The Grand Canyon of North America, located in northwestern Arizona, is a huge gorge formed by the Colorado River. It is one of the largest and most beautiful natural wonders on earth. The spectacular chasm in northwestern Arizona captivates five million visitors every year. This bizarre beauty of a unique ecosystem is simply breathtaking, enhancing its most beautiful colors in the setting sun.
A unique natural phenomenon
More than 40 different colored sediment layers (the oldest dating back 1.7 billion years!) take on different shades depending on the angle of the sun. In addition to its geological significance, the Grand Canyon is a vast area that is home to a variety of ecosystems. It is difficult to even imagine the scale of changes that affected the once completely flat plateau. About five to six million years ago, the Colorado Plateau was a flat sandy desert, but then meltwater streams carved out the first channels.
Interesting! Over millions of years, the Colorado River has created a gorge 450 km long, reaching depths in some places up to 1800 meters deep into the earth.
In 1919, Grand Canyon National Park was created. The park now has about 90 species of mammals, 47 reptiles, 355 bird species, 9 amphibians and 17 fish species. The inaccessible steep slopes between the high plateau and the Colorado River deep below are home to desert bighorn sheep, the true conquerors of the Grand Canyon. They easily climb almost every corner of the large gorge.
The vegetation is varied due to large differences in altitude. In total, the park has 1,740 different plant species. The higher elevations are heavily forested, while the canyon is dominated by desert vegetation such as cacti, agave, and sagebrush.
On the north side of the canyon there are vast meadows and pastures. The number of animal species is amazing.
Colorado River. Attractions
The river flows through the desert, penetrating the mountains, creating the Grand Canyon’s global appeal. It continues to crash into its ancient bed today. Rising to a height of 3000 meters, the slope forces her to break through the rock with unbridled strength that seeks its way through the rock. Layer by layer, the Colorado River cuts into the bedrock.
The valley floor lies at an altitude of about 700 meters and descends in several stages. Only a few visitors go inside the canyon. An exciting rafting tour along the rapids of Colorado is part of the tourist program for those who venture on a boat trip in Colorado,
The layers of rock resisted the force of the water, but the softer layers gave way faster and undermined the layers of hard rock above. forming almost vertical walls and overhangs. The famous stepped slopes that mark the valley of the Grand Canyon were created.
Northern and Southern edges
The two sides of the valley bordering the canyon (called the “North Rim” and the “South Rim”) are at different distances. They are located almost 475 km from each other. There are many vantage points from which to admire the impressive views.
The southern part is open all year round and is also the most accessible to tourists. Most tourists go to one of the South Rim observation decks. But only a few tourists get to see the river, which is the real creator of this huge natural spectacle. Because the Colorado River flows about 1,500 meters below the southern edge and is visible only from very few vantage points. Hikes to the river lead through extreme heat and rough terrain.
Additional information ! The northern edge of the gorge is the wilder and less accessible part of the canyon. To admire wildlife and avoid crowds of visitors, the northern region is an ideal choice.
Grand Canyon National Park spans nearly 5,000 square kilometers, and it’s hard to fathom the origins of one of the world’s most remarkable natural creations in the southwestern United States.
Today’s Colorado Plateau is where you can look deep into the Earth. Water washed out depressions in rock deposits, and gradually individual geological layers were deposited on each other by wind and water. At the bottom of the canyon, more than a kilometer deep, flow the Little Colorado and Colorado Rivers. Today you can see with your own eyes what the river has achieved over such a long time. Every day its bed deepens by tenths or hundredths of a millimeter, and the river carries away everything that crosses its path.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE CANYON
Watching the sun rise or set over the largest canyon in the world is an unforgettable experience. You can go down to the very bottom of the canyon, to the emerald green Colorado River. However, the visitor should be aware of the fact that the many pitfalls of this risky adventure are marked with warning signs throughout the park. If you don’t feel in perfect physical shape, it’s better to forget about it immediately! The lower you go into the canyon, the higher the temperature, which often rises to forty at its bottom!
The Grand Canyon has always attracted the attention of adventurers with its infinity. Four hundred and fifty meters below the south rim of the canyon is the Cedar Ridge Lookout. From here there are beautiful views of the depths of the gorge from a completely different point of view than at the edge.
Today, in addition to tourists, this place is also visited by hundreds of fans of various types of adrenaline: flying through the canyon on an ultralight plane, skydiving or even rafting through stormy Colorado,
Further east are the lookouts at Grandview Point, Moran Point and Lipan Point. The last one shows the longest stretch of the Colorado River. Desert View offers stunning scenery that is unparalleled in the world due to its spectacular appeal.
Weather and climate
The deep canyons and rugged terrain greatly influence air circulation, hence many different microclimates occur throughout the canyon.
As for the differences in temperatures between the South and North Rim, they are mostly the same, with a few degrees cooler in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Typically, temperatures increase as altitude decreases.
Low relative humidity and generally clear skies mean the sun’s rays are warming the ground. These same conditions lead to rapid heat loss at night. Consequently, daily temperature differences are large.
Winter precipitation usually falls as snow, but melts before reaching the bottom of the gorge. The northern edge of the canyon with the heaviest snowfalls.
Note! Climatically, the worst time to visit the Grand Canyon is winter. Due to the altitude at which the national park is located, it is indeed very harsh.
Summer is perhaps the best time of year to see the Grand Canyon in its most beautiful scenery.
In the South Rim, moisture for these winter storms typically comes from the North Pacific Ocean. Late spring and early summer are the driest times of the year, with relative humidity often falling below 10% during the day.
Moisture typically approaches the Grand Canyon region from the south or southeast, leading to the monsoon season in late summer. Days often start out clear, but clouds accumulate by mid-morning. Intense heating at ground level creates currents of warm air that rise to create severe thunderstorms when there is sufficient moisture in the air. At times, the rain falling from these storm clouds evaporates before it reaches the ground, appearing as a trailing cloud mist. Intense downpours cause flash floods in the tributaries of the canyon.
It is not easy to say goodbye to the Grand Canyon, which with its magnificence leaves an unforgettable impression on everyone. There is no place on Earth as impressive as the Arizona Canyon.