Can't you imagine Bobby Kennedy on this ledge?

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Grand Canyon

Since it’s the peak of family vacation time, we figured it would behoove us to pay homage to one of America’s greatest family attractions – The Grand Canyon.

It doesn’t matter if you are an athletic individual looking for a Grand Canyon raft vacation, or if you simply want to take in the sights, there is something for you at this Wonder of the World.

Kamron Wixom, a representative with Western River Expeditions, has spent 700 consecutive days in the Canyon on the Colorado River, so he definitely knows a thing or two about this gorgeous site.

“There’s a synergy between a human being and a canyon. We get possessive of it; it’s our canyon,” said Wixom. “It’s so huge on one scale but so intimate on the other scale that it becomes our own. When people talk about their experiences in the canyon you have an instant bond with each other but at the same time you’re possessive of it. This contrast is indicative of nearly every experience you have in the Grand Canyon.”

As a way to get folks interested in creating their own adventure in the Grand Canyon, Wixom has shared 10 things that everyday visitors probably don’t know about the beautiful area.

10 Things You Never Knew about the Grand Canyon

  • The first known exploration of the Grand Canyon by boat was in 1869, the John Wesley Powell Expedition. He was the first to use the name “Grand Canyon”. By 1969, fewer than 100 people had his followed by boat through the remote gorge.

Grand Canyon Rapids

  • Outside of the occasional dust storms and forest fires, the Grand Canyon is home of the some of the cleanest air in the United States.
Take a deep breath!
Take a deep breath!
  • The Kaibab Tree Squirrel, a unique species that lives only on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, was separated from its South Rim cousins millennia ago.
  • An estimated five million people view the Grand Canyon annually from the North and South rims. Only 20,000 see it by river raft or dory. (Western River Expeditions is the leading outfitter, putting some 4,000 guests through the Canyon each year.)

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  • Grand Canyon was named America’s 17th National Park in 1919, following in the footsteps of, among others, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Crater Lake, Glacier and Denali.
  • The Kennedy family took a highly publicized Grand Canyon rafting trip in 1972 and the popularity of rafting in the Grand Canyon suddenly skyrocketed.
Can't you imagine Bobby Kennedy on this ledge?
Can’t you imagine Bobby Kennedy on this ledge?
  • Grand Canyon still uses a scale of rapids from 1-10, a system that was grandfathered in before an international system scaled rapids from 1 to 6. A 10 is like a 5 on the international scale; a 6 on international scale cannot be navigated.
  • Because they couldn’t afford a boat, two swimmers in 1955 swam the entire length of the Grand Canyon, a distance of 288 miles.
  • The Grand Canyon National Park has recorded more than 4,800 archeological sites and has surveyed just 5 percent of the park’s 1.2 million acres.


  • On June 30, 1956, two planes flying from Los Angeles to Chicago, a United Airlines DC-7 and a TWA Constellation, had a mid-air collision over the Canyon and all on board perished. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was created in 1958 as a result of this accident.

If you’re interested in a trip to the Grand Canyon, consider one of the Grand Canyon river trips that are available this summer season.

For more information, contact Western River Expeditions at 866.904.1160 or visit:


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