How Many Miles Long is the Grand Canyon?

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: May 19, 2022
Image Credit sumikophoto/Shutterstock.com
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The Grand Canyon in Arizona is one of the Natural Seven Wonders of the World. When people say you can only grasp how big it is by seeing it in person they are right. This enormous canyon was carved by the Colorado River millions of years ago and the river continues to cut away at the rocks widening the basin just a little every year. Grand Canyon National Park surrounds the canyon and is 1,904 square miles of layered red rock, caves, scrub and the Colorado River. How wide is the Grand Canyon? Can you walk across it? How deep is it? How many miles long is the Grand Canyon? Let’s find out!

How wide is the Grand Canyon?

Grand Canyon National Park in Winter
The Grand Canyon in Arizona is 18 miles wide.

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The Grand Canyon has an average width of 10 miles. The distance between the South Rim and the North Rim is 10 miles. There are several spots along the Canyon that are 18 miles wide!

Can deep is the Grand Canyon?

The Grand Canyon is more one mile deep at its deepest points. In fact, the Grand Canyon reached a maximum depth of just over 6,000 feet! If you are standing at the top of the Willis Tower in Chicago, one of the tallest buildings in the US and look down, you can see for 1,450 feet. The Grand Canyon is more than four times as deep!

How Many Miles Long is the Grand Canyon?

Grand Canyon National Park - Sunrise
How many miles long is the Grand Canyon? 277 miles!

sumikophoto/Shutterstock.com

The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long. It starts at Lees Ferry which is 6 miles northeast of the Navajo bridges on Highway 89A. It continues southwest all the way to the Grand Wash Cliffs which is right before Lake Mead. The Colorado River keeps going, along the border with Nevada, then the border of California, briefly the border with Mexico and down through Mexico to the Gulf of California.

You might be surprised to learn that there are longer (and deeper) canyons on Earth, however. For example, the Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon in Tibet reaches more than 19,000 feet in depth and is about 313 miles in length!

How Many Miles Long is the Colorado River?

The Colorado River twists and turns for 1, 450 miles from Colorado down to Mexico.

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The Colorado River is 1,450 miles long. It begins in a small trout lake up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It twists and turns in a general southwest direction all the way down to the Gulf of California. There are 15 dams along the river including the largest, the Hoover Dam.

Can you drive the length of the Grand Canyon?

You cannot drive the length of the Grand Canyon but there is a 23-mile drive with 6 viewpoints that you can stop and observe the canyon. There are also 5 unmarked pullouts and few areas that have picnic tables. There are restrooms along the route as well. The Desert View Drive begins in the Grand Canyon Village and continues along SR 64 to Desert View. At Desert View, you can see the old Historic Desert View Watchtower.

Can you drive across the Grand Canyon?

Navajo Bridge - Grand Canyon
The Navajo Bridge is a spot to walk across the Grand Canyon.

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You can’t drive across the Grand Canyon from the South Rim to North Rim (or vice versa) but you can drive up and around or down and around over the Navajo bridge. There are actually two Navajo bridges the old one (historic) and the new one (modern). In 1995 the new bridge was completed and was much wider to accommodate larger vehicles and more weight. They kept the old bridge intact and visitors can walk across the bridge to get amazing views of the Colorado River below. The Modern Navajo bridge is 909 feet long, 44 feet wide and sits 470 feet above the River.

Can you walk across the Grand Canyon?

Male bighorn sheep ram with large horns on a cliff.
You may run into some bighorn sheep on your hike across the Grand Canyon.

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You can hike across the Grand Canyon. While it is only 10 miles across from the South Rim to the North Rim it is a 24-mile hike down into the canyon across one of the two bridges at the bottom and back up the other side. There is one trail on the North Rim side, the North Kaibab Trail and two trails to choose from on the South Rim side, the South Kaibab Trail and the Bright Angel Trail. If you hike the Bright Angels trail you will cross the Silver Bridge, a suspension bridge to the other side of the Colorado, if you take the South Rim Trail you will cross the Black Bridge to get to the other side. Be on the lookout for bighorn sheep, red-tailed hawk and the fluffy-eared Albert’s squirrel.

Can you raft all the way down the Grand Canyon?

Grand Canyon National Park - Rafting
It takes 7 days to raft down the Grand Canyon with a motorized boat. It takes 15-21 days to complete in a raft with oars.

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Yes, you can raft all 277 miles down the Grand Canyon. Most people use a guided commercial rafting company to organize and coordinate a raft trip down the river. There are multiple difficult rapids to navigate along the way so not just anyone can attempt it. You can apply for the lottery to obtain a permit if you are an experienced boat operator. If you are traveling in a motorized boat the whole trip can take 7 days, if you are in an oar boat it can take 15 days to three weeks. Some outfitters specialize in rafting and fishing, knowing the best spots to stop along the way for the biggest rainbow trout, bass, and catfish.

Is the Grand Canyon the biggest in the world?

No. The biggest canyon in the world (non-Oceanic) is the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon in Tibet. This canyon was carved by the Tsangpo River which continues to roar through the canyon in the northern Himilaya. The Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon is 3 times deeper than the Grand Canyon at 3 miles deep (more than 17,000 feet). It is also just a tad longer coming in at about 313 miles, just 36 miles longer than the Grand Canyon. The canyon itself is one of the least explored due to the difficulty of the terrain and the high altitude.

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness and suggesting actions we can all do to help wildlife. As a former elementary school teacher I have a love for learning and teaching. My goal is to get kids fired-up about animals. Learning about the animals we share this earth with makes life better. When I am not writing I am living the good life with my husband and six kids (we are down to two that are still at home...and our giant labradoodle, Tango!).

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