The 8th New Wonder: The Grand Canyon

Nearly 300 miles long, up to 18 miles across and a stomach-dropping 4,000 vertical feet down, the majestic Grand Canyon's sheer size overwhelms the senses.

Gazing upon its glory, President Theodore Roosevelt called the Grand Canyon "a natural wonder ... absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world."

He urged Americans to preserve what he described as the "wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon."

More than a hundred years later, it's still easy to see why so many of the 5 million annual visitors still call the Grand Canyon a wonder.

Thousands of you agreed and voted for the Grand Canyon as the Eighth New Wonder of the World.

Native Americans Live in Canyon

Some 5 million to 6 million years ago, the Colorado River raged through the Southwest United States, carving out the massive canyon we see today, exposing even older layers of rock previously buried. Geologists say some of the rocks are 2,000 million years old.

Native Americans were the first people to make these rocky walls their home about 12,000 years ago.

Today the Hualapi and Havasupai Indians reside deep in the canyon, balancing age-old traditions with modernity. There are no roads to their village; mules transport the mail.

But at the same time, the tribes are engineering a gravity-defying skywalk that promises an unprecedented bird's-eye view over the canyon early next year.

The bald eagle is another longtime resident of the Grand Canyon, an appropriately wild and majestic setting for this endangered American icon.

At the bottom of the canyon winds the Colorado River, boasting some of the most intense water rafting in the world.

Carved into a corner of the Arizona plains, the great roaring river, towering rock formations and breathtaking vastness of the Grand Canyon serve as a monument to the bold and enduring spirit of America.