Welcome to the second article in Carpe Travel’s Grand Canyon series by Janalee Card Chmel. Over the next few months Janalee will be sharing a series of articles covering everything from booking campsites in the Grand Canyon to family friendly activities to Grand Canyon fun facts, to packing lists and more.
Grand Canyon Fun Facts…Clark Griswold Style
By Janalee Card Chmel
In my last article, I shared hot tips for camping in the Grand Canyon. Namely: booking your site six months in advance.
So, now we’re all booked for our June trip and I am enjoying less stressful planning activities, such as what we’ll do when we’re there. I’m also a bit of a geek so I’m studying up on the area’s history, colorful characters and wildlife. My goal is not to annoy my family like Clark Griswold, spewing Grand Canyon fun facts and stories as we drive for two days to the North Rim. Rather, I want to understand what I’m seeing and experiencing more fully.
Annnnd, I might want to annoy my family like Clark Griswold.
So, without further ado, here are some fun facts about the Grand Canyon I’ve learned…I hope you’re able to put them to use in your own Clark Griswold kinda way.
Grand Canyon Fun Facts
1. How big is it? Grand Canyon covers over a million square acres of land.
2. In river miles, along the course of the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon, Grand Canyon is 277 miles long.
3. A trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back is a two-day journey. A rim-to-rim hike takes three days one way.
4. Miners were the park’s first tour guides! They came to the Grand Canyon to exploit its resources, but many discovered tourism, not gold. They started offering guided tours and set up tent camps and hotels.
5. The Grand Canyon Lodge is the only complete surviving lodge and cabin complex in the national parks.
6. In 1932, just four years after its construction was complete, the North Rim Lodge burned down and construction began anew. (I can’t imagine building that place on the edge of a cliff once, let alone twice!)
7. Grand Canyon National Park is home to 22 species of bats. (Hopefully they’re taking care of the bug population while I’m there.)
8. You may see bighorn sheep, bison and elk at the Grand Canyon, but only the bighorn sheep are natives.
9. Mountain lions are the largest predators in the Grand Canyon. (Best keep my kids close, eh?)
10. The Navajo Reservation bordering Grand Canyon to the east is home to the largest American Indian nation in the United States.
11. Movies filmed at the Grand Canyon include: National Lampoon’s Vacation, Thelma & Louise, Transformers, Maverick, Nurse Betty… and many others. (In Transformers, the Grand Canyon was the stunt double for Mars!)
12. In 1903 President T. Roosevelt visited
#GrandCanyon then in 1908 declared it a National Monument.
In my next installment, I’ll share the top reasons to visit the Grand Canyon before your kids grow up. (Did you know that it’s been called one of the 100 places that can change your kid’s life by National Geographic? I wonder if it can make my teenager’s eyes stop rolling.)
Getting excited…stay tuned!
About the Writer
Janalee Card Chmel is a freelance writer and is contributing a series of articles with Carpe Travel that will cover everything from booking campsites in the Grand Canyon to family friendly activities to packing lists and more.