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Traveling the Seven Wonders of the World (Part One) -The Grand Canyon

A Place of Wonder, a World Wonder, the Grandest of All Canyons

An Overview of the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the seven wonders of the world - the one place where you can see the evolution of the planet's landscape dating back tens of millions of years.

Carved by the water flowing down the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon is managed by the Navajo people, the Hualapai Tribal Nation and the Havasupai Tribe. Every year the canyon evolves due to surging water and eroding rock formations.

The canyon is 18 miles wide at the furthest point between the rims, and four miles wide at the narrowest points. The length of the canyon spans over 100 miles. Depending on where you are located, the canyon can reach as high as 9,000 feet in elevation.

The Grand Canyon is a popular place for photographers, hikers, and anyone with an appreciation for nature. There is plenty to do, plenty to see and plenty of reasons to visits!

The Best Route Out of the Grand Canyon's South Rim

While driving away from the park, Desert View Drive provides fantastic scenery and numerous pull-outs where you can park to take photos.

While driving away from the park, Desert View Drive provides fantastic scenery and numerous pull-outs where you can park to take photos.

Desert View Drive

A long road that takes you passed a number of breathtaking views, Desert View Drive is the best way to leave or enter the park.

Marked lookouts along Desert View Drive include (in order from the entrance out) Desert View, Navajo Point, Lipan Point, Moran Point, Grandview Point, and Yaki Point. Although this route is typically less crowded than the other options, it is by far the most beautiful.

Other attractions along the way include the Watchtower, an old tower you can walk up, providing you with breathtaking views of the canyon, as well as the Tusayan Ruins and Museum.

This Studio Was Built to Honor Emery and Ellsworth Kolb


Adventures of the Kolb Brothers

Kolb studio is currently a popular spot for visitors of the Grand Canyon's south rim. The studio, which is also a lookout point for the canyon, is a place to remember the first men to photograph the beauty of the entire canyon.

The Kolb brothers began their adventure in 1902, venturing down to the bottom of the canyon in an effort to capture the beauty of the park.

Emery and Ellsworth Kolb are credited as two of the first men to capture the canyon through photography. They opened their own studio at the canyon to give them easy access to all of the area's great vistas.

Some of the most famous photos and film clips exploring this wonder were created by Emery and Ellsworth, which is why their names will live on for ages all over the Grand Canyon.

Experience the Thrill of Driving Around the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon's North Rim Compared to the South Rim

The south rim of the canyon is much more popular than the north rim. This isn't due to a lack of scenery at the canyon's north rim, but because it is more remote and consists of more rugged terrain.

Ideal for serious hikers and those looking to escape the many tourists at the south rim, the Grand Canyon's north rim is 1,000 feet higher in elevation and provides completely different views than the south rim.

Three of the canyon's top overlooks are located at the Grand Canyon's north rim. These include Tuweep, Point Sublime and Cape Royal. Although higher in elevation, views of the Colorado River are supposedly best from the north rim.


Outside of the Park - The Beauty of Red Rocks

Driving from Phoenix to Tusayan, right outside Grand Canyon National Park, one can take any route to get from point A to point B, but no drive beats the Red Rock Scenic Bypass.

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A longer drive that is further in mileage and more out of the way than the other driving options, driving along the Red Rock Bypass takes you through the beautiful town of Sedona.

Popular sites to see in the area include Chapel Rock, Bell Rock, Sedona's famous vortexes, Verde Valley, Slide Rock State Park, as well as Red Rock State Park. Shopping and dining options are all lined up and down the main street of the town, featuring numerous art galleries.

This drive takes you on narrow, curvy roads, which can be difficult to navigate at night if you are not familiar with the area. Avoid driving this way too long after sunset, because when the sun goes down the roads get dark, fast.

Hiking the Grand Canyon is Both Exhilirating and Exhausting


Trails to Hike at the Grand Canyon's South Rim

The Rim Trail- Extending from Grand Canyon Village to the Hermits Rest overlook, this trail is a good day trail for the novice hiker. Although the trail technically stretches for miles along the south rim, several free buses drive throughout the park to shuttle people from point to point, making it easy to cater your hike to your needs.

Bright Angel Trail- This popular trail of the south rim starts just west of Bright Angel Lodge and consists of twelve miles round trip. Although the trail does feature some shady parts, it is quite steep and only recommended for those who have experience hiking.

South Kaibab Trail- The start of this challenging trail begins near Yaki Point. Although the hike is only six miles round trip, the hike is fairly steep and no water is available along the way. If you happen to be in good shape and have hiking experience, this trail offers some of the best vistas available on the south rim.

The Hike from Phantom Ranch- One of the most challenging, yet rewarding hikes is the hike from Phantom Ranch to the top of the canyon. Phantom Ranch is a small cabin located at the bottom of the canyon, right off of the Colorado River. Hikers sleep at the cabin overnight, and typically hit the trail before 5 a.m. to avoid heat exhaustion. The hike can take an entire day for even expert hikers, and is not recommended for those with minimal hiking experience, as well as people with health conditions.

There Are Many Great Lookout Points Along the South Rim, Yet Some Still Choose to Create Their Own


The Hidden Gems to Look for Near Grand Canyon National Park

The Chains- Located in Page, Arizona, The Chains is a swimming hole only accessible by hiking four miles round trip. The hike is well worth it however, as this spot is often deserted, making it scenic, relaxing and serene. If you choose to visit The Chains, be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen for the hike, as the heat in Page can get well into the 100s during the summer season.

The Hanging Gardens- Just a few miles from The Chains you can find the Hanging Gardens, a Navajo Sandstone overhang covered in green plant life that juts right out of the beautiful red rocks. The Hanging Gardens is a half mile long trail that is easy to traverse due to the flat terrain.

Horseshoe Bend- Off the beaten path but well worth the drive, Horseshoe Bend is a scenic overlook located right off of US-89. Although the overlook is not easy to get to, requiring a short, yet extremely hot, uphill hike, the view is well worth the trek. Once you arrive at the edge of the cliffs, you will see the Colorado River in a horseshoe shape flowing around the canyon. Be sure to bring water with you, as the hike to the bend is not long, but very exhausting.

There are so many great lookout points throughout Grand Canyon National Park, one would need to visit the area for at least a month to be able to visit them all! Here is a breakdown of the rims most popular spots to view the canyon:

Views from the South Rim

  • Mather Point
  • Lookout Studio
  • Yavapai Point
  • Desert Watchtower
  • Lipan Point
  • Moran Point
  • Yaki Point
  • Grandview Point

Views from the North Rim

  • Bright Angel Point
  • Point Imperial
  • Cape Royal
  • Toroweap Overlook
  • Vista Encantada
  • Tiyo Point
  • Widforss Point

The Crystal Blue Waters of Lake Powell are Just North of the Park


© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal


Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 24, 2014:

I've never been to the Grand Canyon, Kathleen. Thanx for the tour!

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