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11 reasons to visit the Grand Canyon South Rim

The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Here are 11 other reasons you should visit.

"The one great sight which every American should see,” is what President Theodore Roosevelt said when he laid eyes on Grand Canyon.

A lot has changed since Roosevelt first visited this Arizona treasure. It became one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and today the Grand Canyon offers many different options.

Here are 11 reasons you should visit the Grand Canyon's South Rim:

1. It will take your breath away

Whether you've never been or it’s a place you visit frequently, the view never gets old. We like to say if you can describe the Grand Canyon then you have never experienced the Grand Canyon. Treat yourself to this natural spectacle.

2. It holds 1.8 billion years of geology

The mighty Colorado River began its work on the Grand Canyon more than 20 million years ago. River water shaped layers of rock over millions of years. The canyon is made up of giant, eroded buttes, monoliths and temples -- in colors that constantly change in the light.

3. Architect Mary Jane Colter's National Park Service rustic style

Colter was a woman who loved telling stories through her work. At the Grand Canyon, Colter designed the buildings and supervised the placement of each brick. She was very demanding, tough and exact in what she wanted to see. While many of Colter's works have been destroyed, her imagination lives on at the Grand Canyon.

4. Kolb Studio holds the photographic history of the area

The evolution and survival of Kolb Studio is also the story of its builders, Emery and Ellsworth Kolb. The brothers were pioneers and entrepreneurs, artists and rebels. The studio is a must stop even if all you do is check out the view. Photos, movie clips and, if you’re lucky, you may get to hear the whole story of the amazing Kolb Brothers.

5. Ditch the car and get there by rail

Get on the Grand Canyon Railway in Williams and leave the driving to the conductor. The steam engine chugs past rugged but pristine terrain before arriving at the Grand Canyon. And the train back to Williams includes a surprise that is a ton of fun.

6. El Tovar is the crown jewel of Historic National Park Lodges

This is a must-see property, if not a must-stay. Opened in 1905, it was designed as a Swiss hunting lodge. Many considered it the fanciest hotel west of the Mississippi at the time.

7. Enjoy the park as a volunteer and help maintain it

Due to natural elements and overuse, many of the trails need a hero (or heroes). Each year, volunteers clean up the effects of wildfires, monsoon, and visitors at the Grand Canyon. Find out how you can get involved.

8. Take a little piece of Grand Canyon home from Hopi House

It’s the canyon's first and largest gift store. The building itself is as much a work of art as the goods it houses. Mary Colter designed the Hopi House to closely resemble the traditional Hopi pueblo.

9. Bright Angel Lodge provides one-of-a-kind view

Built in 1935, Colter's creation offers a view that is just amazing. Visitors stay in a cabin that is literally 15 to 20 feet from the rim of the canyon. And long before the words "green," "organic" and "self-sustaining" hit the mainstream vernacular, Colter made use of native materials to build her creation.

10. Grand Hotel has Old West vibe, modern features

With boutique chic rooms, a steak house, and lounge with more craft beers than any other hotel in the area, the Grand Hotel offers visitors a unique experience. The hotel also has the only indoor pool in the area.

11. You don't have to walk at all to get a great view

Mules take riders on a new canyon vista trail, along the east rim. The 4.5-mile ride is flat and offers views of the canyon, as well as some of its history. Quite simply, the ride is breathtaking and informative.