Saturday, October 16, 2010

'Trail of Time' Dedicated at Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is the earth's single largest landform that speaks to the glories of earth history. Now Grand Canyon National Park has the largest geology exhibit in the world - the Trail of Time! On October 13, 2010, the trail was officially dedicated.

It was a fantastically beautiful day at the canyon with lots of sunshine, temperatures in the low 70's and a few white billowy clouds. The light was brilliant.

A crowd of about 120 people were in attendance at the west portal to the trail in front of the Verkamp's store.

Here is a close-up of the west portal to the TOT in front of the Verkamp's store. Note the familiar profile of the Grand Canyon cut into rocks that are actual samples of the rock layers they depict. That is Vishnu Schist representing the basement rocks of the canyon, with tilted Grand Canyon Supergroup rocks above them and horizontal Paleozoic strata capping the monument. There are four of these portals along the 2 kilometer long trail.

Here are some of the All-Stars who were in attendance for the ceremonies.

Steve Semken is a professor at Arizona State University and was one of the members who envisioned and worked on the Trail of Time design from the start.

Geologists George Billingsley and Sue Beard of the USGS, Flagstaff made the trip up to the canyon for the dedication.

And a picture of yours truly in front of the west portal.

Here is an example of one of the 13 signs that help explain the story of the Grand Canyon. This one tells the story of the youngest strata at the canyon, the Kaibab Limestone. I know that I will use this exhibit often in my many classes and tours that I run at the canyon.

Photo by Mike Quinn of one of the trail medallions. These brass plaques are placed along the trail at ten meter intervals with each meter representing one million years. At the appropriate time marker, a rock sample or sign is in place to explain to visitors what this moment in time represents.

A visitor walks across the lithified bed of the Kaibab Sea along the Trail of Time at Grandeur Point.

One of the highlights of the TOT are actual rock samples that have been cut, polished, and placed on concrete pedestals along the trail. This example of Vishnu Schist shows spectacular folding within a dike of Zoroaster Granite.

Superintendent Steve Martin giving remarks at the dedication of the trail in front of the Verkamp's store.

Steve Martin and the entire design team on the rim of the canyon. From back to forward are Steve Semken, Karl Larlstrom, Laura Crossey, Mike Williams, and Judy Bryan (in ranger hat).

The design team - (left to right) Steve Semkin, Judy Bryan, Mike Williams, Laura Crossey, Ryan Crow, and Karl Karlstrom.

Arizona governor Jan Brewer sent the state forester to make a few remarks in her absence. She was most likely busy cutting funding for the state parks in Arizona or otherwise avoiding being seen in public for fear of a brain-freeze. Vote for Terry Goddard for Governor on November 2 to restore sanity to Arizona politics and governance!

Karl making remarks at the dedication. It was his vision beginning in 1995 that made the TOT a reality.

The National Park Service awarded Karl a Pendleton blanket with the image of the canyon as a way to say thank you for his outstanding leadership in making the trail a reality.

Judy Bryan stands in front of the west portal with a giant pair of scissors ready to cut the green ribbon.

And at 2:47 PM on October 13, 2010, the Trail of Time was open!

I didn't notice any champagne in the area but it was time of great joy at Grand Canyon.

Here is a close-up of the cut ribbon on a juniper tree.

Other guests at the event - (left to right) ranger Ron Brown, Richard Turner, Susan Schroeder, Martha Hahn, and Jan Balsom.

The official 'Trail of Time' logo. Next time you visit Grand Canyon check out the Trail of Time!


  1. Thanks for posting this!
    Great to see you at the meeting!


  2. Wayne, thank you for all of your contributions to the ToT dedication symposium!

  3. What a great Interprative trail!Saw a presentation about it at the GCHBA symposium earlier this month...A lot of time and effort was invested in this great educational resource along the rim. Cheers to all who worked on making it happen!


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