Grand Canyon National Park is the United States' 15th oldest national park. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, the park is located in Arizona. The park's central feature is the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, which is often considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The park covers 1,217,262 acres (1,902 sq mi; 4,926 km sq) of unincorporated area in Coconino and Mohave counties.
Grand Canyon National Park was named as an official national park in 1919, but the landmark had been well known to Americans for over thirty years prior. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt visited the site and said: "The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison—beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world... Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is to keep it for your children, your children's children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see."
The South Rim is more accessible than the North Rim; most visitors to the park come to the South Rim, arriving on Arizona State Route 64 The highway enters the park through the South Entrance, near Tusayan, Arizona, and heads eastward, leaving the park through the East Entrance. Interstate 40 provides access to the area from the south. From the north, U.S. Route 89 connects Utah, Colorado, and the North Rim to the South Rim. Overall, some thirty miles of the South Rim are accessible by road.
The Grand Canyon Village is located at the north end of U.S. Route 180, coming from Flagstaff. This is a full-service community, including lodging, fuel, food, souvenirs, a hospital, churches, and access to trails and guided walks and talks.
A variety of activities at the South Rim cater to park visitors. The South Rim Drive (35 miles (56 km)) is a driving tour split into two segments. The western drive to Hermit's Point is 8 miles (13 km) with several overlooks along the way, including Mohave Point, Hopi Point, and the Powell Memorial. From March to December, access to Hermit's Rest is restricted to the free shuttle provided by the Park Service. The eastern portion to Desert View is 25 miles (40 km), and is open to private vehicles year round.
Walking tours include the Rim Trail, which runs west from the Pipe Creek viewpoint for about 8 miles (13 km) of paved road, followed by 7 miles (11 km) unpaved to Hermit's Rest. Hikes can begin almost anywhere along this trail, and a shuttle can return hikers to their point of origin. Mather Point, the first view most people reach when entering from the South Entrance, is a popular place to begin.
Private canyon flyovers are provided by helicopters and small airplanes out of Las Vegas, Phoenix, and the Grand Canyon National Park Airport. Due to a crash in the 1990s, scenic flights are no longer allowed to fly within 1,500 feet (460 m) of the rim within the Grand Canyon National Park. Several companies offer flights that land 3,500 feet (1,100 m) in the Grand Canyon in Hualapai Indian territory.
Grand Canyon Association
The Grand Canyon Association (GCA) is the National Park Service's official nonprofit partner. It raises private funds to benefit Grand Canyon National Park by operating retail shops and visitor centers within the park, and providing educational opportunities about the natural and cultural history of the region.
The North Rim is a smaller, more remote area with lesser tourist activity. It is accessed by Arizona State Route 67.
Lodging is available along the South Rim at two locations. Campgrounds are located in the village and at Desert View, and hotels include El Tovar Hotel in the village and the Grand Canyon Lodge next to the campground.