Grand Canyon Skywalk is an extraordinary horseshoe-shaped ‘Glass Bridge’ which is located a mile over the beautiful Colorado River. This glass walkway reaches 70 feet from the edge of the Grand Canyon and provides an interesting vertical view down the rim of the canyon. The Grand Canyon Skywalk is located about 120 miles east of Las Vegas, in Nevada. The glass bridge was built by a certain Hualapai Tribe which aimed to provide a different and unique Grand Canyon experience. The structure became a huge hit, and people came from far and wide to visit it. The inauguration of the Grand Canyon Skywalk took place on the 20th of March, 2007. Among the first people to ever step on this one-of-a-kind structure was Buzz Aldrin.
Grand Canyon and Safety:
Most people often wonder how safe is the Skywalk. The Glass Bride is nearly more than three times higher than the famous Empire State Building. Over one million pounds of steel was used to build this amazing structure! That means that the building can easily stand the weight of 71 fully loaded Boeing 747 planes, which estimates to be around over 71 million pounds. Not only the weight, but the Skywalk can also easily withstand winds blowing at 100 miles per hour, from eight different directions.
When the Grand Canyon Skywalk was being built, the engineers spook special steps which would help them in dealing with earthquake emergencies. The structure is built in such a manner that it can stand an earthquake of up to 8.0 on the Richter scale. That is a pretty strong earthquake and can easily bring down buildings, but the Skywalk can get through it.
The Controversy of Grand Canyon Skywalk:
The Grand Canyon Skywalk has a bit of controversy surrounding it, as well. There are people who speak against it while some speak for it. Those who are against it are concerned that this famous tourist attraction is nothing but an eye sore. Conservationists are of the opinion that the Skywalk is not good for one of the greatest natural wonders, as the Skywalk is turning the Grand Canyon into a commercial tourist attraction. Some people also believe that the Skywalk is lowering the historical, as well as cultural, values of the Grand Canyon and the Hualapai Tribe. Then there are people who raise an issue over the fact that since the Hualapai tribe has very limited infrastructure, how they would be able to support the resorts, currently, there is no telephone or electrical service in the area, no sewer system etc. Managing the resorts and attractions under such circumstances would become extremely difficult.
However, those who are in favor of the Grand Canyon Skywalk, believe that the Glass Bridge is simply a unique tourist spot, which offers something, which no other place in the world does. They also believe that since this Glass Bridge is one of its kind in the whole world and people from all over come to visit it, so this can be an effective mean for the Hualapai tribe to make more money. They also feel the new Grand Canyon West development will prove to be beneficial for the local economy.
The 6,000 square-foot development which comprises the Glass Bridge is called the Grand Canyon West. It includes a gift shop, a visitor’s center and even a nice restaurant. The Hualapai Tribe has further plans for extending their project and including other things like hotels and shopping centers. Setting up movie theatres and VIP lounges are also part of the plan. They also plan on building a golf course close to the Glass Bridge. Their biggest plan comprises to include cable cars as a mean of transportation, which the tourists could use to travel from the canyon rim to the Colorado River.
Cost of Tickets:
The tickets to the Skywalk are available at pretty affordable prices. Adults are charged $29.95, whereas children of 3-11 years are charged $22.46. Those belonging to the Senior group or to the Military are charged $26.96, only. The tickets are not that expensive considering you can see experience the Grand Canyon from an angle, like never before. You may also stay on the bridge as long as you want.
The Grand Canyon Skywalk is definitely the first of its kind, and people from far and wide visit it. It is indeed one of the most popular tourist attractions. You may be allowed to stay on the bridge for as long as you want, but you cannot take pictures of it, with your own personal camera. They have their own stationary cameras which can take pictures for you, which you can later pick up from the gift shop. All in all, it is definitely worth visiting.