How Deep is the Grand Canyon?

Ask anyone about the deepest canyon on the face of the earth and chances are good they will name the Grand Canyon in Arizona as being the deepest canyon in the world. The fame of the Grand Canyon and its associated national park account for this fact, but the Grand Canyon, while quite deep by natural standards, is in fact not the deepest canyon on earth. There are deeper canyons in the Himalaya mountain range and in other parts of North and South America. Nevertheless the depth of the Grand Canyon is considerable, so it is interesting to be able to answer the question: How deep is the Grand Canyon?

To start with, we should note the question is phrased as properly as it could be. The question would be appropriate if the entire canyon was of the same depth, but that is not the case. Different portions of the canyon are deeper than others, so perhaps the real question should be: How deep is the deepest point of the Grand Canyon? The answer to this question is approximately one vertical mile, with the distance slightly greater if you are measuring from the top of the canyon’s north rim and slightly less if you are measuring from the top of the canyon’s south rim.

The deepest part of the Grand Canyon lies within the Grand Canyon National Park. Although the park includes only 56 miles within its jurisdiction, the actual length of the canyon is much wider — 277 river miles to be exact. Its widest section is 18 miles across, which is similarly impressive. For those who are more accustomed to kilometer measurements, the deepest part of the canyon is 1.6 vertical kilometers, with the length being 446 kilometers and width at its widest points being 29 kilometers. Experts agree no other canyon offers such a majestic combination of width, length, and depth than the Grand Canyon. Other canyons may exceed it in any of these single measurements, but none of the others combine them so well.

If, however, we keep the question as simply, how deep is the Grand Canyon? Then we will have to give several different answers depending on the specific point on the canyon we are talking about. Other points in the canyon are just over half a mile deep or less, and the elevation of the canyon walls varies widely depending on which portion of the canyon you happen to be visiting. In any case, the depth of the canyon overall is quite impressive and invokes a sense of awe in any visitor who comes to see it. There is nothing else on the earth quite like it, so if you are able, you should visit the Grand Canyon at least once in your lifetime.

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