The Grand Canyon is a massive canyon carved over several million years by the Colorado River. Grand Canyon National Park boasts an elevation change of nearly 7,000 feet from Point Imperial at nearly 9,000 feet to the banks of Lake Mead at just over 2,000 feet. The canyon itself is, from rim to river over a mile deep. In spots the rock layers exposed in the canyon display over two billion years of geologic history. There is no way that mere words can describe the place. You just have to see it.
At the canyon’s bottom flows the Colorado River. The river begins in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and runs 1,450 miles to the Gulf of California in Mexico. The canyon is measured by river miles — the 277 miles that flow from Lees Ferry to the Grand Wash Cliffs. Just how long is 277 miles? That’s more than six times the length of Rhode Island and about the same length of Indiana.
No dams exist within Grand Canyon National Park, although dams bordering the park have a profound effect on the canyon. At the upper end of the canyon, 15 miles above Lees Ferry, is Lake Powell, formed by the waters behind Glen Canyon Dam. This dam was completed in 1963. At the lower end of the canyon is Lake Mead, formed by the waters behind Hoover Dam. This dam was completed in 1936.
Grand Canyon National Park contains more than 1 million acres of land. Not all of the most beautiful is right along the Colorado River. Sometimes you’ll want to hike up a bit into a side canyon. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is remote; located far from cities, towns and highways, allowing the Kaibab Plateau to remain pristine and primitive. The North Rim is 85 miles from Mount Carmel Junction, which is located on the east side of Zion National Park. Many who visit the National Parks of Southern Utah add the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to their travel plans and those visiting the North Rim of the Grand Canyon often visit Zion National Park.