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Grand Canyon
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In Learn More the National Geographic magazine team shares some of its best sources and other information to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects. Special thanks to the Research Division.

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Did You Know?Did You Know?

The red-rock beauty of the Grand Canyon lures millions of visitors to its depths. But each year a dozen or so people don't make it back from the canyon alive.
Lightning strikes, flash floods, and helicopter crashes cause some of these fatalities. But the majority of deaths, says Grand Canyon Emergency Services Chief Ken Phillips, come when hikers of all ages do too much, too fast. With summer temperatures soaring at 120 degrees in the bottom of the canyon, heat exhaustion can overwhelm hikers. Add in the toughest part of the hike—going back up—and you could face disaster.
 "In the peak of the summer, your body heats up, which can lead to heat stroke and then ultimately cardiac arrest," says Phillips. "The majority of the deaths in the canyon are cardiac-arrest related."
Phillips and his team rescue more than 250 people from the canyon each year. To make sure your visit is a good one, the National Park Service encourages visitors to follow "smart hiking tips." Pack plenty of water and salty food. Do not attempt to hike from the canyon rim down to the Colorado River and back in just one day. Rest often and stay alert: Accidental falls in the canyon took two lives in 2004. Stay cool: Wrap a wet bandana around your neck and avoid hiking in the heat of the day. And if you raft through the river rapids, wear proper gear and follow your guide's instructions.

—Christy Ullrich

Related Links

Havasupai Tribe
The Havasupai Indian Tribe lives in the Grand Canyon and grants visitors permits to its village in Supai. Explore the history of the tribe.
National Park Service in the Grand Canyon
The National Park Service gives a history of the Grand Canyon's peoples, flora, and fauna. Find out helpful hiking tips.
Grand Canyon
Includes information for planning a trip to Grand Canyon National Park.
Grand Canyon Treks
Discover the trails of the Grand Canyon.
Smart Hiking Tips From the National Park Service
The National Park Service provides smart hiking tips for Grand Canyon visitors.

Grand Canyon Hikes
This site tells you everything you need to know about reserving the ideal hike for you. Take a virtual tour, view a live webcam, and get a look at Dave Hogan and Shayne Hall, author Virginia Morell's "excellent guides."


Coder, Christopher. An Introduction to Grand Canyon Prehistory. Grand Canyon Association, 2000.
Courlander, Harold. The Fourth World of the Hopis. University of New Mexico Press, 1987.
Iliff, Flora Greg. People of the Blue Water: A Record of Life Among the Walapai and Havasupai Indians. University of Arizona Press, 1985.
Morehouse, Barbara. A Place Called Grand Canyon. University of Arizona Press, 1996.
Powell, John Wesley. The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons. Penguin Books, 1987.
Pyne, Stephen. How the Canyon Became Grand. Penguin Books, 1999.
Smith, Julian. "The Grander Canyon." Washington Post, September 12, 2004.

NGS Resources

Annerino, John. "The Grand Canyon Explored." National Geographic Adventure (March 2004), 66-8.
"Mission: Grand Canyon." National Geographic Adventure (March 2004), 58-68, 71-4.
Schmidt, Jeremy. Grand Canyon National Park Road Guide: The Essential Guide for Motorists. National Geographic Books, 2004. 
Rennicke, Jeff. "The Mother of All White Water." National Geographic Adventure (October 2003), 66, 68.
Garrett, Wilbur E. "Grand Canyon." National Geographic (July 1978) 2-15.

Kolb, Ellsworth. "Experiences in the Grand Canyon." National Geographic (August 1914) 99-184.
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