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The Grand Tour Of American Canyons

Updated on June 19, 2017

AMERICAN CANYONS

BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON:

Located eleven miles south of Crawford, in Western Colorado, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison contains the Curecanti National Recreation Area, dinosaur fossil beds, the Blue Mesa Reservoir, the Morrow Point Dam, the Gunnison Diversion Tunnel, and the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area.

Declining forty-three feet per mile for twelve miles, with Chasm View the deepest drop, the Gunnison River travels the entire length of the canyon, making it one of America's steepest mountain descents. The darkness of the Black Canyon makes it extremely difficult for sunlight to penetrate the canyon walls, creating shadows that make the rocks appear black.

The scenic south rim drive along the canyon, nature trails, rock climbing, river rafting, kayaking, remote topography, and Class III to Class V highly advanced whitewater rapids are popular activities visitors to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison may enjoy.

GRAND CANYON OF THE YELLOWSTONE:

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is located downstream from Yellowstone Falls, and the Hayden Valley, on the Yellowstone River in the Absaroka Mountains of Northwestern Wyoming, along the Continental Divide.

The canyon is nine hundred feet deep, and about twenty miles long, with predominantly rust-red and yellow-colored rock walls and offers lava flows, glacial deposits, a geyser basin, access to the active Mammoth Hot Springs, and the Virginia Cascades,.

Other attractions found near the canyon include the Upper Falls, the Seven Mile Hole Hiking Trail, the Uncle Tom's Trail, Lookout Point, Red Rock Point, and the Artist Paint Pots Thermal Area. Gibbon Falls, Yellowstone Lake, and the Bridge Bay Campground and Natural Bridge are nearby.

Specimen Ridge, with the largest collection of petrified trees in the world, the 132-foot tall Tower Waterfall, the South Rim Trail, the Lower Falls that are twice the size of Niagra Falls, Cascade Creek, the Clear Lake area, and the Classic V-shaped Pelican Valley, with the 10,223-foot tall Mount Washburn in the background overlooking the canyon are other sites to behold at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

NINE MILE CANYON:

Known as the "World's Largest Art Gallery," and located in Eastern Utah, the Nine Mile Canyon contains extensive Fremont Pre-Columbian Archaeological Culture, and Ute Indian, rock art, shelters, and feed store houses.

The short-lived Old West town of Harper, that is now a Ghost Town, natural gas deposits beneath the Tavaputs Plateau, and the connecting Gates Canyon, Cottonwood Canyon, Argyle Canyon, Minnie Maud Canyon, Dry Canyon, and Daddy Canyon, are other drawing cards associated with the Nine Mile Canyon.

HELLS CANYON:

Lying below the Seven Devils Mountain Range, Hells Canyon was carved by the Snake River along the border of Oregon and Idaho. The canyon contains Prehistoric artifacts, 19th Century gold mining ruins, and pictographs on the walls as written records of the Nez Perce, Shoshone, Bannock, Paiute, Cayuse, and other Native American Indians who inhabited the canyon. With a depth of 7,993 feet, Hells Canyon is also the deepest river gorge in North America.

Hells Canyon offers the Heaven's Gate Overlook, the Brownlee Dam, the Oxbow Dam, and the Hells Canyon Dam. Prickly pear cactuses, sage-brushes, grass brushes, Ponderosa pine trees, Douglas fir trees, Larch trees, Lodgepole pine trees, and True Fir trees are scattered throughout the Hells Canyon Wilderness,

Black bears, deer, elk, cougars, Chukar Partridges, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and several other species of animals make their homes there. So does the Snake River, the Rapid River, and the Imnaha River.

There are three hundred-and-sixty miles of hiking trails, whitewater rafting, and horseback riding found in Hells Canyon. Fossil beds containing Giant Pigs, and Bear-Dogs, can also be located there.

The Thomas Condon Paleontology Center Museum with several interactive exhibits, wagon train ruts from the Oregon Trail, which can be located at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, and the Native American Tamastslikt Cultural Institute are additional attractions visitors find at Hells Canyon,

The Pendleton Underground, from the Old West, with its famous illegal saloons and bordellos, and the Eagle Cap Excursion Train, from the Grande Ronde River to the Wallowa Mountain base, are also found in Hells Canyon,

PALO DURO CANYON:

Found by the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River, and known as "The Grand Canyon of Texas," Palo Duro is the second largest canyon in the United States.

Located in the Caprock Escarpment in the Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon offers caves, hoodoos, mesas, dramatic lights, multiple colors, and Lighthouse Peak, the most well known feature of the canyon.

Palo Duro contains the Quartermaster Formation's red lower slopes of the canyon. The Trujillo Formation's ledges, the Tecovas Formation's fossilized rock layers with Prehistoric fish, amphibians, semi-aquatic, crocodile-like Phytosaurs, saber-toothed cats, mastodons, horses, Borophaginae Dogs, Aepycamelus Camels, tortoises, rhinoceroses, and the Ogallala Formation's cliffs at the very top of the canyon.

Popular tourist attractions at the Palo Duro Canyon include hiking, bird watching, mountain biking, the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum with more than three million artifacts, the largest history museum in Texas, and the scenic Goodnight Memorial Trail.

WAIMEA CANYON:

Known as "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific," and found on the western side of Kauai, the largest Hawaiian island, the Waimea Canyon was cut by the Waimea River descending down Mount Waialeale, Kauai's central peak. One of the wettest places in the world.

Waimea Canyon was also created by eruptions of Kilauea Volcano. These formed thin, west-dipping lavas. Also contributing to the formation of the canyon were the Olokele and Makaweli Volcanoes, that formed thick, flat-topping, lavas on the eastern side of the canyon.

The nearby Waimea Canyon State Park and Wilderness Area are very popular tourist attractions found on Kauai. These provide hiking trails, scenic views of Niihau Island, access to Kekee State Park, the Kokee Natural History Museum, Hawaiian Nene Geese, Red-Footed Boobies, Laysan Albatrosses, Monk Seals, feral pigs, feral goats, and Hawaiian Hoary Bats.

CONCLUSION:

The Grand Canyon in Arizona may be the most famous canyon in the United States. However, several other canyons can also be found throughout the Western Region of America that provide many popular tourist attractions for visitors to enjoy.

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