Trail of Time

Rim hikes at the Grand Canyon can be a mixed bag. On one hand, there is no hike, completely conducted on mostly level terrain anywhere in the world which will afford wondrous views of this caliber with every step. On the other hand, of the millions of people who visit the Canyon each year, 98% never go below the rim. During peak summer season, it can feel like everyone of those people are on the rim with you, fighting like they are in a Grand Prix race for their place on the track. It can be frustrating.

The Trail of Time, covering the stretch of rim from Yavapai Point, near the Geology Museum, moving West into Grand Canyon Village, has undergone a revival. In the wake of Covid-19 the trails are as they were over 100 years ago. Wildlife is unmistakably present. The air is clearer than it has been for years; every day currently is like the day after a heavy rain. Perhaps no area of the Grand Canyon National Park has benefited from the break unintentionally provided by virus as the rim trail areas. The ease from the normal level of visitors has had a revitalizing effect.

The Trail of Time is a walking timeline attempting to take the visitor on a stroll back through geological eras, inviting one to consider and further understand the origins, and the massive undertaking that is the Grand Canyon. With regularly spaced intervals, cement ground markers indicate the timeline and geological eras, while above ground, explanations and descriptions of what the hiker is observing, along with examples of the rocks being explained for their up close inspection, giving personal perspective to the billions of years required for such a magnificent natural wonder to unfold. Also, for the non-fitness enthusiast, who view a hike down into the Canyon as tantamount to paddling out into the English Channel with the intent of swimming to France, this hike is ideal.

This exhibit is less than ten years old, dedicated in October 2010. The concept behind it was to educate, intrigue and impart to visitors – from the most casual day visitor, to the genuine outdoors-man – the immense magnitude of what they are observing. It desires not simply to educate, but to instill into each visitor the vastness of time, the depths of our Earth that holds in it everyone of us. It creates a sense that we are as lucky as we are insignificant to gaze upon something so remarkable, it truly is beyond our imaginations to grasp it in its entirety. But the Trail of Time gives an earnest effort to bring us all closer to that remote place of understanding.

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