Colorado River Facts

Colorado River Facts
The Colorado River is a major river in the American southwest and in northern Mexico. It flows 1450 miles from the Rocky Mountains to the Sonoran Desert where it dries up. Until 1998 the Colorado River reached the Sea of Cortez, possibly drying up along the way today as a result of being one of the most controlled rivers in the world and because its water is used as a source for millions of people and for industry. Estimates suggest that the Colorado River is at least 5 million years old, and that Paleo Indians settled along the river's banks approximately 12,000 years ago. The Colorado River's watershed (area of land drained by the river) is approximately 246,000 square miles in size.
Interesting Colorado River Facts:
Prior to being named the Colorado River, this river was known by several different names including Xakxwet, Aha Kwahwat, Ha Tay G'am Sil Gsvgov, Hakhwata, Rio del Tizon and Rio Colorado.
The first recorded explorer to reach the Colorado River was Francisco de Ulloa, in 1536.
The Europeans arrived in the 1600s, which triggered a lot of changes to the way of life of the Native Americans who relied on the Colorado River. In the 1800s and 1900s their rights to the water was ignored and today there are only 10 tribes holding water rights or fighting for water rights to the Colorado River.
In 1540 Francisco Vasquez de Coronado began an expedition for a fabled city made of gold. This expedition led some of his men to the Colorado River. A man named Melchior Diaz named the river Rio del Tizon, which stuck until almost 200 years later when it was called the Red Colorado. Colorado is the Spanish word for red.
The first extensive exploration of the Colorado River did not occur until the 1870s. John Wesley Powell was the head of this expedition.
The Colorado River flows through Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, Baja California, and Sonora.
The Colorado River is also fed by tributaries in Wyoming and New Mexico.
The major tributaries of the Colorado River include the Fraser River, Blue River, Eagle River, Roaring Fork River, Gunnison River, Dolores River, San Juan River, Little Colorado River, Bill Williams River, Gila River, Green River, Dirty Devil River, Escalante River, Kanab River, and Virgin River.
Major cities that the Colorado River flows through include Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Moab, Page, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City, Yuma, and San Luis Rio Colorado.
The Colorado River makes up a stretch of the U.S./Mexican border.
The land along the Colorado River is home to a variety of wildlife species including elk, bobcat, deer, mountain lions and sheep, coyote, and also a large variety of birds.
Until 1963 the Colorado River looked red. The Hoover Dam's construction removed the red silt and it was no longer a red color.
11 National Parks are located along the Colorado River.
Famous canyons of the Colorado River include the Grand Canyon, Westwater Canyon, and Cataract Canyon.
There are several dams along the Colorado River including the famous Hoover Dam, built in 1935.


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