Exploring Grand Canyon National Park – South Rim
The furthest destination on our 2012 road trip was the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Seeing this natural wonder was definitely on my bucket list. I couldn’t believe I was actually seeing it. And, I was getting to share the memory with my favorite people. Awesome!
We spent the entire day exploring the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We arrived about 8:30 in the morning and stayed until the sun set. Then came back the next morning to catch the sunrise.
We had our three kids with us, ranging in ages from 4-9. Because of this we opted not to do a hike, but instead stuck to the paved paths along the rim.
Everywhere we went the views were spectacular!
YAVAPAI GEOLOGY MUSEUM
We are a science loving family, so we spent a lot of time in the museum learning about the rock layers of the Colorado Plateau.
ROCKS & THE COLORADO RIVER
We drove 1300 miles from home to see this canyon of rock – and it did not disappoint.
Located near the geology museum is the Trail of Time, a paved path with explanations of how the Grand Canyon was formed.
What we learned is the bottom layer of the canyon is igneous and metamorphic rocks. It is topped with many layers of sedimentary rock, the top layer being Kaibab Limestone. Long, long ago plates shifted and the entire area was uplifted creating the Colorado Plateau. The Colorado River flowed through causing erosion and formed the mile high canyon – giving us this unique view of the Earth’s crust.
I love seeing new places. I have a vague vision of what it will look like. When I experience the real thing I’m almost always surprised at how much more there really is. I certainly wasn’t expecting the desert scrub plants, pinyon pines, and poky cactus. We don’t have any of those things where I live & it was a treat getting to see them.
We saw a number of chipmunks and squirrels, including a squirrel hoping to get a hand out from our kids – which we didn’t feed. A park ranger told us during the summer 30 – 40 people get bit every day and that rattlesnakes and scorpions were probably the least dangerous animals in the park simply because humans leave them alone. Whereas squirrels look cute and cuddly and dummies try to feed and pet them.
We went to a ranger led elk talk. The ranger told us elk are not native to the Grand Canyon. Sometime around the 1920’s Yellowstone had an abundance of elk and asked other states if they wanted them. Arizona said yes. They shipped them by train. Eventually the elk worked their way to the Grand Canyon and are now thriving, maybe a little too well.
Mule deer are also seen in the park.
It was mesmerizing watching the ravens, hawks, vultures and condors soar through the canyon. I could have watched them all day. The California Condor is critically endangered and I was excited to see a few of them on our trip.
After spending the day exploring the rim we were treated with the beautiful lighting from the sun setting.
The next morning we drove back to the Grand Canyon to catch the sunrise before continuing with our trip. Stunning!
Beautiful! Simply Amazing!
Although one day I would like to hike to the bottom of the canyon, we are a rock loving, plant crazy, bird nerd type of family and there was plenty of nature-based activity at the rim of the canyon to keep us entertained.
7 Natural Wonders of the World
Our world is such an amazing place we have come up with various versions of the 7 wonders of the world. This list covers the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. The Grand Canyon is one of them.
- Grand Canyon
- Northern Lights
- Mount Everest
- Harbor of Rio de Janeiro
- Victoria Falls
- Great Barrier Reef
UNESCO World Heritage Site
A World Heritage Site is a designated area with “outstanding universal value” administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The goal is to preserve and protect these cultural, historical, or natural areas throughout the world. The Grand Canyon is under this protection.
Thinking About Visiting the Grand Canyon?
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