Some History For Your Tour of the Grand Canyon National Park

Astronaut photo of the Grand Canyon

Pictured Above:  Astronaut photograph (ISS039-E-5258) was taken on March 25, 2014 by the Expedition 39 crew of the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide.  Recent geological evidence suggests that the Colorado River had initially established itself through the Canyon over 6 million years ago.  For thousands of years this great canyon has been inhabited by different tribes of Native Americans including the Hopi, Pueblo, Navajo, Sinagua, Yavapai, Havasupai, and Hualapai Tribal Nation.  Throughout different parts you can find many Native American settlements and previously inhabited caves.

Many different cultures and nations have visited the Grand Canyon throughout history.  In 1540, Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado journeyed to the Grand Canyon South Rim between Moran Point and Desert View.  Coronado’s expedition ran out of drinking water and had to turn back.

In 1826, a band of trappers and mountain men which included James Ohio Pattie, are believed to have been the next Europeans to have visited the canyon.  Later in the 1850s, Brigham Young dispatched Mormon missionary Jacob Hamblin to locate an easy river crossing in the canyon.  Hamblin was able to build good relations with the Hualapai Nation and other settlers during his expedition.  These relationships aided him in the discovery of the Crossing of the Fathers, Lee’s Ferry, and Pierce Ferry crossing.  The latter two Colorado River crossings were the only two locations suitable for ferry operation.

In 1869, United States Civil War veteran Major John Wesley Powell led a dangerous expedition down the Grand Canyon.  The Powell expedition consisted of 4 boats, 9 men, and food to last the group for 10 months.  One man quit the expedition after the first month while three more men disappeared altogether.

Major Powell repeated the expedition in 1871 -1872 which resulted in some very amazing historical photographs and the development of an accurate map of the area.  Because of the previous expedition’s three missing members, Powell looked to Jacob Hamlin to use his network of settlers and Native Americans to see him through the canyon safely.

In 1903, United States President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Grand Canyon for the first time.  President Roosevelt fell in love with the canyon and established the Grand Canyon Game Preserve on November 28, 1906.  He further pushed the Grand Canyon to be designated as a U.S. National Park but land and mining opponents blocked the measure for over 11 years until President Woodrow Wilson signed the Nation’s 17th U.S. National Park through an Act of Congress.

If you are visiting Las Vegas, don’t deprive yourself of an incredible tour of the Grand Canyon.  Pink Jeep Tours offers a wide variety of Grand Canyon tours.  You’ll be picked up at your hotel in a luxury air conditioned Tour Trekker vehicle and then you’ll disembark to the West or South Rim to experience the Grand Canyon in all its glory.

1907 Grand Canyon National Monument Map

Pictured Above:  1907 Map of the Grand Canyon.