Grand Canyon National Park is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, a designated World Heritage Site, and one of the “Crown Jewels” of the National Park System. Declared a national park in 1919, the mile-deep, 277-mile long gorge draws over four million visitors annually to the lofty rims and world-class whitewater that await the active traveler.
The 1.2 million acre park is home to numerous animals (from cougars and the endangered California condor above, to rattlesnakes and Gila monsters below), over 1,500 species of plants, archaeological sites dating back thousands of years, and one of the most complete geologic cross sections visible anywhere on the planet. Sustaining these plant and animal communities, as well as carving the Canyon ever-deeper, is the powerful Colorado River, the lifeblood of the desert Southwest.
The open-air skywalk extends 70 feet out from the rim of the canyon, where it’s anchored deep in the rock landscape. It will be open from dawn to dusk, and the price of admission is $25 per person. (No word on whether that price includes an airsick bag.) As many as 120 people will be allowed on the bridge at any given time; each will have to wear special shoe covers to prevent slipping and scratching.
The skywalk and Grand Canyon West are owned and operated by the Hualapai tribe, which is hoping for an economic boost from the new landmark. The site is in Arizona, about 70 miles northwest of Kingman, and about 120 miles east of Las Vegas. DuPont, which provided the 2-inch-thick glass floor in conjunction with manufacturer Saint Gobain, says the U-shaped structure is rated as safe even in the face of 100 mph winds.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, was one of the first to walk out onto the structure.
Grand Canyon has been on my list for many years, but it is always too hot when we visit Phoenix to sit in the car for 4 hours there and back. Not to mention that Mr. 18 month old would not appreciate the views..yet!