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Grand Canyon Village
F A Q !

Grand Canyon Frequently Asked Questions!


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Can I fish in the Grand Canyon?

You bet! Fishing in the National Park requires an Arizona state fishing license. Licenses are available at the General Store (call 520-638-2234 or 520-638-2262) in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim.

I used to always bring my collapsible fishing pole with me. The Colorado River and lower portions of Bright Angel Creek, Nankoweap Creek, and Tapeats Creak are good for fishing.

March is one of the best months to fish, the trout will come up the creeks and shallows to spawn. The Colorado River, with it's cold water, is one of the best trout streams in the world! Most of the fish are Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout. I have never been able to catch a Brown, but have caught many Rainbows. I have used various lures and spinners. You can't go wrong with  - catch and release, or prepare them up for your group's dinner!

Longitude and Latitude

Grand Canyon Village         36 03 20N   112 08 20W
Phantom Ranch                 36 06 00N   112 05 45W

Airline Disaster

It was 1956. I am not sure of the day. Two airliners, a TWA Super Constellation with 70 aboard, and a United DC-7 with 58 aboard collided over the Grand Canyon. They both left LA about the same time. At least one of the planes was bound for New York. They collided about 21,000'. One report speculated that the TWA plane flew into the path of the United one trying to avoid a storm, other speculation was that they were both off course to sightsee the Canyon. Weather was actually relatively good on that day. All the wreckage of both planes was found within a mile of each other. Army helicopter crews and even Swiss mountain climbers were brought in to remove the bodies. The 67 TWA victims are buried in Flagstaff. Others are buried, or at least a memorial is at the Grand Canyon Cemetery. At the time this was the worst aviation disaster in aviation history. Both aircraft represented the last generation of the great piston engine, propeller driven airliners.

Who was the first European to see The Grand Canyon?

The first Europeans to view the Canyon were a detachment of conquistadors from Coronado's gold-seeking expedition in 1540. Having learned of a "great river" from the Hopi, the explorers thought that it might be the fabled Northwest Passage to India. The first sighting of the Grand Canyon by a
European is credited to Don Pedro Tovar, a Captain in the Francisco Coronado expedition of 1540. Later, two Spanish priests, Francisco Domínguez and Silvestre Vélez de Escalante, visited Marble Canyon in 1776.

When and Why Did Grand Canyon Become a National Park?

Grand Canyon is unmatched throughout the world in the incomparable vistas it offers to visitors on the rim. It is not the deepest canyon in the world - both the Barranca del Cobre in northern Mexico and Hell's Canyon in Idaho are deeper, just to name two, but the Grand Canyon is known throughout the world for its overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape.

Geologically it is significant because of the thick sequence of ancient rocks that are beautifully preserved and exposed in the walls of the canyon. These rock layers record much of the early geological history of the North American continent.

Finally, it is one of the most spectacular examples of erosion in the world. Although first afforded Federal protection in 1893 as a Forest Reserve and later as a National Monument, Grand Canyon did not achieve National Park status until 1919, three years after the creation of the National Park Service.

Today Grand Canyon National Park receives close to five million visitors each year, almost too many! Grand Canyon became a national park in order to give it the best protection the nation can offer.

The mission of the National Park Service, here and elsewhere, is to preserve the park and all of its features, including the processes that created them, and to provide for the enjoyment of the park by visitors in a way that will leave the canyon unspoiled for future generations. Lets hope the republicans don’t cut funding!

Are the Oldest Rocks in the World Exposed at Grand Canyon?

No. Although the oldest rocks at Grand Canyon are 2000 million years old. The oldest rocks in the world are almost 4000 million years old. The oldest exposed rocks in North America, which are among the oldest rocks in the world, are in northern Canada.

How Old Is the Canyon?

That's a tricky question. Although rocks exposed in the walls of the canyon are geologically quite old, the Canyon itself is a fairly young feature. The oldest rocks at the canyon bottom are close to 2000 million years old. The Canyon itself - an erosional feature - has formed only in the past five or six million years. Geologically speaking, Grand Canyon is very young.

How Big Is It?

It’s Big! The park includes over a million acres of land 1,218,375.54 acres or 493,077 hectares, to be exact, or 1,904 square miles or 4931 square kilometers. But most people measure the canyon in river miles, along the course of the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon. By that standard, Grand Canyon is 277 miles long. It begins at Lees Ferry, mile 0 and ends at the Grand Wash Cliffs, mile 277.

The Colorado River is 1450 miles / 2333 km long from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to the Gulf of California in Mexico. Little of the water reaches the Gulf of California!

Grand Canyon is only one of many beautiful canyons which the river has carved. Others include Cataract Canyon and Glen Canyon, which is now below the waters of Lake Powell. Most people agree, however, that Grand Canyon is the most spectacular. There's simply no other place in the world that looks quite like it.

Width and depth of the Canyon vary from place to place. At the South Rim, near Grand Canyon Village, it's about 5,000 feet / 1524 m) from rim to river, 7 miles / 11.3 km by trail, if you're walking).

At its deepest, it is 6000 vertical feet / 1829 km from rim to river. The width of the canyon at Grand Canyon Village is 10 miles / 16 km rim to rim, though in places it is as much as 18 miles / 29 km wide.

A trip to the bottom of the Canyon and back on foot is a two-day journey for most people. Rim-to-rim hikers generally take three days one way to get from the North Rim to the South Rim. A trip through Grand Canyon by raft can take two weeks or longer by an oar powered boat, and experienced backpackers have spent months in the more remote areas of the Canyon.

Can I bring my dog along with me if I hike into the canyon?

No. Pets are not allowed below the rim. Pets must be physically restrained at all times. Leashed pets are allowed on the rim trails throughout the developed areas in the park but not below the rim. The only exception is certified service dogs. Persons wishing to take a service dog below the rim must check in first at the Ranger Office at the corner of Center Road and Village Loop Drive. There is a kennel behind Maswick Lodge.

How do I take a mule ride?

Mule rides from the South Rim are arranged through Grand Canyon National Park Lodges 303-297-2757. It is a 2-day round-trip to the Colorado River at the canyon bottom. A one-day trip is also offered which goes part way to the river. Overnight riders stay and eat at Phantom Ranch. Mule trips may be booked 11 months in advance and fill up early. A waiting list is maintained for cancellations, but chances of obtaining reservations on the waiting list are slim. If you wish to make a trip into the canyon on mule, plan ahead! There are restrictions: mule riders must be over 4 feet 7 inches in height, weigh less than 200 lbs (91K)and cannot be pregnant. Mule riders must be able to understand English. Please note that all pre-paid reservations must be claimed in person at the Bright Angel Lodge Transportation Desk ONE HOUR prior to departure. Unclaimed reservations are subject to resale.

Can I stay or have a meal at Phantom Ranch?

Sure! But they bookup fast. Call the AMFAC switchboard at the canyon, 928-638-2631, then ask for the Bright Angel Transportation desk. They have overnight cabins and bunks. The Ranch also serves breakfast, and a steak or stew dinner. The Cantina is open after dinner for a social hour.

What will my User fee money be used for? Is it worth the money?

  • Expanded hours of coverage at the Backcountry Office, which for the last several years due to budget cuts has been open only 4 hours each day. We will now be open 8 hours each day, 7 days a week.
  • The Backcountry Office will now accept permit requests by FAX. To transmit your completed backcountry permit request by FAX dial 520-638-2125. We are also evaluating the pros and cons of receiving requests via the Internet.
  • Install improved educational displays at the Backcountry Office aimed at two very important messages: Hiker Safety (our effort to reduce the number of serious heat-related emergencies which occur in the canyon each year) and "Leave No Trace" (camping techniques intended to reduce impacts).
  • A educational video on the same two themes which will be issued to all users who obtain their permits through the mail.
  • Additional seasonal rangers will be utilized to patrol backcountry trails and provide a high level of protection to sensitive areas, including archaeological sites, which have been impacted from backcountry use.
  • As part of the park's Preventative Search and Rescue Program, ranger assistants will be stationed at trailheads and along trails in the summer months, in an additional effort to prevent heat-related illness and provide assistance to hikers in need.
  • Funds will be dedicated to improved monitoring of impacts from backcountry use and to fund additional rehabilitation projects -- necessary to fulfill our mandate to "preserve and protect for future generations" - and continue to allow use at current levels.

Can I get married at the Grand Canyon?

Many of my best friends were married on the South Rim! On the South Rim Shoshone Point is open for weddings and other outings and may be reserved in advance. Shoshone Point is about a mile east of Yaki point on the East Rim Drive. There is a gate and a short trip down a dirt raod to the rim. There are a few picnic tables and a fire ring. It is a wonderful place for a wedding.

Of course there are other nice places for the ceremony.

You can call Grand Canyon National Park at (520) 638-7888 for more information.

North Rim Winter Use

During the winter season (approximately late October through mid May), a Backcountry Permit is required for overnight use of the North Rim from the park's northern boundary to Bright Angel Point on the Canyon Rim.

Winter access is by hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing. Highway 67 is closed at Jacob Lake and it is a nice 40x miles cross-country skiing to the Rim, and then a wonderful hike across to the South Rim. Permittees are allowed to camp at-large between the park's north boundary and the North Kaibab trailhead but not at the trailhead itself. Between the North Kaibab trailhead and the Bright Angel Point area, camping is permitted only at the North Rim Campground group campsite. Conveniences include a portable toilet, a   freeze-proof water spigot some distance from the campground, and the pay-phones remain connected. Human waste cannot be buried in the snow over areas that will be in view of summer users.

When do the Monsoons start?

The monsoons for Flagstaff and Grand Canyon start about July 7 and go to about September 7 on an average year. The can, however, start and end early or late.

Do you have any information on the rim to rim run?

The rim to rim run across the Grand Canyon has always been regarded as an adventure runners great challenge. Not sanctioned by the Park Service, the annual event is held each October, unofficially. In 1981 the quest for canyon speed-hiking records begins in earnest with Allyn Cureton's three hour, six minute North rim - to - South rim traverse. The 20.6 mile, 10,550 vertical foot record stands to this day.

For the toughest of the tough, runners run back to the South Rim, completing a rim to rim to rim!

Allyn Cureton of Williams, AZ also holds the record of under 8 hours for the double crossing.

Ultrarunning Magazine lists Allyn Cureton, 64 years old today, of Williams, AZ holds the records:

Single Crossing (N. Kaibab - S. Kaibab) on 10-4-81 in 3:06:47 (20.6 mi.)

Double Crossing (S. to N. to S. Kaibab) on 11-9-81 in 7:51:23 (41.2 mi. ca. 12,000' elev. gain)

Note that these two records were established in the second from last year that the National Park allowed organized running events.

I have only been able to verify a few people doing three or four times across non-stop.  

Double Crossing:

Phillip Lowry from Springville, Utah has done 15 R to R to R !

Double Double Crossing

For the four times across Double Double Crossing (Kaibab trails)
in 10/87 Wally Shiel in 24:45:00 (82.4 mi., ca. 24,000' elev. gain)
Dana Miller from Parowan, Utah did the double double (80+ miles) on 11/3/1994 in about the same time as Shiel.

There have been a number of folks try to break Allyn's records and they were hammered.  Note that Allyn was 44 years old when he set these records.

The activities described in this web site are potentially dangerous. Canyoneering, rock climbing, and mountaineering involve unavoidable risks including the risk of serious bodily injury and death. All forms of wilderness recreation have a higher level of risk than most ordinary activities. The owner and publisher of this web site do not assume any responsibility or liability for your safety. Those who use this information, and those who venture onto mountainous terrain, do so at their own risk. Disclaimer

All contents of all pages Copyright ©  1997 / 2006  by Mike Mahanay. All Rights Reserved

Much of Treks is a compilation of various contributors!
Do you have any off trail stories, hikes, or descriptions you would like to add?

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