After our stop at the Hoover Dam, we followed the Colorado River to visit one of the world’s premier natural attractions: the Grand Canyon!
The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the state of Arizona in the United States. It is contained within and managed by Grand Canyon National Park, the Kaibab National Forest, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, the Hualapai Tribal Nation, the Havasupai Tribe and the Navajo Nation. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery.
The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet or 1.857 meters).
I was looking forward to the Grand Canyon since we started to plan this trip. When I was a child, there was an IMAX-documentation about the Grand Canyon I watched several times and every time I was fascinated by its beauty and scenery. Therefore this place has been on my bucket-list for a very long time and also hiking down the Bright Angel Trail. But this journey didn’t work out as expected….
Since spring was already present for a while in San Francisco, we were looking forward to summer with hot temperatures. Back then, we left sunny San Francisco several days ago at 28°F (approx. 26°C) and since we were driving south-east into the desert, we thought it could only get warmer. What nonsense! On our way to the Grand Canyon, we drove through an horrible blizzard and arrived in cold and snowy Tusayan. That was something we weren’t prepared for at all – 24°F (-4°C) and snow till our knees! Due to the bad weather conditions some roads where closed. And since all hiking routes were icy and we would have needed crampons to walk the canyon down and up again, we decided to only to take a walk along the rim where possible.
Therefore we were driving from Tusayan along the South Rim and then further to Page. The South Rim is open all year round weather permitting, the North Rim on the other side is generally only open mid-May to mid-October.
There are several historic buildings located along the South Rim, most of them in the Grand Canyon Village:
- Buckey O’Neill Cabin – built during the 1890s, currently used as a guest house
- Kolb Studio – built in 1904 next to the Bright Angel Trail by the photographers Ellsworth and Emery Kolb, serves now as an art gallery and exhibit
- El Tovar Hotel – built in 1905, moste luxurious lodging on the South Rim
- Hopi House – built in 1905 on the structures of an ancient Hopi settlement
- Verkamp’s Curios – also built in 1905 next to the Hopi House, now a visitor center focusing on the history of the Grand Canyon Village community
- Desert View Watchtower – completed in 1932 and designed by American architect Mary Colter, murals by Fred Kabotie