Though the Native Americans in the area (there were many tribes) knew of the Grand Canyon for years and held it as a holy site, the earliest written record of the Canyon was by the Spanish. In 1540, Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez Coronado was in search for the mystical Seven Cities of Gold, in the American Southwest. He ordered several soldiers to follow a Hopi guide to a site they had heard tell was a great holy site. Their guide lead them to the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. Imagine following a man to an unknown location, traveling on horse back for days through the desert and arriving at the rim of the Grand Canyon, looking out into the great chasm that drops over one mile into the ground; one of the greatest geological sites in the world appearing before you, the first Europeans to set eyes on such magnificent and raw natural beauty. What an amazing and awe inspiring honor.
They were the last Europeans to see the Canyon for over 200 years.
Today the Canyon is still being cut by the Colorado river, lazily flowing through the walls of stone. It took over 17 million years to create the Canyon that is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and reaches over one mile deep. It is at the center of the Grand Canyon National Park, which is dedicated to maintaining the site, and educating the public about the Canyon, its history, and its importance. Visiting the Canyon is a truly unique and indescribable feeling, it is difficult to find a place that makes one feel so small, and appreciate the raw power and might of nature.
The Southern rim is where we stopped for a day and honestly we could have spent more time there. However, we were able to visit all the major vantage points from the main rim road. If we had more time, taking a hike or a donkey ride to the bottom or visiting other spots along the canyon would have easily filled another day or two.
The Northern rim is another beautiful area, a bonus of the North is that Zion and Bryce National Parks are not too far away, making a great three park trip. Regardless of how you get there or how long you stay, the Grand Canyon may prove to be one of the most magnificent natural wonders you may ever visit.