Brief History and Facts about the Colorado River

The Colorado River has been carving its way through the Western United States geology for over 2 billion years. Its many layers of limestone and other rock provide a visible tale of how the Earth itself has developed over the years.

For over 12,000 years, it was the sole source of water and life for the Native Americans who lived along its shores. Ancient Pueblo Indians built granaries under the cliffs of what are now a part of the Grand Canyon National Park.

Seven states are graced with the water’s presence. Colorado, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming can all claim to have parts of the magnificent body of water flowing through them.

The river has been a huge source of potable water for these states as well as parts of Mexico. About 78 percent of the river’s water is used for agricultural purposes much like it was thousands of years ago for the natives.

There are 40 species of fish in the river, some of which are indigenous to the river. Four species are endangered but protected (see website). These endangered fish include the pikeminnow and the bonytail. Each of these fish can live to be about 40 or 50 years. They are now apparently regenerating and while they may not be thriving, they are still benefiting from their protected status as mandated by the Endangered Species Act.

The Colorado River is also home to seven national wildlife preserves. There are also recreation areas where people enjoy white water rafting along this incredibly powerful river. The Colorado River is also comprised of 11 different national parks. The most famous is the Grand Canyon National Park. Dinosaur Park is among the most spectacular as actual fossils are visible through the shale and granite.