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The Grand Canyon, Arizona

It’s no secret that The Grand Canyon, located partially in Arizona and partially in Nevada, is one of the most traveled destinations in the United States. With miles of gorgeous views, hikes that will take your breath away (figuratively and literally), The Grand Canyon is why they say: "America The Beautiful." While some people may think that this is a destination fit only for outdoorsmen and adventurers; think again. The Grand Canyon is a place the entire family can enjoy.

What is there to say except, get here! We were fortunate because during our visit it was off season at The Grand Canyon. Making our view of this magnificent landscape uncluttered and photo-bomb free.

This Grand Canyon visit, our first, inspired us! We only had a short time here so we crammed as many views in as humanly possible in one day! It's doable, luckily we were able to drive and make our own route. Fact is, the very next day all visitors had to use shuttle buses to explore, and it snowed all day! The travel gods blessed our visit!

With the entire park basically being one big scenic viewpoint, it’s not hard to find outstanding views on your own.

This one likes snacks with his views...

This one likes to explore while acting like a ninja....

This child likes to absorb views while doing backbends....

No matter how you take in the sites, these views are good for the heart and soul...

North Rim or South Rim? You decide. Just keep in mind that the vastness of the park will most likely keep you from seeing everything in one trip. For this reason, choose whether you plan on spending your time in the North Rim or the South Rim of the park.

We took The South Rim, which features the Desert View and the Rim Trail, is open all year. The South Rim also offers plenty of museums that contain interactive exhibits and useful information about the park.

The North Rim is open seasonally and is only open to the public May 15 through October 15. This section of the park is well known for its wildlife and since it is the lesser popular rim, it offers a remote and calm experience, not diluted with tourists.

The kids kept asking how this Canyon was formed, we were lucky to watch a film about it in the visitor's center. The truth is that no one knows for sure though there are some pretty good guesses. The chances are that a number of processes combined to create the views that you see in today's Grand Canyon.

Per the film, the most powerful force to have an impact on the Grand Canyon is erosion, water (and ice) and by wind. Other forces are the course of the Colorado River itself, vulcanism, continental drift and slight variations in the Earth's orbit.

Timeline time: so, probably about 20 million years ago the Colorado River began to carve into the Grand Canyon at it's eastern end, Marble Canyon, exiting via Kanab Canyon. At 17 million years ago the Colorado Plateau began to uplift and caused the river to cut deeper. After, you can probably guess.....and then all those wonderful trails came to be and visitors travelled far and wide to experience what everyone was talking about!

Some other interesting points of discovery:

  1. There’s an official Grand Canyon webcam on the national park's website. It’s a view looking north from the South Rim

  2. You can hike from one side to the other - 21 miles!

  3. The Canyon was unknown to Europeans until 1540

  4. Lots of people die there:(

  5. It takes five hours to drive from one side of the canyon to the other.

  6. It snows here.

  7. Members of one Native American tribe still live inside the canyon!

  8. You literally don't have to leave the Grand Canyon area once you're there! There are lodges, cabins, grocery stores, hospitals - it's it's own village.