Over 270 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep, the Grand Canyon is known throughout the world for its overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape. Located in northern Arizona, the majestic vista is geologically important because the layers of ancient rocks so beautifully preserved and exposed in the walls of the canyon reveal a timeline of Earth’s history.
In the early 1800s, trappers and expeditions sent by the U.S. government began to explore and map the Southwest, including the canyon. Although first afforded Federal protection in 1893 as a Forest Reserve and later as a National Monument, the Grand Canyon did not achieve National Park status until 1919, three years after the creation of the National Park Service. Today Grand Canyon National Park encompasses more than 1 million acres of land and receives close to 5 million visitors each year.