A giant, colorful canyon bakes under a hot sun in Arizona. Carved over millions of years by the Colorado River that flows through its base, the Grand Canyon is up to 6,000 feet deep (meaning that in some places, it’s big enough to fit 19 Statues of Liberty stacked on top of each other!) 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. 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.
Many animals dwell in and around the colossal canyon, including elk, bison, desert bighorn sheep, and tassel-eared Kaibab squirrels.
Native Americans have lived in and around the Grand Canyon for at least 12,000 years. But when it became a national park in 1919, Native Americans were forced off of large parts of their land. Today, 11 Native American tribes, including the Havasupai (hah-vah-SOO-py) and Navajo, dwell just outside the borders of Grand Canyon National Park. Some members of the tribe work as guides for tourists who come to hike the canyon trails, ride mules along the ridges, and climb the steep rocks.