A Grand Spectacle
A Grand Spectacle, Grand Canyon, Colorado River, Geologic and Natural Wonders. The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the United States. It is known for its visually overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape.
Explore the Grand Canyon on foot, and the Colorado River on a rafting trip. And also discover the geologic and natural wonders of three national parks - Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion.
The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the United States. It is known for its visually overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape. Geologically it is significant because of the thick sequence of ancient rocks that is beautifully preserved and exposed in the walls of the canyon. These rock layers record much of the early geologic history of the North American continent.
A part of the Colorado River basin in the state of Arizona, The Grand Canyon has developed over the past 40 million years. A recent study places the origins of the canyon beginning about 17 million years ago. Previous estimates had placed the age of the canyon at 5–6 million years.
It is contained within and managed by Grand Canyon National Park. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery. It is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Nearly two billion years of the Earth's geological history has been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. For thousands of years, the area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves.
The known history of the Grand Canyon area stretches back 10,500 years, when the first evidence of human presence in the area is found. Native Americans have inhabited the Grand Canyon and the area now covered by Grand Canyon National Park for at least the last 4,000 of those years. Ancestral Pueblo peoples, first as the Basketmaker culture and later as the more familiar Pueblo people, developed from the Desert Culture as they became less nomadic and more dependent on agriculture. A similar culture, the Coho Nina, also lived in the canyon area. Drought in the late 13th century is likely to have caused both groups to move on. Other people followed, including the Piute, Cerbat, and the Navajo, only to be later forced onto reservations by the United States Government.
At the crack of dawn, on chilly mornings, people wake up and reach the sunrise point at the Grand Canyon. Rustic amphitheater style seating overlooking the canyon and benches scattered here and there on the path along the rim are filled with people trying to photograph the gorgeous scene, while some artists are ready with their colours and canvas. A glorious sun rises up, painting the sky in golden rays and washing the canyon in colour, as this spectacle is being captured fittingly either on film or on canvas, for posterity ( pictures of course, are for the facebook ! ). It is a grand way to begin a day.
Depending on the time available, if one wants to take a long, relaxing holiday at the Grand Canyon, a seven day trip can be planned. It is totally unwinding and rejuvenating, to say the least. To go back to the times when this earth took birth, and the tribes who lived in peace in the hills, and when Nature was untouched. Sophie’s Mexican Kitchen is supposed to be the best authentic Mexican food restaurant at the Grand Canyon. Don’t miss out on the local cuisine like the freshly made chips and salsa.
Seven day itinerary :
Day 1 — St. George, Utah/Grand Canyon
Arrive in St. George and travel southeast into canyon country, stopping at Pipe Springs National Monument and Kaibab Indian Reservation.
Day 2 — North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Set out to explore the canyon’s rim, peering into the multi-hued chasm, carved by the Colorado River over millions of years. Choose from a variety of hikes for all levels, and learn about the park’s unique ecosystems and geology while enjoying sweeping views at every turn. Return to the lodge in the evening, and capture the canyon’s dazzling colours at sunset.
Day 3 — Colorado River/Zion National Park
Enjoy the early morning light as it spotlights mesas and mountaintops on your journey to the Colorado River. Float down this scenic and historic river on a leisurely rafting trip starting at the head of the Grand Canyon and wind through colourful gorges and high desert landscapes. Enjoy a riverside picnic before continuing north across the Kaibab Plateau to Zion National Park.
Day 4 — Zion National Park
Spend a day exploring Zion, a wonderland of sandstone slot canyons, lush hanging gardens, and cascading waterfalls. Hike the Emerald Pools Trail, passing under the cool spray of a waterfall. In the afternoon, explore the Narrows of the Virgin River, to know the geological events that have shaped this land for over 200 million years. In the evening, explore the town of Springdale located just outside of the park.
Day 5 — Bryce Canyon National Park
Beautiful landscapes unfold as you travel to Bryce National Park. Stop for breathtaking views at Fairyland Point, then stroll along the Rim Trail overlooking Bryce Amphitheater.
Day 6 — Bryce Canyon National Park
Spend the day exploring Bryce Canyon’s famous hoodoos—whimsical rock formations shaded red, orange, and yellow, which have been eroded into surreal spires. Hike or drive into the heart of the park, and learn about the geology behind this landscape of time-sculpted stone.
Day 7 — Kolob Canyons/St. George
Head to Kolob Canyons, a lesser known area of Zion National Park. Hike up the short Timber Creek Overlook Trail and peer into the red sand-stone expanse. After a final picnic lunch, return to St. George for your flight home.