Grand Canyon, Arizona

  By Ron Souza

The Grand Canyon winds for more than 275 miles along the Colorado River in the State of Arizona. In many areas, the canyon spans nearly 18 miles from one side to the other and drops to depths of over 6,000 feet from the plateau above. It is estimated that the canyon began to from more than 17 million years ago when the Colorado River cut its course through the rock.

Although it is called the “Grand Canyon”, it is neither the widest nor deepest canyon in the world. However, it is recognized throughout the world as the most beautiful canyon with its myriad of color and incredible rock formations with exposed areas that date back nearly two billion years.

While many Native American tribes considered the canyon to be a holy site, only a few small settlements were built within the canyon. It wasn’t until 1540 that the first European laid eyes on the canyon. Spanish explorer, Garcia Lopez de Cardenas wrote that he was led to the South Rim by Hopi guides and that one of his soldiers attempted to hike to the bottom but withdrew because of lack of water. It was more than two hundred years before the next non-Native American would see the canyon.

It is thought that between 1540 and the mid 1800s, only a small handful of trappers and missionaries and adventurers had witnessed the majestic wonder of the canyon. A Mormon missionary was sent by Brigham Young to find a river crossing site. With the help of Native Americans, Jacob Hamblin established both Lee’s Ferry and Pierce Ferry in 1858. He also assisted John Wesley Powell during his second expedition to the canyon.

The Grand Canyon was established as the 17th National Park by an act of Congress in 1919. In 1963, the Glen Canyon Dam was built up river from the canyon. Over the years this has had a devastating effect on the eco-balance of the canyon’s plant and animal life. In 2008 the park administration, with the approval of the government, attempted to help restore the ecological balance by releasing flood waters from the dam and raising the level of water in the river. It is yet to be determined if this has worked.

RV Travel to the Grand Canyon is a great way to reunite with nature. The spectacular scenery alone is well worth the visit and if you have the time, there is a lot to do. Several landmark buildings exist along the South Rim and one of them is Buckey O’Neill Cabin which was built in the late 1800s. This cabin is the oldest continually standing structure on the South Rim.

The Kolb Studio was built in 1904 and served as a base for working photographers Ellsworth and Emery Kolb. The building currently houses a gallery for art and exhibits.

John Verkamp built his souvenir and art store in 1905 and his relatives continued its operation until 2008. It is now a visitor’s center with exhibits and information on the history of the local community and its relationship with the canyon.

A Good Sam Club RV park with great Camping Discounts for members is only a short distance from the canyon. This will be your base for exploration and adventure in one of the most spectacularly scenic locations in the world. Whether you decide to take a raft ride down the rapids of the Colorado River, take a mule trek to the depths of the canyon or just have your own photo shoot from outcroppings and overlooks, RV Travel to the Grand Canyon will be a memory that will last forever.

Visiting Arizona soon? Find a Good Sam Park in Arizona.