Sixty-five million years ago, following extended periods of volcanism, sedimentation and erosion, the Grand Canyon region was compressed and the Colorado Plateau was uplifted thereby giving life to the Colorado River. Ultimately, as the uplift of the Colorado Plateau continued, the debris-laden river gained force and the Grand Canyon's chasm was eroded and deepened. The Colorado River encompasses a distance of 1,450 miles from its origins in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to its drainage in the Gulf of California, sustaining multiple states in the western region of the U.S. 277 miles of the Colorado River actually pass through the Grand Canyon stretching across northern Arizona.


The Colorado River and the Grand Canyon region have been home to many cultures, including a hunting-gathering culture that first appeared around the Canyon's general vicinity from approximately 2000 – 1000 B.C. Traces of this culture have been found that include stone speer points and split-twig figurines of animals. Fifteen hundred years later, in 500 A.D., another hunting-gathering group migrated into the region, the ancestral pueblo people, or the Anasazi. This industrious group grew crops, built masonry villages, created artistic crafts and cultivated over two thousand sites in the area. A regional drought finally forced the pueblo people to migrate to the eastern half of the Grand Canyon.

時間とともに、コホニナ族 (紀元700 ~ 1150年) 、セバット族 (紀元1300年) 、シナグア族、ディネ族 (紀元1600年) およびパイユート族がグランドキャニオン地域のさまざまな部分に移り住み、コミュニティを確立して狩猟と農業を通じて資源を活用しました。ワラパイ族、ハバスーパイ族、ナバホ族、ホピ族およびパイユート族などの部族を含む、これら初期文化のインディアンの子孫は、現在もグランドキャニオン地域に居住しています。


Under the direction of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, Spaniards explored the Grand Canyon in 1540 looking for gold and the legendary Seven Cities of Cibola. After descending one third of the way to the Colorado River, they abandoned their search and left the region. American mountain men became acquainted with the region in the late 1820's but left little in terms of written records and descriptions of the area. In the 1850's, Brigham Young, the Mormon leader, sent Jacob Hamblin to find crossing sites in the Grand Canyon region. In his explorations, Hamblin discovered both Lees Ferry and Pierce Ferry, the only two viable crossing points near the Canyon. Lees Ferry obtained its name from John D. Lee, who began ferry operations in 1871 and Pierce Ferry was named after Harrison Pierce who operated the ferry after 1876.

1857年、ジョセフ・アイブス中尉は米国陸軍省により、カリフォルニア湾からコロラド川沿いを上流に向かって旅することを許可されました。彼の蒸気船ので旅は、現在のラスベガスから約350マイル (560 km) の、ブラック・キャニオン内の20マイル (32 km) の地点で船が岩に衝突するまで約30マイル (48 km) 続きました。アイブスとその同行者は蒸気船を残し、東に向かってグランドキャニオンの深部へ歩き、起伏の多い土地を横断してダイヤモンド・クリークまで辿り着きました。その後、アイブスとその同行者は、サウス・リム沿いを東に向かって陸路でコロラド川の支流と主流の合流点まで進みました。


In 1869, Major John Wesley Powell conducted his famous exploration of the Colorado River by boat, gathering scientific information about the Grand Canyon. Powell, a veteran of the American Civil War who had lost his right arm at the Battle of Shiloh and a Professor of Geology, coined the phrase “Grand Canyon” during the course of the expedition. Funded in part by the Smithsonian Institute, the exploration was considered a great success. Unfortunately, three members of Powell's team were believed to have been killed by Paiute Indians after they left the rest of the team to climb out of the Canyon near Separation Rapid. Powell and the remaining party continued with the expedition and emerged one day later from the Canyon near Grand Wash. Major Powell later served as the 2nd Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, from 1881 to 1894, where he began a national hydrological reconnaissance program that ultimately led to the construction of the Hoover Dam, Glen Canyon Dam and other Colorado River dams, a testament to Powell's vision for reclamation. Lake Powell, the vast recreational water reserve adjacent to the Glen Canyon Dam, was been named in honor of John W. Powell.

1889年には、フランク・ブラウンとロバート・スタントンによりコロラド川の別の調査が行われました。Colorado Canyon and Pacific Railroad Companyの資金提供を受けたこの調査は、カリフォルニアとコロラド間を結ぶ鉄道をコロラド川沿いに建設する可能性について調べることが目的でした。この旅の最初の行程では、ブラウンとその他2人がグランドキャニオンの急流で溺死するという惨事が起きました。スタントンは、残りのメンバーに救命胴衣を与え、頑丈なボートを用意して探検を続行し、1年後、ついにカリフォルニア湾に辿り着きました。言うまでもなく、この旅によってコロラドを通って鉄道を建設することの難しさが裏付けられました。1869年および1889年の探検は、その後に続くその他多くの探検に影響を与え、1923年には米国地質調査所が、グランドキャニオンの正確な地形図を作成するという初の包括的な研究を実施しました。


Miners, traders and trail builders lived and prospected around portions of the Canyon from the 1870's onward. Copper and silver mines were established near Lava Canyon and Havasu Falls, and a gold sluicing operation was conducted near Lee's Ferry. Operations were established that catered to tourists, hunters and surveyors. Rust's Camp, named after David Rust a Grand Canyon guide, was established in 1903 and later became known as Phantom Ranch, still in operation today. In 1916, the Cameron Trading Post was established as a stop-over for Canyon visitors, its location being en-route to the Grand Canyon Palisades and the confluence of the Little and Main Colorado Rivers.

Eighty-six years later, the Trading Post has expanded from its original structure, and hosts a Hotel and Navajo showroom for arts and crafts, attesting to the constant stream of visitors that have traveled to the Grand Canyon on a faithful basis. The addition of railroad service to the Canyon in 1903 and the invention of the automobile greatly facilitated the increase of tourism to this natural wonder of the world.


グランドキャニオンが徐々に人気を得るにつれて、米国連邦政府はグランドキャニオンを悪影響から保護するようになりました。ベンジャミン・ハリソン大統領は1893年にグランドキャニオンを国有保安林に指定し、セオドア・ルーズベルト大統領は1906年に国立禁猟区として、1908年に国定公園として確立しました。ウッドロー・ウィルソン大統領は1919年2月26日にグランドキャニオンを国立公園に指定し、1975年にはマーブル・キャニオン国定公園、グランドキャニオン国立公園、北カイバブ国有林およびグランドキャニオン国定公園の合併により、1,900平方マイル (4,920 平方km) を超える範囲に広がる現在の公園が生まれました。