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Grand Canyon, AZ

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Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park Day View

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Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park Sunset View

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Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park Winter View

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When it comes to the Grand Canyon, there are statistics, and there are sensations. While the former are impressive—the canyon measures in at an average width of 10 miles, length of 277 river miles, and depth of 1 mile—they don't truly prepare you for that first impression. Seeing the canyon for the first time is an astounding experience—one that's hard to wrap your head around. In fact, it's more than an experience, it's an emotion, one that’s only just beginning to be captured with the word "Grand." Hike or ride a trusty mule down into the canyon, bike or ramble along its rim, fly over, or raft through on the Colorado River—there are manifold ways to soak up the canyon's magnificence.Roughly 5 million visitors come to the park each year. You can access the canyon via two main points—the South Rim and the North Rim—but the South Rim is much easier to get to and therefore much more visited. The width from the North Rim to the South Rim varies from 600 feet to 18 miles, but traveling between rims by road requires a 215-mile drive. Hiking arduous trails from rim to rim is a steep and strenuous trek of at least 21 miles, but it's well worth the effort. You'll travel through five of North America's seven life zones. (To do this any other way, you'd have to journey from the Mexican desert to the Canadian woods.) West of Grand Canyon National Park, the tribal lands of the Hualapai and the Havasupai lie along the so-called West Rim of the canyon, where you'll find the impressive glass Skywalk.

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Things You Can't Miss

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Leave the Driving to Us
Leave the Driving to Us

The Hermit Road shuttle bus helps visitors avoid traffic and provides easy access to some of the South Rim’s most beautiful vistas and hiking trails.

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NPS/Alamy

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Geology 101
Geology 101

Visit the museum at Yavapai Point for displays on the canyon’s formation. A ranger-led program will give you insight; the sunset will give you a thrill.

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Alamy

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An Overall Look on Desert View Drive
An Overall Look on Desert View Drive

Following the South Rim for 25 miles, this route passes some of the park’s most famous panoramas, including Grandview Point and Moran Point.

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Image Credit

Getty Images

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10 Terrific National Park Hikes

These 10 hikes will take you to some of the most spectacular spots our parks have to offer.

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Istock

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A Four-Legged Ride Into the Inner Canyon
A Four-Legged Ride Into the Inner Canyon

A guided mule ride makes a journey into Grand Canyon a far less taxing experience — especially the trip back up. Advance reservations are a must.

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Image Credit

Marianna Day Massey/ZUMA/Corbis

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National Parks Guide

Get information on national parks throughout America.

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Getty Images

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Don’t Miss the Manmade Sights
Don’t Miss the Manmade Sights

Admire the rustic design of the historic 1905 El Tovar Hotel, where Theodore Roosevelt and Albert Einstein stayed. You also can stay — or just dine.

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Image Credit

Whit Richardson/Alamy

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9 Big Holes That Aren’t the Grand Canyon

Want to avoid the Grand Canyon crowds? Consider visiting Meteor Crater, the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania and other gorges across America.

Image Credit

Jonathan Blair/National Geographic Creative

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Escape the Crowds: Try the North Rim
Escape the Crowds: Try the North Rim

Only 10 percent of visitors get to the canyon’s north side, where attractions include fantastic panoramas at Bright Angel Point and Cape Royal.

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