The Grand Canyon, unquestionably one of the most famous places on Earth, has earned a spot on many tourists’ wish lists throughout the years. The desert terrain has become home to a wide variety of unusual flora and animals, while the rich hues of the rough rock reflect millions of years worth of geological history.
Grand Canyon National Park, which covers 1,904 square miles of terrain from the Colorado River to the uplands in Arizona, aids in safeguarding this renowned masterpiece. Learn about Grand Canyon National Park’s ten shocking truths.
The Grand Canyon is Enormous
Do you know that the Grand Canyon spans a little over 1,218.375 acres or 4931 square kilometers (1,904 square miles)? The whole state of Rhode Island, which is just 3144 square kilometers (1,214 square miles) or 776,960 acres, can fit within.
There is a surprising amount to discover in the Grand Canyon given its size! Additionally, due to its size, different parts of the park have entirely distinct weather conditions. The South Rim might reach a maximum temperature of 18 degrees Celcius (64°F), while the North Rim could be 12 degrees Celcius (54°F).
Grand Canyon National Park Is Bigger Than the State of Rhode Island
Grand Canyon National Park covers a total area of 1,904 square miles, or 1,218,375 acres, which is large enough to accommodate the whole state of Rhode Island.
Even though the park doesn’t even include the entirety of the Grand Canyon, it is 277 miles long, 18 miles broad, and 6,000 feet deep at its deepest point. To put everything into perspective, it takes around four hours to travel the approximately 200 miles from the North Rim Visitor Center to the South Rim Visitor Center within the park.
The Grand Canyon itself can influence the weather
The Grand Canyon may encounter a range of weather conditions due to its height, which ranges from about 2,000 feet to over 8,000 feet. Because of this, the temperature typically rises by 5.5 degrees for every 1,000 feet of elevation reduction.
A stunning photo of a complete cloud inversion from 2013. When the air near the ground is colder than the air above, an unique meteorological phenomenon occurs that causes a sea of clouds to fill the canyon.
over it Park rangers have been waiting years to witness it. Erin Huggins, National Park Service, took the picture.
The Grand Canyon Creates Its Own Weather
This is one of the most interesting Grand Canyon facts, no pun intended. Where you are in the Grand Canyon will have a significant influence on the weather you experience since abrupt changes in elevation have a significant impact on temperature and precipitation.
The Bright Angel Ranger Station on the North Rim is the area’s coldest and wettest meteorological station, whereas Phantom Ranch, located only eight miles away, is the area’s warmest and one of the driest.
Park Managers Use Controlled Fires to Protect the Landscape
The Colorado Plateau environment has long benefited from the natural fire process. Controlled burning not only assists in reducing concerns related to the wildland-urban interface, but it also thins the forest by removing “fuel” (materials like dead leaves and branches that easily catch fire) and recycles nutrients to facilitate the growth of new plants.
Members of the park’s management section for controlled burning are tasked with employing fire to preserve the ecosystem’s natural equilibrium.
Hidden caves abound in the canyon
There are said to be 1,000 caverns hidden within the Grand Canyon, and 335 of them have been documented. Even fewer have been catalogued or mapped. The Cave of the Domes on Horseshoe Mesa is the only cave that is now available to the public.
The Grand Canyon is Filled With Wildlife
The Grand Canyon is home to 91 species of mammals, 373 species of birds, 18 species of fish, and 58 species of reptiles.
The Grand Canyon is home to more than 8000 recognized species in total. These seven species all have endangered status. The Ridgway’s rail, the California condor, the southwestern willow flycatcher, the razorback sucker, the humpback chub, and the Kanab amber snail are endangered species that live in the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon is also home to roughly 1,747 plant species and 208 invasive non-native plant species.
Grand Canyon National Park Has Pink Snakes
The Grand Canyon park’s borders are home to six different species of rattlesnakes, one of which is exceptionally pink.
One of these snakes may have been visible to you if you are a hiker and have visited the Grand Canyon. They are the most prevalent snakes in the area and are typically seen on rocks and sand paths searching for lizard prey. Although they may be prevalent in the Grand Canyon, this kind of rattlesnake is unique to our planet.
Over 90 Mammal Species Live Inside the Park
Grand Canyon National Park is home to approximately 90 distinct kinds of mammals, more than any other national park, including Yellowstone. These species range from bison and elk to mountain lions and bats. 8
While deer and squirrels are frequent sights for tourists, the park also contains far more uncommon species (like the ringtail cat, the state animal of Arizona).
There Are Lots Of Other Fossils In The Area
Even though the dinosaurs might not have visited the Grand Canyon, several other fossils have been discovered that indicate other animals frequented the area. They vary from very old terrestrial animals that left their bones in canyon caves approximately 10,000 years ago to ancient sea fossils reaching back 1.2 billion years.
In 1909, the canyon was the site of a giant hoax
In an underground passage in the canyon, researchers reportedly found remnants of an ancient Tibetan or Egyptian civilisation, according to the Arizona Gazette.
The Smithsonian refuted the entirety of this narrative, asserting that they were unaware of the archaeologists. Conspiracy theorists continue to hold that this may have been a government cover-up today.
There Are No Dinosaur Bones In The Grand Canyon
Although it would seem that the Grand Canyon would be the ideal location to search for dinosaur remains, no such remains have ever been discovered there, and for good reason.
In other cases, the rock that makes up the canyon walls is approximately a billion years older than the dinosaurs, but the canyon itself likely didn’t develop until after the dinosaurs were long extinct.
But The Grand Canyon is Not the Biggest Canyon in the World
Despite its size, the Grand Canyon is not the world’s deepest canyon. At its widest point, the Grand Canyon is 18 miles (29 kilometers) broad and 1857 meters (6,093 feet) deep.
While that is very stunning, Tibet’s Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon holds the record for the world’s biggest canyon. Actually, the length of that particular canyon exceeds that of the Grand Canyon.
There Are About 1,000 Hidden Caves Scattered Around the Park
There are at least 1,000 undiscovered caverns in the Grand Canyon’s geological formations, although only a small number have been formally found and recorded. The caves are home to species that lives in caverns as well as significant mineral formations that have been discovered by scientists in the past. 4
The careful preservation of the caves makes these markings irreversible, thus park officials often deal with unlawful cave entry and even vandalism by tourists who try to carve into the natural rock walls. The only cave in Grand Canyon National Park that is accessible to the general public is Cave of the Domes.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most visited national parks in the United States
The Grand Canyon is the second-most visited national park in the US, only behind the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, with an estimated 5.9 million visitors annually. When the park was first established in 1919, 44,173 people visited it annually.
5.9 Million People Visit the Grand Canyon Every Year
The Grand Canyon is the second-most visited national park in the US, with an estimated 5.9 million visitors annually from all around the world. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee receives around 12.5 million people annually, making it the most frequented park.
The Park Is Full of Fossils
Unsurprisingly, Grand Canyon National Park’s extensive geological past makes it the ideal location collecting fossils.
The rocks that make up the canyon predate dinosaurs, so you won’t discover any dinosaur fossils there. However, you will find plenty of old marine animals, sponges, and more recent terrestrial critters like scorpions, reptiles, and even dragonfly wing imprints.
The earliest fossils are from the Precambrian Period (1,200–740 million years ago), while some of the more recent ones are from the Paleozoic Period (52–270,000 years ago).
There’s A Town In The Grand Canyon
Unexpectedly, the Grand Canyon has a human population, which is something that is rarely included in lists of interesting facts about it. At the foot of the Grand Canyon, in the Havasupai Indian Reservation, sits Supai Village.
It is the most isolated village in the lower 48 states and has just 208 residents. It is also the only spot where mail is still delivered by pack mule.
The Village of Supai is the Only Village at the Grand Canyon
The Supai Village, which is the home of the Havasupai Tribe or The People of the Blue-Green Water, is only reachable by helicopter, on foot, or by pack animal.
The U.S. Census estimates that just 208 people live there. Additionally, it is the only town in the USA to get goods by mule since it is the most isolated community in the lower 48 states. Supai Village is surrounded by red canyon walls and waterfalls.
Visitors have a choice of lodgings: the Havasupai Lodge or camping with a permit. Check the weather forecast before traveling to the village because flash floods are frequent there.
In fact, when a severe storm slammed the area in 2010, approximately 143 visitors fled. The Havasupai community has temporarily halted tourists. For updates, see their website.
The Grand Canyon was once home to a booming photo business!
While shooting the canyon for themselves, the Kolb brothers realized they might earn money by taking pictures of tourists. When the visitors rode out on mules, they would take pictures and then sell them when the riders got back. Located in Grand Canyon Village is The Kolb Studio.
Humans Have Inhabited the Grand Canyon for a long Time
The Grand Canyon is home to the oldest human artifacts, which date back 13,000 years. They also discovered some Paleo-Indian pottery, jewelry, and animal figurines during the excavations. The Grand Canyon has been inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years and still is.
The Grand Canyon was originally colonized by Europeans in 1540 when a Spanish conqueror named Garca López de Cárdenas conducted an expedition into the canyon’s interior. Three troops were dispatched by him to cautiously probe the canyon’s depths.
The troops, however, were no longer allowed to continue their exploration, thus it was just a brief journey. The soldiers were parched, and there was nowhere for them to find clean water. Because the Hopi defended the Colorado River and the troops could not access it, it was conceivable.
The Oldest Rocks in the Grand Canyon Are 1.8 Billions Years Old
Layers upon layers of sedimentary rock that started building over 2 billion years ago make up Grand Canyon National Park. The Kaibab Formation, the youngest rock stratum, is around 270 million years old, making it significantly older than the main canyon itself. 5
Plate tectonics raised the whole area between 70 and 30 million years ago, resulting in what is today known as the Colorado Plateau. Then, between 5 and 6 million years ago, the Colorado River started to carve its way downstream, aiding in the formation of the Grand Canyon along with erosion.
The Grand Canyon was carved over some 6 million years
The Grand Canyon as we know it today was formed by erosion caused by the Colorado River and geological action.
With its huge fossil records, plethora of natural characteristics, and rich archeological history, it is one of the most researched landscapes in the whole world. Find out more about the Grand Canyon’s past.
Fish Are Relatively Uncommon In The Grand Canyon
With its thick silt, frequent floods, and temperatures that ranged from scorching heat in the summer to below-freezing in the winter, the Colorado River was a particularly challenging habitat for fish before the development of current flood control techniques.
As a result, just eight fish species, six of which are unique to the Colorado River, are endemic to the Grand Canyon.
The Park Once Held 8 Species of Native Fish
There are currently just five native fish species in the park as a result of regular flooding, sediment, and extremely high temperatures between seasons.
Six of the original eight native species discovered in the park can now only be found in the Colorado River basin. The humpback chub, which has been designated as endangered since 1967, and the razorback sucker, which was listed as endangered in 1991, are two of these species that are protected by the Endangered Species Act.
Teddy Roosevelt Contributed to Protect the Grand Canyon
Roosevelt was persuaded to safeguard it after seeing the Grand Canyon in 1903 However, he simply lacked the power to do so at the time and could not declare the region a national park.
Only in 1906 did he create the Grand Canyon Game Preserve through a presidential proclamation. The park was subsequently designated a national monument in 1908, two years later. The Grand Canyon was designated as a national park in 1919, marking the final approval.
President Teddy Roosevelt Was Passionate About Protecting the Canyon
Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States and an amateur naturalist, was moved to defend the Grand Canyon as soon as he saw it for the first time in 1903.
He allegedly exclaimed, “The Grand Canyon fills me with amazement,” after seeing the canyon. It is unmatched in the entire globe, beyond comparison and description… Let nature’s amazing marvel stay just as it is.
Don’t do anything to diminish its majesty, sublimity, or beauty. He signed the Grand Canyon Game Reserve law three years later, and two years after he established the Grand Canyon National Monument.