Morning at the CanyonCalm stretch of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon2Dinnertime Lightanother view from the trail

Families will love:

  • Dramatic canyon vistas from the Skywalk, 4,000 feet above the Grand Canyon
  • Hiking into the canyon, if only for a short distance
  • Junior Rangers' badges for kids kids 4 to 14

Located in northern Arizona in what has become one of the U.S.'s most popular National Parks, the Grand Canyon won't disappoint. Despite spring and summer's crowds, the canyon itself still inspires. Created by the uplifting of the Colorado Plateau and the erosion caused by the Colorado River, the canyon is 277 miles long, and, in places, 10 miles wide.

It's not just ... more
Located in northern Arizona in what has become one of the U.S.'s most popular National Parks, the Grand Canyon won't disappoint. Despite spring and summer's crowds, the canyon itself still inspires. Created by the uplifting of the Colorado Plateau and the erosion caused by the Colorado River, the canyon is 277 miles long, and, in places, 10 miles wide.

It's not just the size, but also the canyon's shapes and colors that create awe. Near the South Rim's main information center, the canyon appears as a series of wheat-colored pinnacles and ridges, striated with pink during the day. Toward sunset, the colors deepen to rose and magenta. From a lookout offering a narrow view, the canyon's walls loom large, almost like a cathedral. Descend into the canyon and it reveals another perspective, one of an era millions of years ago when the land served as a seabed.

When President Theodore Roosevelt viewed the Grand Canyon in 1903, he said, "What you can do is keep it for your children, your children's children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American should see." In 1908 Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon a National Monument. In 1919, it became a National Park.

Nearly five million people visit the Grand Canyon each year, 90 percent of them accessing the park via the South Entrance, about 60 miles from Williams and 80 miles from Flagstaff. Only 10 percent of visitors explore the less accessible North Rim, a 220-mile, five-hour drive from the South Rim. Open from mid-May through mid-October, the North Rim also offers scenic views, plus some demanding trails.

You don't need to endure a multi-day hike from the north to the south rim to access the canyon's wonders. Even kids in strollers enjoy the scenic overlooks. If your family can, however, hike into the canyon, if only for a short distance.

At the Grand Canyon, kids 4 to 14 can earn Junior Rangers' badges. Pick up a Ranger Activity Booklet, available at the visitor centers. Typically, children are asked to attend a ranger-led program, answer questions about the park and write down their observations. Upon returning the completed booklets, children receive a ranger patch.

Written by Candyce H. Stapen less

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