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

    Grand Canyon

    National Park Arizona

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  • Expect Warm and Dry Conditions through Thursday

    Monsoonal weather patterns have moved into the Grand Canyon area decreasing fire danger. As a result, on Tuesday, July 8 at 8 a.m. fire managers lifted fire restrictions within Grand Canyon National Park. More »

  • Two Bats Collected in the Park Have Tested Positive for Rabies

    One on the North Kaibab Trail and the other at Tusayan Ruin/Museum. Rabies can be prevented if appropriate medical care is given following an exposure. Any persons having physical contact with bats in Grand Canyon National 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?

COLORADO RIVER AT THE BOTTOM OF GRAND CANYON

From Yavapai Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the drop to the Colorado River below is 4,600 feet (1,400 m). The elevation at river level is 2,450 feet (750 m) above sea level. Without the Colorado River, a perennial river in a desert environment, the Grand Canyon would not exist.