The Colorado River is one of main rivers of the Southwestern US. In addition to being beautiful, it has a long history. Learn some facts about this spectacular waterway in this article.
The first people known to inhabit that river basin were the Paleo-Indians about 12,000 years ago. However, there was not much human activity until about 8,000 to 2,000 years ago during the Desert Archaic period.
Today, somewhere between 36 to 40 million rely on the water from The Colorado River for domestic, industrial, and agricultural needs. Its hundreds of canals and 29 dams help provide water to surrounding residents.
There are 25 major tributaries that join the river. The largest of such tributaries is the Green River. The Gila River is second.
Temperatures along the river vary, mostly depending on the elevation of a specific area. The lower basin averages a temperature of 92.1 inches, while the upper basin averages 77.5. Average annual precipitation is only 6.5 inches. However, the parts of the river that flow through the Rockies average annual precipitation of 40 inches.
The Colorado River runs through five US states including Colorado, Arizona, Utah, California, and Nevada. It also runs through two Mexican states, Baja California and Sonora.
Some of the first white settlers along the Colorado River were the Mormons. In fact, Mormon settlers found the town of St. Thomas in 1865. It was located at the confluence of the Colorado and Virgin Rivers. However, the town was abandoned in 1871.
The Colorado River watershed is home to an astounding 1,600 kinds of plants. Some of the most popular include Joshua trees, saguaro cacti, and creosote bush.
There are 11 US National Parks along the watershed. They are Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef, Mesa Verde, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Petrified Forest, Saguaro, and Rocky Mountain.