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What is the Forbidden Zone in the Grand Canyon?

Last Update on April 06, 2024
by Sunny Samaroo
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When you hear about the Grand Canyon, awe-inspiring landscapes and deep, winding gorges probably come to mind. But have you ever heard of the "forbidden zone" in the Grand Canyon? This term often sparks curiosity and a sense of mystery among visitors. 

In this blog post, we'll explore what the forbidden zone in the Grand Canyon refers to and why it's significant, especially if you're planning to visit the Grand Canyon on a tour like the Grand Canyon West, Hoover Dam, and Seven Magic Mountains Day Tour offered by MaxTour.

View of the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is immensely popular, yet some parts of it are shrouded in mystery.

Understanding the Forbidden Zone

The term "forbidden zone" isn't an official designation used by the National Park Service. Instead, it's a term that has gained traction in popular culture and among certain conspiracy theorists. 

It often refers to areas within the Grand Canyon that are off-limits to the general public. They're usually off-limits for reasons related to safety, tribal land rights, or ecological and archaeological preservation.

Hopi Salt Mines

One area that is sometimes referred to as part of the forbidden zone is the region around where the Colorado River and the Little Colorado River meet. This area is considered sacred by many Native American tribes, including the Hopi and the Navajo. 

One of the main sites in this area is the Hopi Salt Mines. Access to the mine and surrounding areas is restricted to protect their cultural and spiritual significance. 

Even though the Grand Canyon is one of the top tourist attractions in the country, it's important to remember that it also holds great cultural significance for Native American populations.

Maricopa Point Endangered Plant Area

Visitors to the Grand Canyon are free to go to Maricopa Point and enjoy the amazing views, but there's a section that's off-limits. This is the Maricopa Point Endangered Plant Area, where sentry milk-vetch grows. 

Sentry milk-vetch is a rare and endangered species that is only found in a small section of the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, it was being trampled by visitors before the area that it's in was fenced off in 1990. Now that the area has been restricted, visitors and the endangered sentry milk-vetch can co-exist within Maricopa Point.

Maricopa Point at Grand Canyon
Maricopa Point is one of the lesser-visited points at the Grand Canyon but it has a great panoramic view.

Anasazi Bridge

Anasazi Bridge is another off-limits location that is culturally significant. It's a prehistoric bridge made of pine trees, perched 300 feet above the Colorado River. It's thought to have been used by people of the Ancestral Puebloan Culture.

In addition to its cultural significance, Anasazi Bridge is off-limits because it's not safe for people to cross near the precarious Redwall Limestone.

Furnace Flats

Furnace Flats is an archaeological site that dates back to the Ancestral Puebloan Culture in AD 1050–1100. Archaeologists have excavated a huge masonry room here, with a hearth, a ventilator shaft, and many artifacts. To protect the integrity of the site, the area is restricted.

Mines

The Grand Canyon is home to several mines, many of which are off-limits. Many are off-limits due to safety, as the mines are abandoned and may contain hazardous materials, such as Orphan Mine (containing uranium) and Bass Asbestos Mine (containing, of course, asbestos).

Some mines are also off-limits to protect the wildlife that live there, as well as potential archaeological resources.

Myths and Legends

The concept of a forbidden zone in the Grand Canyon is often linked to various myths and legends. 

One of the most famous is the story of an alleged discovery in the early 20th century of a hidden cave supposedly containing Egyptian artifacts and mummies. This myth, as well as other legends of hidden treasures at the canyon, have lured in treasure hunters. 

This story, which appeared in a 1909 article in the Arizona Gazette, has been widely debunked and is considered a hoax. However, it has contributed to the aura of mystery surrounding the idea of a forbidden zone.

Also, quite a few people have gone missing at the Grand Canyon over the years, and there are several myths associated with these occurrences. One myth proposes that they have been swallowed by an opening in the depths of the canyon.

View of Grand Canyon
At its deepest point, the Grand Canyon is about 6,000 feet deep. That's over a mile!

Visiting the Grand Canyon Responsibly

When visiting the Grand Canyon, it's important to respect all rules and restrictions set by the National Park Service and the tribal authorities. These regulations are in place to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the area. Visitors should stick to designated trails and viewpoints and avoid venturing into restricted areas.

A good mantra to follow when visiting the Grand Canyon (or any outdoor area, really) is "Leave No Trace." Dispose of your trash properly, don't disturb the environment, and respect the wildlife.

The Grand Canyon West, Hoover Dam, and Seven Magic Mountains Day Tour

For those looking to experience the Grand Canyon along with other iconic landmarks in the region, MaxTour offers a fantastic day tour

This tour includes a visit to the Grand Canyon West, which is on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. The Grand Canyon West features the famous Skywalk, a glass bridge that extends out over the canyon.

The tour also takes you to the Hoover Dam, an engineering marvel, and the Seven Magic Mountains, an artistic desert installation. This tour is a great way to see some of the best sights in the region without the hassle of planning and navigating on your own.

View of the Grand Canyon
Mystery or not, the Grand Canyon is worth visiting just for its incredible beauty.

Conclusion

While the idea of a forbidden zone in the Grand Canyon may be steeped in myth and legend, the reality is that certain areas of the park are restricted to protect their ecological and cultural integrity, as well as for your safety.

As visitors, it's our responsibility to respect these restrictions and appreciate the Grand Canyon for the natural and cultural wonder that it is. 

With tours like the one offered by MaxTour, you can enjoy a safe, respectful, and thoroughly enjoyable experience of this magnificent natural wonder, along with other must-see attractions in the area. 

However you decide to explore the Grand Canyon, make sure it's in a way that honors its history, its people, and its unparalleled beauty.

Related Reading: How Do I Prepare for the Grand Canyon Hike?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sunny Samaroo

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