1882: First unsuccessful attempt to establish a Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
GeologyGrand Canyon National Park preserves an iconic geologic landscape and resources ranging from 1.8 billion (PreCambrian) year-old igneous and metamorphic rocks to 230 million (Triassic)-year-old sedimentary rocks, 5 million (Pliocene)-year old to recent volcanic deposits, a complex tectonic and erosional history, and unconsolidated surface deposits.
The Colorado River established its course through the canyon approximately 6 million years ago and likely evolved from pre-existing drainages to its current course. Geologic processes, including erosion of tributaries and slopes, and active tectonics continue to shape the canyon today. The geologic record in Grand Canyon is an important scientific chronicle and is largely responsible for its inspirational scenery.
Palentology resources include nearly 300 diverse and globally significant fossil localities ranging from 1.2-billion-year-old stromatolites to Paleozoic trilobites, plants, reptile tracks, and marine invertebrates, and Pleistocene megafauna in caves.
Learn more about geology in Grand Canyon.
Birds: 450 species
Vascular Plants: 1,747 species
Human HistoryThe oldest human artifacts found date to the Paleoindian period and are nearly 12,000 years old. Since that time, various cultures have continually used and occupied lands that became the park. Archaeological evidence from the following prehistoric culture groups is found in Grand Canyon National Park: Paleoindian, Archaic, Basketmaker, Ancestral Puebloan (Kayenta and Virgin branches), Cohonina, Cerbat, Pai, and Southern Paiute. Historical-period cultural groups include the Hopi, Navajo, Pai, Southern Paiute, Zuni, and Euro-American.
There are currently 3,391 ancestral sites documented within the park dating to the prehistoric period, representing approximately 7% of park lands inventoried. In addition, park records document evidence of historic period use from 1540-1950, including 453 locations with evidence of historic Native American use.
Tribal PartnersGrand Canyon is home to 11 federally recognized tribes with deep history and connection to the Grand Canyon since time immemorial. Tribal governments and communities work closely with park administration and management on a host of programs. Through collaborative projects such as the Desert View Watchtower Intertribal Cultural Heritage Site, the park is working with tribes to provide accurate and culturally appropriate information to visitors. This “First Voice” programming acknowledges the rich and diverse cultural history of the Grand Canyon and celebrates the connections native people have to the Canyon. Tribal lands surrounding the park offer many unique tourism opportunities to visitors planning a trip to the Grand Canyon.
National Historic Landmarks
National Register of Historic Places
List of Classified Structures (LCS): 874 listingsLCS includes National Historic Landmark and National Register listed or eligible properties
Cultural Landscapes: 16
ClimateClimate in Grand Canyon National Park is relatively mild. However, low humidity generally allows large temperature differences between day and night. Since precipitation totals are low, year-to-year variations can be large. The passage of a few major storms can have a significant impact on the year’s total.
Mean High Temperature (30 year average): 64°F (17.8°C)
Mean High Temperature (30 year average): 55°F (12.8°C)
Mean High Temperature (30 year average): 81°F (27.2°C)
Detailed park statistics are available.
Shuttle System Passengers
2,856,150 boardings (not passengers)
Backcountry User Nights
Detailed backcountry use statistics are available.
Colorado River User Days
Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek
Diamond Creek to Pearce Ferry
Mule Trip Riders
Xanterra, South Rim
Phantom Ranch 1 night: 1,823
Canyon Trail Rides, North Rim
One Hour Rim Ride: 3,664
Half Day Inner Canyon Ride: 4,588
Half Day Rim Ride: 1,027
North-bound boardings: 164,588
2021 Visitor and Resource Protection
Law Enforcement Activities
Total Number of Criminal Cases: 689
Emergency Medical Services
Emergency Medical Service Incidents: 1,157
Search and Rescue (SAR)
Incidents Total: 411
Preventive Search and Rescue (PSAR)
Total Contacts: 135,831
Structural Fire Incidents and Responses
Wildland Fire Incidents and Treatments
Fire Starts Incidents: 14
2021 Interpretive Services and Activities
Visitor Centers and Contact Stations
Grand Canyon Visitor Center
Interpretive Walks, Talks, and Programs
Presentations: 201 to 7,764 visitors
Environmental Education Programs
Presentations: 67 to 1,732 participants
Park Unigrids/maps distributed on South Rim: 757,350
Digital and Social Media
Facebook followers: 674,026
Paved: 35 miles (56.3 km)
Paved: 124 miles (199.6 km)
Sewage Treatment Facilities
Water from Roaring Springs to the North and South rims
Total: 23 miles (37 km)
South Rim: 908
Mather: 317 family, 7 group, 2 hiker/biker, 2 livestock
Recreational Vehicle Sites
Visitor Facilties and ServicesVisitor facilities include visitor centers, museums, theaters, backcountry offices, historic structures, scenic overlooks, accessible rim trails, lodging, campgrounds, dump stations, service stations, restaurants, cocktail lounges, coffee shops, general stores, gift shops, bookstores, clinic, bank, post offices, churches, and a dog kennel. Some facilities are seasonal.
Services include educational exhibits, curriculum-based education programs, junior ranger programs, ranger programs and hikes, picnicking, bicycling, bike rentals, self-guided hikes, mule riding, backpacking, fishing, river trips, overnight lodging, camping, camper services, guided bus tours, air tours (outside of park), shuttle bus service, taxi, auto repair, publication sales, gift and grocery sales, law enforcement, medical and emergency services.
ConcessionersIn Fiscal Year 2021, 22 concessioners grossed approximately $176 million and paid franchise and other fees of approximately $16.5 million.
FY 2021 Funding
Operation of the National Park System (ONPS)
ONPS Base Operating Appropriation: $22,568474
Special Emphasis Program Allocation (SEPAS)
FirePro Base: $1,601,032
Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act—80% portion
Utilities Reimbursable: $3,519,610
National Park Service Staffing—Fiscal Year 2021
Information and distribution of all staff (Permanent, Term, and Seasonal).
Superintendent’s Office: 16
Total National Park Service Staffing
Volunteers-in-Parks (VIP) Program
Volunteer hours by category
Total volunteers in park: 219
Gateway Communities & Counties
State and Federal Partners
Arizona Game and Fish Department, AZ
Philanthropic & Community Partners
Grand Canyon Conservancy
11 Traditionally Associated American Indian Tribes
Arizona Congressional Representatives
Senator Kyrsten Sinema
Public Affairs Office: 928-638-7779
2021 Grand Canyon National Park Profile (2.7 MB PDF File)
Last updated: November 14, 2022