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- GRAND CANYON (ARIZONA) -
A Travelling Days Website

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The South Rim of the Grand Canyon may be reached via highways 89 and 64 from Page and Cameron in the east and by highway 64 from Flagstaff in the south.

The former route skirts a number of canyons through which the Little Colorado River runs on its way to join the Colorado River just before its entrance into the Grand Canyon.

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The maps (acknowledgement to GORP) show the location of the canyon within Arizona (above) and a more detailed map of the South Rim (left) from which most of the pictures in this website were taken.

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The first two pictures show two of the minor canyons along the Little Colorado River which are approached from Highway 64 between Cameron and the east entrance to the Grand Canyon.

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Another way of entering the park is via the Grand Canyon Railway. The railway runs from Williams near Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim.

The environmentalist, John Muir, said "When I first heard of the Santa Fe trains running to the edge of the Grand Canyon of Arizona, I was troubled with thoughts of the disenchantment likely to follow. But last winter, when I saw those trains crawling along through the pines of the Coconino Forest and close up to the brink of the chasm at Bright Angel, I was glad to discover that in the presence of such stupendous scenery they are nothing. The locomotives and trains are mere beetles and caterpillars, and the noise they make is as little disturbing as the hooting of an owl in the lonely woods."

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A Grand Canyon Railway steam train made its first journey to the Grand Canyon on September 17, 1901. Today the train may be hauled by a restored steam locomotive but more often by a diesel loco. The journey takes about two and a quarter hours to complete and around three and a hallf hours are allowed at South Rim before the train commences its return journey. Notable passengers to ride the railway since its inauguration include Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, William Howard Taft, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Clark Gable, Jimmy Durante, Doris Day and, more recently, Microsoft's multi-millionaire, Bill Gates.

The canyon ranges in depth from less than 2,000 feet above sea level at the Grand Wash Cliffs to its highest elevation on the South Rim at 7,498 feet. The North Rim rises to more than 9,000 feet above sea level.

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The road to the Grand Canyon from the Flagstaff is quite unremakable and gives no indication of what lies ahead. Suddenly the immense gorge a mile [1.6kilometres] deep and 18 miles [30 kilometres] across lies before you - staggering sight! Grand Canyon has an area of around 2000 square miles and 277 miles of the Colorado River run through it. Almost 5 million people visit the park each year most going to the South Rim with its easier access and greater facilities. In 1919, the canyon's first year as a designated national park, there were fewer than 45,000 visitors. Most of the park’s 1,904 square miles [4,931.3 square kilometers] are maintained as wilderness. One can walk the park’s many trails or drive to the cool forests of the North Rim where visitors are fewer in number.

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In the Grand Canyon, the river flows at an average speed of 4 miles an hour, has an average width of about 300 feet and reaches a depth of 100 feet. The Colorado River was largely reponsible for developing the canyon. With a total length of around 1400 miles it is one of the great river systems in the United States. It drains an area comprising over 10% of the area of the United States. It is estimated that the river took over five million years to cut the canyon to its present depth. Some of the world's oldest exposed rock, dating back 1.7 billion years, lies at its bottom.

Grand Canyon Page 2
Grand Canyon Page 3