Vacation with Bluegreen Resorts in Peoria, Arizona just outside of Phoenix and only a few hours’ drive from the spectacular geological wgrandonderland of the Grand Canyon. The accommodations at Bluegreen’s Cibola Vista Resort and Spa will provide you with plenty of luxury and relaxation. Then you’re on your way to experience all the splendor of the canyon. Grand Canyon National Park attracts millions of visitors every year who are drawn to the stunning displays of color and light that cascade across its rock faces, as well as to the mule train rides, camping trips, river rafting tours, and more. Grand Canyon National Park is one of seven national parks located close to Bluegreen destinations.
Do you know everything that the Grand Canyon has in store for you and your family? Here are nine fascinating facts about the Grand Canyon that will make your trip more enjoyable:
- The Grand Canyon is beyond enormous. At its widest point, it spans some 18 miles from one side to the other, stretches 277 miles long, and possesses an average depth of approximately 1 mile. Erosion from the Colorado River continues to change its dimensions over time. The Colorado River itself is about 300 feet wide and 100 feet deep, and it flows at a clip of about 4 miles an hour.
- Admission to the Grand Canyon is affordable. The National Park Service announced in 2015 that the fee for a permit for a single, non-commercial vehicle and everyone traveling in it is just $30 for one week. The price includes both the North and South Rims. If you walk, bike, or take the shuttle bus to the park, admission is $15 per person. Anyone 15 and under can enter the park free of charge, and there are also several “free days” for everyone over the course of the year, including selected federal holidays.
- There’s an app for it–the Grand Canyon, that is. In 2015, JustAhead.com debuted its mobile app and audio tour guide for the Grand Canyon. Using GPS technology, the app finds your location and offers a richly-narrated tour via your smartphone of the canyon’s history, geology, and must-see stops along the way. Moreover, TUA Outdoors, LLC, offers an informational app specifically for hiking the canyon that is downloadable from your iTunes account. And don’t miss out on the National Parks by National Geographic app that covers the Grand Canyon and the nation’s other wilderness heritage areas. Let National Geographic help you create a personalized list of things to see, obtain photography instruction from an expert, and pick up useful hints about exploring the canyon.
- Grand Canyon tours abound. If you’ve always dreamed of having a bird’s-eye view of the canyon, there are many tours available. Numerous commercial websites offer a wide range of packages at various price points, including romantic sunset helicopter and railroad trips, wildlife tours, multi-day and multi-venue excursions, and more. The National Park Service hosts many others that are comparatively inexpensive and sometimes even free. Just keep in mind that the most popular excursions, such as the mule train along the South Rim, sometimes fill up a year or more in advance.
- The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s seven natural wonders. It joins other grand-scale, breathtakingly beautiful places that include Mount Everest; the Great Barrier Reef off Australia; Victoria Falls on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia; Mexico’s Parícutin volcano; the harbor of Rio de Janeiro; and the earth’s Northern and Southern Lights, found at extremely high and low latitudes. The Grand Canyon is also a designated World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
- The Grand Canyon has enjoyed a long history of protection from the U.S. government as a place for all citizens to enjoy. Toward the end of the 19th century, what is now the Grand Canyon National Park achieved the status of forest reserve. It was declared a national monument in 1908, and Congressional action formally created the national park in 1919, only seven years after Arizona became a state.
- The Grand Canyon continues to have a strong Native American presence. Historically, the region has been home to the Navajo people, who maintain their heritage at towns and sites near the canyon, often with exquisite silver, jewelry, and other items for sale. The Tusayan Ruins and Museum near the edge of the park honor the history of the ancient Pueblo people who lived in the area.
- The canyon is home to an enormous variety of wildlife. Pay a visit to the South Rim, and you just might encounter elk or mule deer, or see a majestic California condor cruising overhead. Rock squirrels, reptiles, and birds also make their home along the rim. The park is also home to coyotes, mountain lions and other big cats, rattlesnakes, and more. Remember that federal law prohibits trapping and hunting on national park lands, as well as touching and feeding the animals. This is for your protection and for theirs, so enjoy the wildlife from a safe distance. The National Park Service recommends keeping at least 100 feet between yourself and the local elk and deer.
- There are plenty of child-friendly activities at the Grand Canyon. For instance, you can stop in at the Visitor Center and see the IMAX film titled Grand Canyon – The Hidden Secrets, which is practically a tour in itself. Take a two- or four-hour train ride along the South Rim, which includes Wild West-themed entertainment and even lunch. Explore Yavapai Point, which is located relatively close to shops, and enjoy a sweeping view of a large part of the canyon.