GRAND CANYON TOUR GUIDE - Spring/Summer 2017


Inside the park: TRAIL OF TIME

From the Grand Canyon Tour Guide print publication

The Trail of Time is an interpretive walking timeline trail along the South Rim that focuses on Grand Canyon vistas and rocks, prompting visitors to the park to ponder, explore and understand the magnitude of geologic time and the stories captured in the Canyon’s rock layers and landscapes.

Every meter of the path represents one million years of Grand Canyon geology. The trail itself extends from Yavapai Observation Station to Verkamp’s Visitor Center.

As walkers stroll down the meandering trail, they encounter 24 by 36 inch information panels. Thirteen of them are located along the Trail of Time. These wayside stations  document events such as the Cambrian explosion, the uplift of the Colorado Plateau and other topics. Along with the waysides, actual rock samples collected from all 70-plus geologic layers of the Canyon line the trail, placed for visitors to reach out and touch.

The goal of the trail is for visitors to understand the vast geologic history of the Grand Canyon by utilizing a portion of the existing South Rim trail. Markers are located along the trail at one meter intervals, with every meter (or every step) representing one million years of the Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old history, according to park rangers. The Trail of Time is made possible by the Informal Science Education Program of the National Science Foundation, which provided $2 million for the project.

While visitors to the park will find the trail beneath their feet, online visitors will find a Web-based component of the trail as well. The University of New Mexico hosts the “Virtual Trail of Time,” site. The site can be found at

Eventually, she added, the trail will extend virtually through Grand Canyon Village with no markings, all the way to Maricopa Point.