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History and nature meet at the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the few locations in the country where visitors can enjoy the breath-taking backdrop of natural beauty while also learning interesting facts and discovering the historical value of the area.

Depending on what time of the year you decide to visit the Grand Canyon, you will find various options to pick from while visiting one of the world’s greatest treasures. The Grand Canyon is split into two rims, the Northern and Southern Rims, which are open mid-May to mid-October and year-round, respectively. Each rim has miles of hiking terrain with amazing and one-of-a-kind backdrops for photo opportunities, so you may want to use a digital camera with plenty of extra memory to capture the trip.

First time visitors of the Grand Canyon should be warned:any photos or videos of the Grand Canyon do no justice to how large, colorful or deep the Grand Canyon truly is. The Grand Canyon is almost too pretty to be real, and half of the time you’re left wondering how long it’s taken for something of that magnitude was created.

Visiting the Grand Canyon does not require you to be in tiptop shape. As a matter of fact, the Southern Rim of the Canyon has nearly flat paths and walkways that are wheelchair accessible. There are some smaller, steeper paths for the more adventurous individuals, but are not recommended by the park rangers.

More adventuresome hikers can venture beyond the brim of the canyon, hiking into the depths of the canyon. Rangers recommend that any hikers going into the canyon plan for an at least two-day excursion, as it takes five hours to hike into the canyon, and at least double that to make it back up.

For everyone’s safety, permits are required for camping in the canyon, and hikers can also book a stay at the Grand Canyon Village, which must be booked over a year in advance.

While the weather on the rim is pleasant, the temperature jumps several degrees per foot down into the canyon, so plenty of water and salty foods are recommended when hiking down into the canyon.

For those who want to venture into the canyon, but aren’t as athletic as necessary for the journey, can book a mule for the trip down. These animals, which are sturdy, stocky beasts that have made the journey for at least a century, can easily carry down individuals to the village below.

There are several historical buildings that have been a part of the Grand Canyon’s history for over 100 years. The historical El Tovar Hotel, with its large porches and rustic décor, has been at the mouth of the Southern Rim since 1905. In the past, the Hotel has hosted such luminaries as Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Western author Zane Grey, and many others.

While the hotel has received upgrades in 2005, it manages to keep its old world charms, almost pulling visitors back to another time. There are new lodges that have sprouted along the Grand Canyon’s edge, but they don’t offer the same charm that is found in El Tovar.

The El Tovar Hotel is also home to restaurants, shops, museums and views that can’t be found anywhere else on the canyon’s brim, so be aware that if you plan on visiting this location, you will not be alone. As a matter of fact, humans will more than likely be visited by squirrels, chipmunks, and a few endangered condors, which are interested in sneaking a snack from the human camp.

As you roam the Grand Canyon’s rim, you may spot a wall opening, which may be either a mining shaft or an Indian hideaway, according to park rangers. There have been several civilizations that have been impressed by the Grand Canyon’s majesty, and each has left their mark on the area. Museums near the edge of the Grand Canyon go into great detail about the earliest settlers of the Grand Canyon, and how it came to be one of the most commonly visited locations of the world.

The Grand Canyon Park also offers convenient free shuttle buses, which connect the lodges with restaurants, shops, visitor centers, scenic overlooks and trailheads, making any view accessible to any tourist.

The Grand Canyon has plenty to see and do, and visitors will find themselves falling in love with all that the great canyon has to offer.

For more information on the Grand Canyon, go to http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm.

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