The 1,450-mile-long (2,330 km) river drains an expansive, arid watershed that encompasses parts of seven U. After entering Mexico, the Colorado approaches the mostly dry Colorado River Delta at the tip of the Gulf of California between Baja California and Sonora.
Beginning with small bands of nomadic hunter-gatherers, Native Americans have inhabited the Colorado River basin for at least 8,000 years.
The 277 miles (446 km) of the river that flow through the Grand Canyon are largely encompassed by Grand Canyon National Park and are known for their difficult whitewater, separated by pools that reach up to 110 feet (34 m) in depth.
At the lower end of Grand Canyon, the Colorado widens into Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the continental United States, formed by Hoover Dam on the border of Arizona and Nevada.
Europeans first entered the Colorado Basin in the 16th century, when explorers from Spain began mapping and claiming the area, which became part of Mexico upon its independence in 1821.
Early contact between Europeans and Native Americans was generally limited to the fur trade in the headwaters and sporadic trade interactions along the lower river.