One of the most famous nature reserves in the world, Grand Canyon National Park covers an area of 1930.5 square miles (5000 km) including four different climate zones rising to a height of 2200 meters above sea level. Indigenous people have lived in and around the Grand Canyon for thousands of years. Today, thousands of Native Americans from the the Navajo, Hopi and Havasuapi tribes still call the area home.
The towering walls of the Grand Canyon provide more than beautiful imagery, they contain a geological record spanning 2 million years. Each rock layer reveals unique information about Earth’s ancient past. Volcanic rock from prehistoric eruptions, sand dune patterns from a long vanished desert, wave marks left from the tide of an evaporated ancient sea; all these stories can be found within the stone of the Grand Canyon.
In order to allow visitors to experience this geological history first hand, the Trail of Time was opened in 2010. The trail is a 2.83 mile (4.56 km) long walking path and geological timeline. Each meter walked on the Trail of time signifies one million years of geologic history.
Entry points to the trail are at Yavapai Point and by Verkamps Visitor Center. Shuttle buses will take you to either end of the Trail of Time. The start of the Trail of Time is at Yavapai Geology Museum, a half hour walk from Mather Point and the Canyon View Visitor Center.
Along the timeline trail there are a series of rocks and exhibits that explain how the Grand Canyon and its rock formed. These exhibits are kid friendly and interactive. There are also viewing tubes along the trail that link times from the timeline to features and rocks down in the canyon. Be sure to save your water bottles as there are water filling stations around the park.