for those who wish to go the canyon, which costs a nominal fee. There is public access and tours on the north and south rim. Dogs are allowed as long as they remain on a leash. There is always something to do and you will need reservations ahead of time to utilize the cabins for your stay. If you do not wish to stay in the cabins, there are hotels nearby. If you wish to take a tour, there are several by helicopter, jeep and train. There are also guided tours available.
The activities include traditional Indian dancing, singing, plays as well as a variety of other interests. Programs are provided for your convenience.