Grand Canyon isn’t just spectacular — it’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world, along with Mount Everest in Nepal, Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Northern Lights, Paricutin Volcano in Mexico and Harbor of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The Canyon attracts 4.5 million visitors from all over the world annually.

The Grand Canyon Forest Reserve was established on Feb. 20, 1893. In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Canyon a national monument under the Antiquities Act. Congress declared the Canyon a national park in 1919, three years after the National Park Service was formed.
The 277-mile long, one-mile deep canyon covers a total of 1,900 square miles. It was discovered in 1540 by Spanish explorer Don Lopez de Cardenas, a captain in Coronado’s expedition.
One-and-one-half kilometers below the South Rim, the Colorado River flows at an average speed of four miles per hour. Averaging 300 feet wide and 100 feet deep, the river flows west through the Canyon, bends south and empties into the Gulf of California in Mexico.
Five different Native American tribes presently occupy the region — Hopi, Navajo, Havasupai, Pauite and Hualapai.
The Grand Canyon is home to 70 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 25 species of reptiles and five species of amphibians.
Exhibits, educational programs, books, maps, pamphlets and a Grand Canyon Association bookstore can be found at Canyon View Information Plaza (CVIP) near Mather Point and at other Grand Canyon retail sales outlets.
Park Service rangers show daily lectures and films about the geological history of the Canyon and the Colorado River. Visitors can also choose from a variety of Park Service-sponsored walks and talks to enhance their Canyon experience.
The visitor’s center offers programs that focus on endangered wildlife in the Canyon and preservation of the Canyon’s historical and natural resources.
Various other walks and talks the Park Service offers are listed in the park newspaper, The Guide, available at the entrance station, headquarters and CVIP.
For complete up-to-date information, visitors should stop at the Canyon View Information Plaza near Mather Point or at the National Geographic Visitors Center about a mile south of the Park Entrance on the west side of State Route 64.
Grand Canyon National Park Fees

Entrance fees

During peak season, lines at the South Entrance Station can be long and slow-moving. Paying cash speeds the process, as does buying a park pass in advance.

• Entrance fees are $30 per private vehicle or $15 per person entering the park by public transportation, on foot, by bicycle or via the Colorado River. Admission is for seven days and includes both rims. There are no refunds because of inclement weather.

• Motorcycle Permits are $25 for one single, private, non-commercial motorcycle and its passenger(s).

• U.S. residents age 62 or older may obtain a Senior Passport for a one-time fee of $80.

• Annual Grand Canyon passports, valid for the calendar year, are available for $60.

• U.S. residents who have a permanent physical, mental or sensory impairment may apply in person for an Inter-Agency Access Pass.

• The Inter-Agency Annual Pass, which can be used at any national park, is available for $80.

• Active duty military personnel and dependents with proper identification are allowed free access.
Backcountry fees

• Overnight backcountry permits are $10, plus a $8 per person impact fee for each night camped below the rim and $8 per group for each night camped above the rim.

• The $10 fee will not be refunded on cancellations. Fees paid to the Backcountry Office are non-refundable.

For additional information about backcountry permits, as well as general park information, call (928) 638-7888 or (928) 638-7875 between 1-5 p.m. weekdays.