7 Surprising Facts about the Grand Canyon

Seven surprising, and not always obvious, statistics about Grand Canyon National Park that you may not know:

It is NOT the Deepest Canyon in the World

Though widely considered one of the “Natural Wonders of the World”, the Grand Canyon is neither the world’s longest or deepest crevasse. Its average depth is about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers), though the canyon ranges from 2,400 feet (731 meters) to 7,800 feet (2,377 m) deep. The canyon boasts 277 incredibly meandering miles (446 km) in length.

It is also NOT the Widest Canyon in the World

At its narrowest point, in Marble Canyon, it is only 600 yards (548 meters) across. At its widest, the gorge spans 18 miles (29 kilometers). On average, the canyon is only 10 miles (16 km) wide from rim to rim. Crossing on foot it’s 21 miles (33 km), and by car it’s 251miles (403 km).

A Plane Crash in the Canyon Gave Rise to the FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was created in 1958 as a result of two planes colliding directly over the canyon and killing everyone on board on June 30, 1956.

The Grand Canyon Reveals 40% of Earth’s History

No dinosaur bones have ever been found in the park. 11,000-year-old sloth bones, have been found in canyon caves. Many marine fossils and animal tracks also appear in the National Park’s rock layers.

Pink Rattle Snakes Live in the Canyon

Of the six rattlesnake species spotted in the park boundaries, one has an unusual pink hue that matches the local rocks.

Native People Named the Canyon Kaibab

John Wesley Powell, who charted the Colorado River’s course in 1891 and 1892, was the first to consistently use the name “Grand Canyon.” The Paiute Indian tribe calls the canyon Kaibab.

There is No Soil on the Floor of the Canyon

Due to the absence of actual soil in the Canyon, very little plant life can grow on the floor, except for desert plants.