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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in grand canyon
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Grand Canyon National Park is a United States National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is located entirely in northern Arizona and is one of the great tourist attractions in the United States. There are two ways to approach the Canyon: the remote North Rim and the more accessible (and therefore more crowded) South Rim. Both areas have several options for camping, as well as hotels and restaurants. Expect all of these facilities to be overflowing with visitors during the busy summer season. Fall, spring, and winter are all great times to visit the Grand Canyon.
The Canyon is an overwhelming experience, and nothing can prepare a visitor for the sight; superlatives often fail to do the landscape justice. The Grand Canyon is a massive canyon carved over several million years by the Colorado River. Grand Canyon National Park boasts an elevation change of nearly 7,000 feet from Point Imperial (at nearly 9,000 feet) to the banks of Lake Mead (at just over 2,000 feet). The canyon itself is, from rim to river over a mile (5,280 feet) deep. In spots the rock layers exposed in the canyon display over two billion years of geologic history. There is no way that mere words can describe the place. You just have to see it.
The park was founded as Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, and became a national park in 1919. Today the park contains over 1.2 million acres, slightly less than the entire state of Delaware, and in 2004 received more than 4.3 million visitors.
Flora and fauna
Temperatures and weather within the park vary greatly by location. Temperature's on the North Rim are often 20 to 30 degrees (F) cooler than at the river. This is a land of extremes. It can be snowing at the rim, while others are comfortable sunbathing at the the river. Conversely, it can be cool and comfortable at the rim in the summer, while temperatures at the river exceed 120. It is not unusual for local canyon guides to encounter neophite hikers in desperate shape. Some die. An unusual number of fatalities occur among young males who overestimate their abilities.
The majority of visitors to the South Rim of the park arrive from the south on Arizona highway 64 North (AZ64N) (conjoined with US highway 180). Alternately, one can enter the south rim from the east on AZ64.
For the south entrance: from Flagstaff, you can take US hwy 180 (US180) northwest to Valle where it joins with AZ64N, and continue north to the south rim; or take I-40 west toward Williams to the junction with AZ64N and continue north to the south rim. Both routes are approximately 80 miles. The approx 60 miles on US180 is a narrow 2-lane mountain road through a heavily forested area. The I-40 west is a wide multi-lane interstate for approx 20 miles, to AZ64N route which is a slightly wider, less mountainous 2-lane highway, and the recommended route during winter weather.
For the east entrance, take US89 south from Page AZ or north from Flagstaff to the junction with AZ64 at Cammeron. It is approx 25 miles from the junction to the east entrance of the park, and approx 25 miles from the east entrance to the south rim village area.
Visitors to the North Rim use highway Alt-89 to highway 67 (closed in winter).
Several commercial tour buses run from Flagstaff, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles to both rims. Open Road Toursruns (http://www.openroadtours.com) a daily shuttle service to the south rim from both Phoenix and Flagstaff, as well as offering guided tours. Angel's Gate Tours (http://www.angelsgatetours.com) offers day tours, day hiking excursions, and overnight backpacking trips in the canyon.
There is a small airport located just outside of the South Rim entrance in the town of Tusayan, but most visitors will fly into the larger airports in Flagstaff, Phoenix, or Las Vegas.
The Grand Canyon Railway operates a steam locomotive from the town of Williams to the Grand Canyon Village, within easy walking distance of accommodations. The train features restored Pullman cars and has a staged old west style shootout. However, the Grand Canyon is not visible from the train. It is simply another option for traveling to the canyon.
All private vehicles entering the Grand Canyon must pay a $20 entrance fee, which is good for seven days. Individuals on foot or on a bike must pay a $10 entrance fee, also good for seven days. Those holding a National Park Pass ($50, good for one year) do not need to pay any entrance fee. A Golden Age pass ($10, good for life) is available to US citizens 62 and older.
Some of the view points are reachable by car, park service shuttle, motorcoach tour or on foot. You can go into the canyon by horse (on the Havasupai reservation), by mule (through guided tours from Xanterra (http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com)), on foot or by boat. From March through November the West Rim Drive is not accessible to most private vehicles (handicap vehicles may request a variance at the entry gate). The park service runs a shuttle during this time. The shuttles are frequent, but long lines form during the busy summer months.
Trans Canyon Shuttle an independent shuttle service runs between the North and the South Rim (No website, Tel 1.928.638.2820).
Located only ten miles from the South Rim by air, the North Rim is a 215 mile (five hour) drive from Grand Canyon Village. At 8,000 feet the elevation of the North Rim is approximately 1,000 feet higher than the South Rim, and as a result features more coniferous trees and cooler temperatures. The roads to the North Rim are open only during the summer (from approx May 15 to the first fall snow fall), and with far fewer visitors this area can be a great place to enjoy the peace and majesty of the canyon.
Havasupai Indian Reservation
A popular destination in the canyon lies southwest of the park on the Havasupai Indian Reservation (http://www.havasupaitribe.com/). Havasupai can be loosly translated as "People of the Blue-Green Water". Entry into this remote portion of the canyon requires a $20 per person entry fee (plus an additional $10 per person/night to stay in the campground). Those venturing into Havasu Canyon are greeted by spectacular world class waterfalls. Although the Havasupai Reservation is somewhat impacted (trashy), the incredible canyon below the Supai Village is worth the visit. Access to Havasu Canyon is from Hualapai Hilltop north of Peach Springs, Arizona. It is an eight mile hike or horse back ride to Supai Village. Helicopter transportation to and from the village is available on a first come basis four days a week. An extremely rustic lodge is the only public accommodation available in Supai. A large mile long campground is located two miles down canyon inbetween Havasu and Mooney Falls. This campground can be extremely crowded in the summer months advance reservations are strongly recommended.
All types of tourist trinkets relating to the Grand Canyon, native American Indians, and the American Southwest are available in shops in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. The South Rim is overflowing with shopping options. The North Rim has only one shop for postcards, T-shirts, etc.
Additional Cafeterias are located in the Maswik and Yavapai Lodges. There is a grocery deli at Market Plaza inside the grocery store, as well. Just outside the park, in the gateway community of Tusayan, are a number of dining selections. McDonalds and Wendy's are available for those who are looking for a quick meal. But fast food patrons beware! Canyon residents boast the second most expensive McDonalds in the country.
There are a variety of hotels, lodges, and campgrounds both inside and outside of the park on both the North and South Rims.
The following lodges are located inside Grand Canyon National Park, reservations can be made by contacting Xanterra (http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com).
Maswik and Yavapai Lodges are located away from the rim, and are generally considered budget and/or last minute accommodations.
Just outside the South Rim - Tusayan
Campgrounds are located at both the North and South Rims. Reservations are highly recommended, especially at the busier South Rim. Outside of the park, Kaibab National Forest has numerous undeveloped campsites. Since these sites are undeveloped be prepared to bring in (and out) everything that you'll need.
Any camping below the rim in Grand Canyon requires a backcountry permit (http://www.nps.gov/grca/backcountry/index.htm). Permits must be obtained through the Backcountry Country Office (BCO) at Grand Canyon National Park. Permits are currently not available online or via telephone. They are only available in person, by fax or by mail.
Permits are limited to protect the canyon, and become available on the 1st day of the month, four months prior to the start month. Thus, a backcountry permit for any start date in May becomes available on January 1. Space for the most popular areas, such as the Bright Angel Campground adjacent to Phantom Ranch, generally fill up by the requests received on first date they are opened to reservations.
There are a number of outfitters that provide fully guided backpacking trips (including permits and gear) at Grand Canyon.
There is limited water available within the canyon, so backpackers should plan on carrying sufficient water with them.
All backcountry users are asked to follow "Leave no Trace" principles.
Do not attempt to hike to the bottom of the canyon and back in one day. Hundreds of hikers each year have to be rescued from the Inner Canyon due to exhaustion and dehydration. While the temperature on the canyon rim is cool due to its elevation, below the rim it can be very hot. The vertical distance to the bottom is about 1500m - that's 1.5 kilometers of vertical distance alone to climb back out. Remember that it is the opposite to climbing 1500m up a mountain. On a mountain climb you can stop and turn back when you get tired, knowing the the descent will be much easier. The canyon is a seducer - it feels ok hiking down into the canyon but when you come back up you find that you have over-extended yourself. The bottom of the canyon may be half-way in terms of distance, but in terms of exertion you have only just started. If you go to the bottom of the canyon, spend the night, and take enough food, water, shelter, and other backcountry camping equipment to keep yourself safe and sound. If you don't have the equipment, don't go.
Even for short walks into the canyon you must remember that it will be much harder going back up. Do not keep going until you feel tired. You need to stop well before that to be sure you can get out ok.