Considered by many to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is a breath-taking sight to behold. It continues to amaze thousands of tourists who travel in flocks to admire its beauty, particularly those who view it from the skies through the best Grand Canyon helicopter ride.
Located in the United States at the north-western corner of Arizona on a National Park, close to the state borders of Utah and Nevada, this tourist destination is a must see for anyone traveling to the United States. Spanning 446km in length (227 miles) and up to 29km (18 miles) at its widest, 6.4km (4 miles) at its narrowest, and 1800 meters (6000 feet) in depth, this mighty wonder boasts a big feat. Because of the large scoping area it covers, helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon are increasing in popularity.
Created from constant erosion by the Colorado river over millions of years, recent advances in geological dating by experts suggest that this erosion probably started 5 to 6 million years ago. Other experts say we are unsure how old this natural landform really is, as it could have started as a series of smaller gorges which did not connect until much later.
The National Park itself features a semi-arid desert climate with interesting rock layers and formations. Geologists place the limestone found on the upper layers of this wonder, at around 230 million years old. The rock walls represent the earths various geological phases accounting for about a third of the earths age. These different rock types and features make the valley an important geological study site. Ongoing erosion altering its contours ensures this natural phenomenon will continue to be studied. When viewed from the air on a Grand Canyon helicopter ride, these contrasting rock formations are visually noticeable and striking.
Hidden caves within the cliff walls have been spotted. 33 of them have been recorded with even less of them mapped. Although experts have estimated the gorge to contain about 1,000 caves. If you feel lucky, you might even be able to spot some more on a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. Additionally, this wonder features lots of interesting diverse flora and fauna. The National Park service reports more than 1500 plants, 355 birds, 89 mammals, 47 reptiles, and 17 types of fish species. The natural valley protects these natural ecosystems.
No official records of dinosaur bones or fossils have been found inside the valley, but lots of other fossils have been discovered. Interestingly, the Grand Canyon can influence the weather with elevation changes inside the gulley creating its own weather systems. Climates and weather patterns vary depending on where you are in the Grand Canyon. People on helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon, have been known to see these differing weather patterns. Temperature differences can also differ greatly between the top and bottom of the ravine.
To supplement recreational activities beyond the Grand Canyon helicopter rides on offer, sightseeing, hiking or rafting is also very popular. Overnight camping is also possible but requires a permit.
At the base of the ravine, you can find the Suapai Village found within the Havasupai Indian Reservation. American Navajo Indians have traditionally been living in and around the area for thousands of years. Arizona, where you can visit this sensation, has the largest percentage of land of any American state set aside for Native American use. Scenic views of this settlement and surrounding areas can be viewed from above on a Grand Canyon helicopter ride.
Spanish Europeans first visited the site 473 years ago, in significantly different circumstances to many who currently tour the Grand Canyon on helicopter tours. But it was American President Theodore Roosevelt who was instrumental in protecting the site when he first visited in 1903. He was swept away with its natural majesty, later signing a protection bill in 1906.