America's Grand Canyon Quiz!

Estimated Completion Time
3 min
America's Grand Canyon Quiz!
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Few places in the world are so simply -- and aptly -- named. How much do you know about America's Grand Canyon?
The canyon area received its first federal protection in what form?
forest reserve status
In 1893, parts of the canyon were named a Forest Reserve, which helped to restrict certain human activities. Now, the area is a national park and subject to tight regulations.
national monument status
national park status

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About how old is the Grand Canyon?
190 million years old
78 million years old
17 million years old
Current estimates guess the canyon's age at around 17 million years old. The ground was eroded by flowing water, exposing layer after layer of ancient rock.

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The Grand Canyon is the deepest canyon on Earth.
TRUE
FALSE
The deepest point of the Grand Canyon is about 7,800 feet, or well over 1 mile. But the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon in the Himalayas is much deeper, at more than 17,000 feet deep in some areas.

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Which U.S. president signed the act creating Grand Canyon National Park?
Teddy Roosevelt
Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson gets credit for creating the national park. However, Benjamin Harrison was a long-time proponent of the canyon, and he introduced park legislation long before the turn of the century.
Benjamin Harrison

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The South Rim of the canyon is the most popular area for tourist activities.
true
The South Rim is one of the most accessible areas of the canyon, and it's where most tourists spend their time. The North Rim is more remote and requires more arduous travel.
false

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Which major river runs through the Grand Canyon?
Colorado River
The Colorado River courses through the bottom of the canyon, wearing away the rock to ever deeper dimensions. The river begins in Colorado and ends Baja California.
San Juan River
Rio Grande River

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Since the 1870s, about how many people have died in the Grand Canyon?
less than 400
more than 700
The Grand Canyon is beautiful, but it can be hazardous to human health -- more than 700 people have perished there since the 1870s. People die due to the weather, falls, drownings and a plethora of other dangers.
about 1,200

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From a geologic timeline perspective, what part of the exposed canyon walls is the oldest?
Tonto Group
The Tonto Group is near the bottom of the canyon, and thus, one of the oldest layers of rock exposed in the canyon. This group is about 1,200 feet thick.
Toroweap Formation
Bright Angel Shale

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At its widest, how far across is the canyon?
8 miles
18 miles
The narrowest point of the canyon is about 600 yards. At its widest, it is 18 miles across. The average width is about 10 miles.
38 miles

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What percentage of visitors view only the South Rim of the park?
90%
The South Rim is often jam-packed with tourists and cars, but it still draws the vast majority of visitors. By some estimates, about 90% of visitors see only the South Rim area.
70%
60%

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The Grand Canyon has some of the cleanest air in the United States.
true
Few people live in the vicinity of the canyon, meaning that the air here is some of the cleanest in the country. On a clear day, you can see for nearly 100 miles.
false

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In what year did UNESCO declare Grand Canyon National Park a World Heritage Site?
1979
The World Heritage Site designation means that the United Nations recognizes the canyon as an area of cultural importance. The park was declared a Heritage site in 1979.
1959
1949

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How long is the Grand Canyon?
about 430 miles
about 270 miles
The Canyon is around 270 miles long. It stretches throughout the northwest corner of Arizona.
about 180 miles

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Who was the first geologist to visit the Grand Canyon?
John W. Powell
John S. Newberry
John S. Newberry was the first geologist to study the canyon. In 1858, he began creating cross-section illustrations of the canyon rock in order to better understand its formations.
Joseph Ives

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For average hikers, how long does it take to make the walk from the top of the canyon to the river below?
about 5 hours
about 3 hours
about a day
It takes the better part of the day for hikers to simply make the one-way trip to the bottom of the canyon. For safety reasons, park officials strongly advise against people trying to descend to the river and then climb up again in the same day.

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If you want to drive from the South Rim to the North Rim, how many miles will you travel?
about 250 miles
The trip from the heavily visited South Rim to the more remote North Rim is a journey of about 250 miles by car. It takes roughly five hours to make the drive.
about 400 miles
about 520 miles

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Which layer of rock would you find at the top of the Grand Canyon?
shale
limestone
Soft limestone crowns many areas of the tops of the canyon. It is the first layer to be carried away when erosion begins in earnest.
granite

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In 1956, two commercial airliners collided over the Grand Canyon. How many people were killed in the accident?
210
128
At the time, the crash was the deadliest in the history of flight -- 128 people perished as the planes plunged into the eastern part of the canyon. The accident led to the creation of the Federal Aviation Administration.
93

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About how many species of mammals make their homes in the park?
about 30
about 70
About 70 different types of mammals live around the canyon. There are also five species of amphibians and 25 types of reptiles.
about 120

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When did the United States create Grand Canyon National Park?
1898
1919
The canyon did have federal protection starting in the early 1890s, but it wasn't established as a national park until 1919. The park encompasses about 1.2 million acres.
1867

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Which prominent politician said that the Grand Canyon was the one great sight which every American should see?
Woodrow Wilson
Dwight Eisenhower
Teddy Roosevelt
Teddy Roosevelt, always awed by nature's grandeur, was particularly overwhelmed by the canyon. He implored Americans to pass legislation protecting the canyon for future generations.

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The North and South Rims of the canyon are both open all year round.
true
false
The North Rim's roads are often impassable due to snow, so it is closed to tourists in late fall to early spring. The South Rim, however, is open throughout the year.

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The Grand Canyon National Park is about how many square miles?
1,900 square miles
Grand Canyon National Park is about 1,900 square miles. It's so large that even from the higher North Rim, visitors can see only a fraction of the canyon's expanse.
5,400 square miles
9,100 square miles

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About how many tourists per year visit Grand Canyon National Park?
about 3 million
about 5 million
This national park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. About 5 million people make the journey to the canyon each year.
about 7 million

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Point Imperial is the highest peak in the Grand Canyon. What is its elevation?
10,800 feet
9,800 feet
8,800 feet
Point Imperial is the highest area of the canyon. It rests at 8,800 feet above sea level, on the canyon's North Rim.

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The South Rim was first visited by Europeans in the 1500s. How much time passed before Europeans visited the more remote North Rim?
about 35 years
about 75 years
about 230 years
It seems hard to believe, but it's true -- it took more than 230 years for Europeans to finally set foot on the North Rim of the canyon. The North Rim's rugged remoteness is vastly different than the busy South Rim.

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In 1869, John Wesley Powell led a trip down the Colorado River to explore its territories. How long did the journey last?
101 days
Powell's adventure lasted about three months. His treacherous journey came at the expense of several lives, but his records helped to develop the first maps of the area.
230 days
311 days

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There are traces of inhabitants in the canyon area dating back how many years?
about 2,000 years
about 12,000 years
Scientists have found remnants of civilizations dating back to nearly 12,000 years ago. It wasn't until the 1800s, though, that European descendants began to map the area in earnest.
about 19,000 years

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The North Rim of the canyon is significantly higher than the South Rim. What's the elevation of the North Rim?
8,200 feet
The North Rim sits at an elevation of about 8,200 feet. In contrast, the highest point of the South Rim is 7,400 feet.
9,300 feet
10,100 feet

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In what year was the Marble Canyon National Monument integrated into Grand Canyon National Park?
1975
More than four decades ago, in 1975, Marble Canyon National Monument was ended … because it was then reintroduced as part of the larger national park system.
1988
1991

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