• View of Grand Canyon National Park at sunset from the South Rim

    Grand Canyon

    National Park Arizona

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  • A Warm Day Friday with Light Winds

    Expect breezy southwest winds this weekend as a cold front moves north of the Grand Canyon region. Maximum temperatures cool to seasonal normals from Sunday through Wednesday. More »

  • Bat Tests Positive for Rabies in Grand Canyon National Park

    Public Health Alert, October 2014: A bat recently removed from an area along the Colorado River within Grand Canyon National Park has tested positive for rabies. Any persons having physical contact with bats in the park, please follow this link. More »

Elk

Cow Elk

Cow Elk

NPS photo

Did you know that if you visited Grand Canyon 10 years ago it would have been a rare occasion to see an elk? Merriam's elk were historically found in other parts of Arizona, even as far north as the San Francisco Peaks, but never inside Grand Canyon National Park. This species was extirpated from the state in the 1890"s due to overhunting.

The elk visitors see today throughout the South Rim are Rocky Mountain elk. These animals were introduced to the state from Yellowstone National Park. Beginning in 1913 and continuing until 1928 a private conservation group transplanted a total of 303 elk in crates from Yellowstone to various parts of Arizona by trains and wagons. A small group was released near Williams, AZ about 50 miles south of the park.

 
Elk Grass

Bull Elk

NPS photo

Rocky Mountain elk are not adapted to the arid climate of Arizona. As a result, these animals have expanded their range in search of water sources, of which Grand Canyon and its neighboring forests have many. Elk are drawn to stock tanks, ephemeral pools, run-off areas, and unnatural lawns like those found near the historic lodges in Grand Canyon Village. These attractants place elk in close proximity to park visitors with insufficient space to maintain a safe viewing distance.

Elk are wild animals. The elk in Grand Canyon have become tolerant of human presence, making them unpredictable and very dangerous. Never feed or approach wildlife.

Did You Know?

THEODORE ROOSEVELT AT THE GRAND CANYON

President Theodore Roosevelt said of Grand Canyon, "Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children's children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American should see."