Things to Know Before You Visit Grand Canyon National Park

 In northern Arizona a vast landscape is surviving for more than 1000s of years, it’s one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. The Grand Canyon, a gorge formed by the Colorado River, is widely regarded as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the WorldUNESCO recognized the Grand Canyon as a World Heritage Site in 1979.  

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The Park encompasses the canyon and its surrounding rim. Furthermore, two Indian reservations border the canyon’s southern end: the Havasupai Indian Reservation and the Hualapai Indian Reservation. The South Rim has been the most famous and best equipped to handle the millions of people that visit each year.

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The endangered California Condor is arguably the park’s most famous wildlife. Occasionally, they can be spotted soaring near Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. Whereas, Mule Deer are quite frequent in the park. The national park and the surrounding Kaibab National Forest are home to some of the biggest Elkin North America.

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And, Desert Big Horn Sheep are occasionally seen, mostly in the inner canyon. Visitors frequently see Coyote no matter where they are in the park. Mountain Lions and Bobcats are two more predators that can be spotted in the park. However, Black Bears are rare and prefer to avoid populated areas.

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The Abert’s Squirrel, with its tufted ears, is a favorite of visitors. They appear to be friendly and prefer to beg for food behind the Bright Angel Lodge. But pay attention to the signals and avoid the desire. Squirrel bites are one of the most frequent injuries in the park and they may spread the plague, rabies, and other diseases. Occasionally, Striped Skunk and the rare Western Spotted Skunk can be encountered usually at lower elevations.

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The Grand Canyon Rattlesnake is one of the most dangerous snakes in the park; with its reddish color, it contrasts with the canyon’s rocky landscape. Rattlesnakes are more afraid of you than you are of them and they will mostly avoid any contact with humans. The majority of rattlesnake victims are young men who are chasing or attempting to capture a snake.

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Hiking in the Grand Canyon is unlike any other region in the world; all hikers should take trail warnings carefully. Temperatures in the canyon can range from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit depending on elevation and time of day. The most difficult part of a trek is always the end, which means that if you run out of water, you will have heat stroke, and if you are exhausted, you may not be able to return to the trailhead. A sufficient amount of water should be taken on the path. Over 250 individuals are rescued each year as a result of underestimating the heat and difficulties.

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The most popular hiking trail in the parks is the Bright Angel Trail which begins close to the Bright Angel Lodge. This route descends the canyon wall in a seemingly never-ending sequence of switchbacks until leveling off around the oasis of Indian Gardens. Most hikers will only cover a part of this trail, and the park recommends that day hikers never explore beyond Indian Gardens.

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The next trail in the park is South Kaibab Trail, which begins at Yaki Point and follows a ridgeline into the canyon, making it significantly steeper than the Bright Angel Trail. The views are stunning and wide-open since the path follows a ridge, but the wonderful landscape comes at a cost: There is practically no shade to protect trekkers from the heat, and there is less plant and animal life due to a lack of natural water sources. Hikers should be aware that there is no water along this path and should be prepared for harsh weather. Especially during the summer treks, this may be quite dangerous.

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Hermit Trail is another well-known trail. The rocky steep trail leads from the south to the river, through fossil reptile tracks and abandoned campsites from the start of the 20th century. The trailhead is located just past Hermit’s Rest and is reachable via shuttle bus. There is no water along this trail, and there is very little shade in the heat. Dripping Springs and Santa Maria Spring are also accessible through this hike.

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Another steep rocky trail is the Grandview Trail that goes down the South Rim to Horseshoe Mesa and Cottonwood Creek but does not reach the Colorado River. The route begins at Grandview Point and goes down to Horseshoe Mesa, where mining remnants like ore crushers and cottages may still be seen. The trail eventually descends to Cottonwood Creek, which is generally dry year-round. Campgrounds may be found on both the North and South Rims. 

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Reservations are strongly advised, especially at the busy South Rim. Kaibab National Forest contains several undeveloped campsites outside of the park, and “at large” camping is permitted for up to 14 days. Check for closures and campfire restrictions due to the extreme drought conditions. Any camping below the Grand Canyon’s rim needs a backcountry permit. Permits must be obtained through the Grand Canyon National Park’s Backcountry Country Office.

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Because there is minimal water accessible within the canyon, hikers should plan on bringing enough water with them. Every backcountry user will be asked to understand the guidelines of leaving no trace. If you want to visit the Grand Canyon National Park this summer, expect long lines, crowded parking lots, and crowded circumstances. Some of the public health precautions in place include capacity restrictions, temporary closures, and modified operations. For more information regarding reservations and bookings visit the parks’ official website.

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