USATourist News MagazineMarch 2007
In this issue:
Located in northwestern Arizona is one of the most breathtaking natural attractions in the world, the Grand Canyon. www.usatourist.com/english/destinations/arizona/nationalparks/grandcanyon/grand-canyon-main.html The Grand Canyon National Park lies on the Colorado Plateau and contains 1,218,375 acres. The most popular spot to view the Canyon is the South Rim, which is also the most crowded as about 90% of tourists only visit this section of the Grand Canyon. The North Rim isn't nearly as crowded but is about a 215 mile (314 km) drive and being at a higher altitude than the South Rim it is closed during the winter months. Toward the west you may view the Grand Canyon West from the Hualapai Reservation. Soon, a new and astonishing way will be available to view the Grand Canyon.
The Skywalk in Grand Canyon West's Eagle Point, the latest man-made wonder of the world, is going to be opening soon to the public on March 28, 2007. The Skywalk is a curved shaped, glass walkway that extends 70 feet (21m) over the Grand Canyon and more than 4,000 feet (1,219.2 m) above the Grand Canyon floor. The architecture is stunning.
The 30 million dollar skywalk had to pass extensive testing before being approved for construction. The testing outcome showed the Skywalk can support the weight of 71 fully loaded Boeing 747 airplanes, which is more than 71 million pounds. It can also handle 100 mile per hour winds from 8 different directions, and an 8.0 magnitude earthquake that is within 50 miles (80 km).
The cost to experience the Skywalk will be $25. (This is in addition to the park entrance fee.) No more than 125 visitors will be allowed on the Skywalk at a time and it is first come first served, however advance reservations can be arranged. It will be open from sunrise to sunset. For safety and preventing scratches on the glass, shoe covers will be issued to all individuals touring the Skywalk.
Accompanying the glass Skywalk a 6,000 square-foot visitor center will be open to tourists. The facility will be equipped with restaurants, bars, a gift shop, museum, a movie theatre, and more. Events and weddings will also be offered. www.grandcanyonskywalk.com
As previously mentioned, the Skywalk is being built on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. The Reservation sits on more than a million acres including 108 miles (173 km) of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. Their tribal capital is located at nearby Peach Springs which is located 54 miles (87 km) northeast of Kingman on Historic Route 66 (see more below on Route 66) and is the only town located on the reservation. Hualapai translates to "People of the Tall Pine." The Hualapai Tribe has inhabited this area for more than 1,400 years. The tribe is reliant on tourism. However, unlike many other Indian tribes they do not rely on gambling revenue. Instead revenue is generated through their Hualapai River Running river-rafting company located on the Colorado River. The tribe also runs the Grand Canyon Caverns which offers guided tours through chambers that are 21 stories underground. They also sell big-game hunting permits. The new Skywalk is going to change the economy of Hualapai Tribe. For a first hand account of a Havasupai Adventure you can visit one of our pages: www.usatourist.com/english/adventures/travel/havasupai-reservation.html
For decades Route 66 connected two of the largest U. S. cities, Chicago and Los Angeles. The distance was 2,400 miles (3,862 km). The Route 66 Highway was called the "Mother Road" by John Steinbeck in his 1939 The Grapes of Wrath, and to this day is still considered just that, despite being dissolved by the U.S. highway system's evolution. Today, only bits and pieces are left. The good news is there are some sections still intact; the longest remaining intact section of Route 66 (160 continuous miles/257 km) can be found in Arizona, running from Seligman to Kingman. Many landmarks still stand on this stretch as well as access to other interesting destinations. www.usatourist.com/english/destinations/arizona/route66/route-66-main.html
Some of the stops along the way include:
The Grand Canyon Caverns, located 22 miles (35 km) west of Seligman, are natural limestone caverns 210 feet underground. This is a classic Route 66 landmark. www.gccaverns.com
Less than fifty miles down the Route 66 is Kingman, Arizona, the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona headquarters. Every year the association hosts the Annual Route 66 Fun Run. All street legal vehicles are invited to take part in the 140 mile journey from Seligman to Topock/Golden Shores. This year it will be held May 4th. www.azrt66.com
If you don't mind a detour, after leaving Kingman you can visit the Hoover Dam via I-40 and Hwy 93. The Hoover Dam is a 726-foot high dam (the tallest concrete dam in the western hemisphere) which holds back the waters of Lake Mead, the largest man-made lake in the USA. Las Vegas is only a 30 mile (48 km) drive from the Hoover Dam. www.usatourist.com/english/places/nevada/hooverdam.html
Returning to Route 66, just south of Kingman, you will head southwest into the Sacramento Mountains and through the town of Oatman where parody gunfights and history of a gold mining center draws tourists. www.oatmangoldroad.com
After leaving Oatman, the highway merges with Interstate-40 and takes motorists into California. For those of you interested in driving what's left of Highway 66 I recommend exploring the Historic 66 Web site www.historic66.com. The site gives you turn-by-turn road descriptions. They also offer a forum where people can discuss the sites along the way, get advice, and learn more about Route 66.
Who ever would have guessed that at the base of the Grand Canyon are abundant waterfalls and a desert oasis? One of the best ways to see this natural sanctuary is to hike down the canyon with expert guides leading the way. The Secret Desert Oasis Hike includes lunch, so just bring your hiking boots! Complimentary pick-up service is available from all hotels in Flagstaff, Williams, Tusayan and the Grand Canyon Village.
Since 1982, Grand Canyon Tours has served Las Vegas visitors with first class tours of the Grand Canyon at discount prices. Choose from dozens of tours by bus, helicopter, train, airplane, or raft -- Grand Canyon Tour Company.
We hope you enjoyed this month's issue of USATourist News Magazine. If you make it to the Grand Canyon Skywalk please let us know. We would love to hear your personal accounts.
Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair
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