Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Grand Canyon National Park celebrates its centennial

Magnificent colors of the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2019. So this is the perfect time to visit this widely visited national park.  Its jaw-dropping views draw in more than six million visitors annually, and these will be highlighted with diverse historical, cultural, and natural public events throughout the year.
The Colorado River cuts through the canyon.
Grand Canyon is a favorite destination for families, adventure enthusiasts, and travelers from all over the world. On the popular South Rim, there are many shuttle stops that allow visitors to see and marvel at the deep and rugged canyon and ribbon of Colorado River at the bottom. (I’ve taken an amazing 10-day journey braving the river’s rapids and camping along the river).

Hikers may try reaching the bottom at Phantom Ranch, a nine-mile trek down. However long that takes, be prepared for the trip back up to take triple the amount of time. Or ride a mule down, which is quite an unusual experience.
Sunrise and sunset are the best times for such striking views.
For an especially scenic splurge, consider taking a helicopter flight over the canyon. You’ll see an awe-inspiring perspective of this geological wonder. Take advantage of park ranger talks and guided walks that are available most days and in various locations. Experience the wonders of night skies during summertime star parties, or rise early to watch sunrise paint a golden portrait on the canyon walls. Sunrise and sunset are especially great times to observe how changing light illuminates the canyon’s walls, revealing changing contours, colors, and depths of this incredible wonder.

View of Grand Canyon from a helicopter.
The North Rim offers different views and is only open during summer months as its elevation results in colder temperatures and snow for many months of the year.
On the Western side is a Skywalk that allows visitors to stand above the canyon on a glass viewing platform, and they can take a zip line across the canyon for a bird’s eye view. Additionally, in 2019 the centennial celebration will bring special events, festivities, demonstrations, special exhibits, and travel deals including the Grand Canyon Centennial Star Party in June.  So be sure to check online or with your travel agent and book early if there are specific events you don’t want to miss.
The North Rim is extremely rugged and has higher elevation.
Shadows are long in the afternoon.
On February 26, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill that officially created Grand Canyon National Park, the country’s 17th. With this act the famous landscape and archaeological artifacts left behind by Native American tribes will be protected and preserved for generations.

Called one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is a mile deep, 277 miles long, and up to 18 miles wide. Few places on earth are as majestic and awe-inspiring as the Grand Canyon. If you haven't been there, this is a great year to go. Or go again, if you have.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier


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