America's Grand Canyon Quiz!

Nathan Chandler

The canyon area received its first federal protection in what form?

In 1893, parts of the canyon were named a Forest Reserve, which helped to restrict certain human activities. Now, the area is a national park and subject to tight regulations.

About how old is the Grand Canyon?

Current estimates guess the canyon's age at around 17 million years old. The ground was eroded by flowing water, exposing layer after layer of ancient rock.

The Grand Canyon is the deepest canyon on Earth.

The deepest point of the Grand Canyon is about 7,800 feet, or well over 1 mile. But the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon in the Himalayas is much deeper, at more than 17,000 feet deep in some areas.

Which U.S. president signed the act creating Grand Canyon National Park?

Woodrow Wilson gets credit for creating the national park. However, Benjamin Harrison was a long-time proponent of the canyon, and he introduced park legislation long before the turn of the century.

The South Rim of the canyon is the most popular area for tourist activities.

The South Rim is one of the most accessible areas of the canyon, and it's where most tourists spend their time. The North Rim is more remote and requires more arduous travel.

Which major river runs through the Grand Canyon?

The Colorado River courses through the bottom of the canyon, wearing away the rock to ever deeper dimensions. The river begins in Colorado and ends Baja California.

Since the 1870s, about how many people have died in the Grand Canyon?

The Grand Canyon is beautiful, but it can be hazardous to human health -- more than 700 people have perished there since the 1870s. People die due to the weather, falls, drownings and a plethora of other dangers.

From a geologic timeline perspective, what part of the exposed canyon walls is the oldest?

The Tonto Group is near the bottom of the canyon, and thus, one of the oldest layers of rock exposed in the canyon. This group is about 1,200 feet thick.

At its widest, how far across is the canyon?

The narrowest point of the canyon is about 600 yards. At its widest, it is 18 miles across. The average width is about 10 miles.

What percentage of visitors view only the South Rim of the park?

The South Rim is often jam-packed with tourists and cars, but it still draws the vast majority of visitors. By some estimates, about 90% of visitors see only the South Rim area.

The Grand Canyon has some of the cleanest air in the United States.

Few people live in the vicinity of the canyon, meaning that the air here is some of the cleanest in the country. On a clear day, you can see for nearly 100 miles.

In what year did UNESCO declare Grand Canyon National Park a World Heritage Site?

The World Heritage Site designation means that the United Nations recognizes the canyon as an area of cultural importance. The park was declared a Heritage site in 1979.

How long is the Grand Canyon?

The Canyon is around 270 miles long. It stretches throughout the northwest corner of Arizona.

Who was the first geologist to visit the Grand Canyon?

John S. Newberry was the first geologist to study the canyon. In 1858, he began creating cross-section illustrations of the canyon rock in order to better understand its formations.

For average hikers, how long does it take to make the walk from the top of the canyon to the river below?

It takes the better part of the day for hikers to simply make the one-way trip to the bottom of the canyon. For safety reasons, park officials strongly advise against people trying to descend to the river and then climb up again in the same day.

If you want to drive from the South Rim to the North Rim, how many miles will you travel?

The trip from the heavily visited South Rim to the more remote North Rim is a journey of about 250 miles by car. It takes roughly five hours to make the drive.

Which layer of rock would you find at the top of the Grand Canyon?

Soft limestone crowns many areas of the tops of the canyon. It is the first layer to be carried away when erosion begins in earnest.

In 1956, two commercial airliners collided over the Grand Canyon. How many people were killed in the accident?

At the time, the crash was the deadliest in the history of flight -- 128 people perished as the planes plunged into the eastern part of the canyon. The accident led to the creation of the Federal Aviation Administration.

About how many species of mammals make their homes in the park?

About 70 different types of mammals live around the canyon. There are also five species of amphibians and 25 types of reptiles.

When did the United States create Grand Canyon National Park?

The canyon did have federal protection starting in the early 1890s, but it wasn't established as a national park until 1919. The park encompasses about 1.2 million acres.

Which prominent politician said that the Grand Canyon was the one great sight which every American should see?

Teddy Roosevelt, always awed by nature's grandeur, was particularly overwhelmed by the canyon. He implored Americans to pass legislation protecting the canyon for future generations.

The North and South Rims of the canyon are both open all year round.

The North Rim's roads are often impassable due to snow, so it is closed to tourists in late fall to early spring. The South Rim, however, is open throughout the year.

The Grand Canyon National Park is about how many square miles?

Grand Canyon National Park is about 1,900 square miles. It's so large that even from the higher North Rim, visitors can see only a fraction of the canyon's expanse.

About how many tourists per year visit Grand Canyon National Park?

This national park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. About 5 million people make the journey to the canyon each year.

Point Imperial is the highest peak in the Grand Canyon. What is its elevation?

Point Imperial is the highest area of the canyon. It rests at 8,800 feet above sea level, on the canyon's North Rim.

The South Rim was first visited by Europeans in the 1500s. How much time passed before Europeans visited the more remote North Rim?

It seems hard to believe, but it's true -- it took more than 230 years for Europeans to finally set foot on the North Rim of the canyon. The North Rim's rugged remoteness is vastly different than the busy South Rim.

In 1869, John Wesley Powell led a trip down the Colorado River to explore its territories. How long did the journey last?

Powell's adventure lasted about three months. His treacherous journey came at the expense of several lives, but his records helped to develop the first maps of the area.

There are traces of inhabitants in the canyon area dating back how many years?

Scientists have found remnants of civilizations dating back to nearly 12,000 years ago. It wasn't until the 1800s, though, that European descendants began to map the area in earnest.

The North Rim of the canyon is significantly higher than the South Rim. What's the elevation of the North Rim?

The North Rim sits at an elevation of about 8,200 feet. In contrast, the highest point of the South Rim is 7,400 feet.

In what year was the Marble Canyon National Monument integrated into Grand Canyon National Park?

More than four decades ago, in 1975, Marble Canyon National Monument was ended … because it was then reintroduced as part of the larger national park system.

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About This Quiz

Few places in the world are so simply -- and aptly -- named. How much do you know about America's Grand Canyon?

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