Grand Canyon Travel Guide
The Grand Canyon plunges more than a mile in a breathtaking freefall along sheer rock walls blazing in the brilliant Arizona sunshine, in rich hues of ochre, sienna and umber, all the way down to the bottom where rafters run the fast-flowing Colorado. It's one of the great natural wonders of the world, and a national treasure of monumental proportions. The canyon runs 277 miles from end to end along the northern part of Arizona, and, needless to say, is the state's foremost attraction and among the most visited national parks in the country. Visitors arrive in droves to marvel at the spectacular phenomenon, hiking into the canyon, seeing it from above by plane or helicopter, or journeying to it by tour bus from the periphery of the Grand Canyon Village or by train from the nearby town of Williams. There are loop trails and scenic overlooks for nature hounds, mule trains heading down into the canyon for the stout of heart, and campsites on the canyon floor where you can grill a steak on your Coleman stove. Indeed, the Grand Canyon is at once the most stunning manifestations of nature and an experience you won't soon forget.
The Grand Canyon is located in the northern part of the State of Arizona, in the American southwest.
The Grand Canyon can be reached by road, rail or air, with an airport, the Grand Canyon Airport, located in Tusayan, just to the south of Grand Canyon Village at the South Rim.. Access to the canyon is generally from entrances located on its South Rim, North Rim, its eastern edge, as well as its western edge which itself is accessed through the Hualapai Indian Reservation. On the South Rim, the most popular access point, is Grand Canyon Village, with accommodations, restaurants and gift shops; and just south of there more visitor facilities, both accommodations and restaurants, in Tusayan (6 miles), Valle (30 miles), Williams (55 miles), Flagstaff (80 miles), and Cameron which lies roughly 40 miles to the east of the South Rim. There is also lodging on the canyon floor at the Phantom Ranch, and camping facilities within the park.
Touring Grand Canyon
There are three routes along which shuttle buses operate, leading into the park from outside Grand Canyon Village, offering visitors tours and access to scenic overlooks. These include the Village Loop, Hermit Road Loop and Kaibab Trail Loop. The Grand Canyon Railway operates between the town of Williams and the canyon directly north, offering yet another perspective to visitors. There are also several hiking trails leading down to the canyon floor, notable among them the 7.3-mile South Kaibab Trail and the 9.3-mile Bright Angel Trail. An alternative mode of travel into the canyon is on mules, either on a half-day, guided, 12-mile round-trip to a point approximately 1,000 feet above the canyon floor, or an overnight trip to Phantom Ranch. And for the adventurous, there is river rafting, both day and multi-week trips, at the bottom of the canyon on the Colorado.
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