8 Facts About the Grand Canyon You Never Knew

Colorado River running through Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park - Shutterstock

Despite being one of the most famous and most-visited attractions in the United States, Grand Canyon National Park still holds some surprises. Here are a few facts about the Grand Canyon you probably don't know.

We don't really know how old it is

It has long been believed that the Colorado River began carving the Grand Canyon about 6 million years ago, but a 2012 study contained a real shocker, suggesting that the process may have begun as far back as 70 million years. In all likelihood, the Grand Canyon as we know it today started out as a series of smaller canyons 70 million years ago, but the majority of the canyon did not begin to take shape until much more recently.

The Grand Canyon at sunrise

Grand Canyon National Park


The Grand Canyon creates its own weather

Of all Grand Canyon facts, this one is pretty cool – no pun intended. Sudden changes in elevation have an enormous impact on temperature and precipitation, so the weather you're experiencing could vary drastically depending on where you are in the Grand Canyon. The coldest, wettest weather station in the region is the Bright Angel Ranger Station on the North Rim, while the hottest (and one of the driest) is just 8 miles away at Phantom Ranch.

It's not the deepest canyon in the world

The Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon in Tibet plummets to a depth of 17,567 feet, making it more than 2 miles deeper than the Grand Canyon's 6,093 feet. The Tibetan canyon is also about 30 miles longer than the Grand Canyon. 

Toroweap Point at the Grand Canyon

Toroweap Point at Grand Canyon National Park


There are no dinosaur bones in the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon might look like the perfect place to go looking for dinosaur bones, but none have ever been found there, and for good reason. The rock that makes up the canyon walls is vastly more ancient than the dinosaurs – about a billion years more ancient, in some cases – but the canyon itself probably didn't form until after the dinosaurs were long gone.

There are lots of other fossils in the area

While the dinosaurs might have missed out on seeing the Grand Canyon, lots of other fossils have been found that suggest other creatures frequented the location. They range from ancient marine fossils dating back 1.2 billion years to fairly recent land mammals that left their remains in canyon caves about 10,000 years ago.

The Colarado River at Grand Canyon National Park

The Colorado River, Grand Canyon National Park


Fish are relatively uncommon in the Grand Canyon

Prior to modern flood control measures, the Colorado River provided a uniquely difficult habitat for fish, with heavy silt, frequent floods, and temperatures ranging from extreme heat in summer to sub-freezing in winter. As a result, only eight fish species are native to the Grand Canyon, six of which are found nowhere outside of the Colorado River.

There's a town in the Grand Canyon

Lists of Grand Canyon facts don’t often include information about its human population, but surprisingly, it does have one. Supai Village is located at the base of the Grand Canyon within the Havasupai Indian Reservation. Inaccessible by road and with a population of just 208, it is the most remote community in the lower 48 states, and is the only place where mail is still delivered by pack mule

Supai Village located within the Havasupai Indian Reservation

Supai Village located within the Havasupai Indian Reservation


We're missing 950 million years’ worth of rocks

The Grand Canyon offers one of the most visible examples of a worldwide geological phenomenon known as the Great Unconformity, in which 250 million-year-old rock strata lie back-to-back with 1.2 billion-year-old rocks. What happened during the hundreds of millions of years between remains largely a mystery.

Sunset illuminating the striated red rock cliffs at the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National Park


You might think you know all the facts about the Grand Canyon, but this Arizona landmark is still full of surprises. Pay a visit to Grand Canyon National Park to learn about the canyon's unique history, and get a firsthand look at its indescribable natural beauty.


Please do not let mining take place near the canyon!
i am sure it wont i hope but some people are greedy, soooooo
Abdo ALkamel
It is not allowed! that is why there are so many ranger stations. Plus, you would have to have a permit to do it... so yeah... :l
It is more of a license
I agree with you.
I totally agree with you!! It would ruin the canyons structure and could cause them to fall over and break...And that would not be good.
you have no mention of the emergency river boat pick up location. where you can drive to the bottom of the canyon
I agree with you... What if somebody would want go down there?
Out in the Hualapai Indian Nation, by paid permit, you are able to enter the the Canyon and have access to Colorado River all at once. Please keep it clean and usable for all those that love nature. White water rafting is also available.
Please don't let anything happen to this beautiful place I have so many memories there!!!!!
This really helped me with my research. Thx a lot
me too
Yeah, I agree! This was really helpful for my project on the Grand Canyon. I would really like to go there someday when COVID-19 is over. But again thank you so much!
ya it did help me with mine quite a bit too
I am just saying the Grand Canyon is the best
Grand Canyon is millions of years old ? That's an opinion not a fact !!
actually google says that the grand canyon is about 70 million years old.
This helped me thx but sorry to say, he is right though
No, it's not an opinion. It's a scientific fact. The youngest strata of the Grand Canyon (near the top) are some 250 million years old, and the oldest rocks (near the very bottom) are over a billion.
the idea that the Grand Canyon is NOT millions of years old is a mere opinion. The fact that it IS millions of years old is indisputable reality. Don't mix apples & oranges. :)
The Grand Canyon is over million years old it's not an opinion its a fact.
It's natures finest work. I personally wil fight to preserve it.
Incorrect that Supai is the only place in lower 48 that Mail is delivered by mule. Phantom Ranch also receives and sends out mail by mule.
thank you very much, I helped with homework
It really helped! I wish my mail was delivered by mule, LOL I am funny, anyhoo, really appreciate the factoids on this site! :)
The amazing Panoramic views of the Grand Canyon can never be fully explained in words alone, for it is always changing as the Sun Rises and Sets. It's like a new motion picture show each and everyday. It alone is the heart of the Garden of Eden unlike most would expect Eden to look like. The Colorado River is the back bone / spine of the Serpent of Temptation. When you view it from the Satellites above you can see how the body of the Serpent is the Grand Canyon. Starting at the North Rim you can see the Serpents Head with a crown upon his head.
Hello, could you please give more information on this or tell me where I can find information on your reply PLEASE thanks
I have never been there but it sounds kinda boring because ur just looking at rocks
LOL, I feel the same. The scenery is pretty though. Although, I wouldn't stay long there.
dude I went there and stayed in my hotel the whole time worst time of my life


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