How Big is the Grand Canyon?
The size of the Grand Canyon depends on how you measure it. The park has 493,077 hectares / 1,218,375.54 acres / 1,904 square miles / 4931 square kilometers of land. But if you measure it by river miles, it is 277 miles / 446 km long. It starts at Lees Ferry and terminates at Grand Wash Cliffs (277 miles / km 446).
It varies depending on the location. If you are close to the Grand Canyon Village at the South Rim, the depth can reach 5,000 feet / 1524 m. The deepest point is 6000 vertical feet / 1829 m. The measurement is from the rim down to the river. Rim to rim, the width is 10 miles / 16 km at the Village.
But the size of the Grand Canyon means some places are even wider. In some areas it is 18 miles / 29 km wide. To give you an idea of how big the place is, a journey to the Canyon bottom and back takes a couple of days. If you are going from the North Rim to South Rim, it will take about three days (hiking). A raft trip can take weeks.
The exposed rocks on the walls are old, but as a whole, the Canyon is geologically young. The oldest rocks are 200 million years old. But the Canyon itself was created only 6 million years ago. The 200 million rocks are not the oldest in the world however.
Due to its size, the weather varies depending on the altitude. Generally, the weather is dry. Twice yearly precipitation takes place. The usual precipitation is less than 16 inches (35 cm) at the South Rim. On certain occasions it gets 60 inches (132 cm) of snow. At the North Rim, 27 inches (59 cm) of moisture are usually received. However, this weather pattern can change.
The average snowfall is 144 inches (317 cm). During the summer, temperatures at the Inner Gorge go beyond 100 F (38 C). During the winter the temperature goes below 0 F (-17 C). The Canyon has 1,737 vascular plant species, 64 species of moss, 167 fungi species and 34 mammal types. Of these animals, 8 are rats and 15 are rodents.
Due to the size of the Grand Canyon, it has become a favorite destination of hikers. Although the site can be challenging, well prepared hikers will be able to navigate it.