Perhaps no landscape on Earth is as surprising to the observer as the vast yet intricate face of the Grand Canyon. Over several million years the Colorado River has carved an immense chasm through this arid land. The layers of rock exposed in the canyon walls provide snapshots of the geologic events that shaped the American Southwest.
It is the visual impact of the landscape that impresses most people. The world seems larger here, with sunrises, sunsets, and storms taking on an added dimension to match the landscape. It is a land to humble the soul.
More than 100 years ago people began to realize that if future visitors were to experience the natural wonder of this landscape, the canyon needed protection. In 1919 the U.S. Congress expressed the will of the people by setting aside Grand Canyon National Park. Sixty years later the canyon was declared a World Heritage Site to be preserved and protected, with the assent and support of the entire community of nations, for future generations as one of the greatest treasures of humankind.
South and North Rims Although the South Rim and North Rim are only 10 miles apart as the raven flies, they are separated by more than 215 miles of road. South Rim elevation is about 7,000 feet, with temperatures in the 50s-80s °F in summer and the 20s-50s °F in winter. The North Rim, 1,000 feet higher, is about 10°F cooler than the South Rim. The South Rim is open all year. The North Rim is usually open mid-May to mid-October. Winter snow closes the North Rim and often blankets the South Rim for short periods.