Grand Canyon National Park includes over a million acres of land.
Photograph by Julien Hautcoeur, Dreamstime
The park is home to tassel-eared Kaibab squirrels.
Photograph by Rinus Baak, Dreamstime
Weighing up to 300 pounds, bighorn sheep are the largest native animal in the park.
Photograph by MWKphoto, iStock photo
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A giant, colorful canyon bakes under a hot sun in Arizona. Up to 6,000 feet deep, the landform is big enough to fit 19 Statues of Liberty stacked on top of each other! This is the Grand Canyon. Over a million acres of the Grand Canyon was designated as a national park nearly a century ago. And over the years its huge size and layers of pinkish, golden, and orange rock (called “strata”) have given the spot major star status around the world.
The Grand Canyon was carved over millions of years by the Colorado River that flows through its base. The floor of the canyon has a diverse landscape, featuring dried up desert areas that can heat up to 120ºF as well as forests where temperatures sometimes drop to minus 20ºF.
Many animals dwell in and around the colossal canyon, including elk, bison, desert bighorn sheep, and tassel-eared Kaibab squirrels. The Grand Canyon has also been home to some surprising residents—humans.
People have lived in and around the Grand Canyon for at least 12,000 years. Today Native American peoples such as the Havasupai dwell just outside the boarders of Grand Canyon National Park. About five million tourists a year also drop by the park to hike the canyon trails, ride mules along the ridges, climb the steep rocks, and stand on the canyon’s edge to peer down at the rockin’ view.
Text by Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh