Grand Canyon – A Cloud Inversion And The ‘Grandest Hike On Earth’?

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In the following video, entitled ‘Rim To Rim’, Andy Lewicky hikes from south to north, from Yaki Point to Bright Angel Point, Grand Canyon, via the Kaibab Trail – in one very long day. He describes it as ‘simply the grandest hike on Earth’. And having watched it, it’s difficult to argue with him. Truly spectacular.

Watch it now and decide for yourself:

The Grand Canyon is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. The full list includes:

  • Aurora Borealis
  • Harbour of Rio de Janeiro
  • Grand Canyon
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Mount Everest
  • Paricutin
  • Victoria Falls

It is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the state of Arizona in the United States. It is contained within and managed by Grand Canyon National Park, the Hualapai Tribal Nation, and the Havasupai Tribe. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery.

Grand Canyon Star Trail by Justin Kern

Grand Canyon Star Trail by Justin Kern

But it’s not just the geology and landscape of the canyon that is so dramatic. On some days it also combines with certain special weather conditions to produce some amazing scenes – that is, if you are lucky enough to be there at the right time.

The following photograph captures a rare total inversion seen from Mather Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Cloud inversions are formed through the interaction of warm and cold air masses.

Grand Canyon National Park Cloud Inversion

Image: Cloud Inversion by Erin Whittaker, Grand Canyon National Park Service

The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,000 feet or 1,800 meters). Nearly two billion years of Earth’s geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While the specific geologic processes and timing that formed the Grand Canyon are the subject of debate by geologists recent evidence suggests that the Colorado River established its course through the canyon at least 17 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River continued to erode and form the canyon to its present-day configuration.

Grand Canyon Rainbow by Keith Cuddeback

Grand Canyon Rainbow by Keith Cuddeback

For thousands of years, the area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon (“Ongtupqa” in the Hopi language) a holy site, and made pilgrimages to it. The first European known to have viewed the Grand Canyon was García López de Cárdenas from Spain, who arrived in 1540 (see Grand Canyon).


If you are planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, the NPS have produce a handy guide which you can download from here.

Image Gallery – Click To View The Slideshow:

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