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What is the Grand Canyon Skywalk?

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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2016
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The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a U-shaped structure that extends over the rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Built as a tourist attraction, it allows visitors to walk out over the canyon, which can then be viewed through glass panels at their feet. The original idea for the walkway was first proposed in 1996 by David Jin; it was completed and opened to the public in March of 2007.

Extending 70 feet out past the rim of the canyon, the Grand Canyon Skywalk is 65 feet wide and sits approximately 4,000 feet above the Colorado River. The deck is about 10 feet wide, supported by beams anchored into the bedrock. Six layers of glass make up the central portion of the walkway, which spans the entire bridge's length. There are also glass side panels on both the inner and outer edges so visitors can safely view the canyon. The entire structure weighs roughly a million pounds.

Located on the Hualapai Indian reservation, the Grand Canyon Skywalk sits on a section of the canyon known as Grand Canyon West. It is a popular destination for people visiting Las Vegas, Nevada, which is roughly 120 miles away. Many tour packages for visiting the Grand Canyon include it as a stop.

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People visiting the Grand Canyon Skywalk can travel there any day of the year; it is even open in poor weather conditions. Unlimited access is granted after paying a single flat fee. Cameras and other equipment are prohibited on the walk itself, and visitors are required to wear cloth shoe covers to avoid possible damage to the glass panels. Stationary cameras on the bridge may be used to take photos, or employees can bring cameras onto the bridge to shoot pictures of interested visitors; these pictures can later be purchased. There is also a visitor's center at the location, including a gift shop and cafeteria.

Construction of the Grand Canyon Skywalk was intended mainly to benefit the Hualapai Indians, who own it. The attraction brings in a significant amount of money from tourists, and all profits are split between the tribe and designer David Jin. Many of the Hualapai struggle with poverty and unemployment, and the hope was that building the walkway would benefit them by bringing in significant long-term income.

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