Twenty years ago, CNN released a list of what they considered the Seven Natural Wonders of the world. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia made the cut, as did The Harbor at Rio de Janeiro, Mount Everest, the Northern Lights, Paricutin Volcano of Mexico, and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
[related: In Focus: Why Seeing The Northern Lights Should Be On Your Bucket List]
What else made the cut? The Grand Canyon!
Located on the northwestern part of Arizona, the Grand Canyon is considered one of most beautiful landscapes in the United States. It’s also one of the most visited, with around 5 million tourists flocking from across the globe to marvel its majesty.
Other “Seven Wonders” lists have been made since, with unique yet equally astounding spots from other countries replacing those already mentioned. But with that many coming back to the canyon, it’s no secret that it continues to make people wonder year after year.
With Summer still upon us (or, rather, Spring, if you look at it from a four-season point of view), now may be a great time to pack your bags and head on over there yourselves! If you still need a bit of convincing, here are a couple of reasons why it’s worth including and ticking off your bucket list.
You’ll feel like you’re walking through time. Like an unsolved mystery, no one knows for sure when the Grand Canyon actually began. What geologists do agree on, though, is that the Colorado River played a big part in it. The 1,450-mile-long river, which stretches across seven US states and two Mexican states, started carving the Grand Canyon some 5 or 6 million years ago, but the canyons themselves date back as far as 70 million years. Just. Mind. Blowing.
There's more to it than rocks. You'd be surprised how much flora and fauna can be spotted in the deep gorges of the canyon. Imagine being exposed to wild coyotes, mule deers, elks, or great horned owls in one area! Not too many places in America offer that kind of experience. If wildlife isn’t really your thing, wait until you see the plants. According to Science View, there are over 1,500 species of vascular plants, 167 fungi, 64 moss, and 195 lichen around in the entire park!
You’ll catch glimpses of prehistoric art. If you raft the Colorado River, you might see different petroglyphs and pictographs on the rocks of the Grand Canyon. For reference, petroglyphs are rock carvings while pictographs are paintings drawn by ancient tribes (Native American tribes, in this case). Although history can’t tell us the exact stories behind them, tourists are more than welcome to form their own interpretations.
There are a bunch of activities to choose from. It’s common for visitors to go sightseeing or take photos while walking leisurely around the park. But if the outdoor adventurer in you wants something more thrilling, the Grand Canyon offers hiking, rafting, fossil hunting, ranger training, helicopter riding, and even mule riding!
The view is absolutely remarkable. Whether you decide to visit the canyon's North or South Rim, any angle you look from is spectacular. We suggest that you schedule your trip at a time when you can catch it's famous sunrise or sunset. Trust us when we say its beauty needs #nofilter.
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Photographs from Unsplash.com and grandcanyonwhitewater.com