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AMAZING CANYON

Rock of ages cleaved

Larina Arrowsmith describes the awesome Grand Canyon

Considered one of the seven wonders of the natural world, the Grand Canyon in Arizona was formed over six million years ago and remains one of the most studied landscapes on the planet. Carved by the copper coloured Colorado River, the multilayered rockface is home to many unique species and showcases extensive fossil records, a multitude of geological features and a rich archaeological history.

One of the main reasons for visiting America’s 11th largest national park is to enjoy a hike out into the wilderness. With a range of routes on offer, everyone should find one that suits their level of fitness and quest for adventure – from the classic Rim-to-Rim loop (which takes visitors on a 70 kilometre round trip) to the shorter Bright Angel Trail and the more demanding Hermit Trail, there is something for everyone here.

For those who find the mere idea of walking anywhere in such intense heat exhausting, there is also a shuttle bus that picks visitors up and drops them off at regular stops along the way.

Sunrise and sunset are when the canyon comes to life, and standing on its rim to welcome a new day or say goodbye to one that is ending is a truly unforgettable experience. The magnitude of its size is second only to the paint palette of the colours that emerge as the sun’s rays dance off the peaks, casting shades and tones while creating its very own light show for entertainment.

Thanks to its diverse range of multicoloured rocks, the canyon can change from orange to pink and purple in a matter of minutes… it is nothing less than spectacular to behold.

But the best way to see the canyon is from a helicopter. Soaring over the Kaibab National Forest as the South Rim dramatically drops away and the North Rim comes into view, visitors enjoy a grand finale of their visit to this amazing natural wonder.

And so another item can be struck of the bucket list – one that’s well worth the expense!

GRAND CANYON FACT FILE

  • The Grand Canyon is 446 kilometres in length
  • It stretches 29 kilometres across at its widest point
  • This canyon is around 1,800 metres deep
  • American-Indians have been living in and around the canyon for thousands of years
  • The Grand Canyon became a national park in 1919
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